Well, there’s one area where reality can’t be twisted to suit anyone’s needs: anything in the public sector. When a community wants to hire a new public works professional, the job description, salary range, and benefits are available to anybody and everybody.

As someone working in the private sector, I envy that openness. Job descriptions are readily available, but negotiating compensation often requires candidates to play the “am I shooting too high or too low?” game with potential employers. It’s unnecessarily unnerving.

On Friday you’ll receive a questionnaire from me for Public Works’ annual salary survey. If you work for an engineering firm or other private-sector employer, please don’t respond.

But if you work for a public agency that’s involved in any way in infrastructure, we’d appreciate your response (it’s anonymous). Ours is the only overview of public works compensation packages (which means benefits as well as salaries) available. (Here are the results of last year’s.)

If you’re getting a feeling of déjà vu, like you recently completed a survey for us, you’re not imagining things. You did: our annual survey on public works operations and capital budgets.

So thank you again for your assistance. We just wanted to give you a heads up.