In the novel A Brighter Sun, Tiger goes looking for a job at the road construction company. Having tired of working as a planter and, more importantly, tired of poverty, he decides that he has a greater calling for his life and resolves to change his status. Thus, he joins a road construction company when the Americans come through around wartime and need roads built.
Because of his knowledge—slightly higher than those around him, as he is able to partially read and write—he is given a position with some status at the construction company. He is a surveyor and has some limited authority over the others in his position. This job begins to give him some of the respect and higher income he felt he needed to achieve a better status.