I was raised to believe that if you worked hard, whoever was in charge would notice, and it would pay off. It could be a promotion, a bonus, maybe a workload that you preferred, some how all the hard work would pay off for you in the end. My present employment predicament is a unionized situation, all of my raises, bonuses, and promotions are on a strict timeline that there's no way of getting around. Basically, you just have to show up everyday, keep your head above water, and your existence and attendance will lead to the spoils that I was taught hard work would bring.
I've been at this job for a little over a year now, I'm in the lowest position available. It sucks because I basically get shit on everyday but at the same time I have the lowest level of responsibility and the only way I can really get in trouble is if I try to. I still, since day one have busted my ass everyday at this job. My coworkers, who are at the same level as me, kind of just coast by and look at me as weird for being like this. I'm fine with that, I have gained the respect of my peers and coworkers a lot faster that they have.
Through all of my work I've become the "go-to guy" for my bosses, if there's a hard route that needs to be covered, I'm the guy, if there's overtime that needs to be taken care of, I'm the guy, if they need help with their computers, I'm the guy...I'm the guy. Which feels nice but as I've already explained, there's no financial or promotional value to any of this. And while I'm accumulating overtime and working my ass off, the slackers go home earlier, don't work as hard, get easier routes, and here's the killer, get paid the exact same amount as me.
Through all of this, I've come to a realization....on the first day of work....shit your pants. Excuse yourself, it was a freak accident. Clean yourself up, go home if you have to, but from that point on, every day that you don't shit your pants, will impress the crap out of your bosses. Even if you fuck up royally somewhere down the road, it will never be as bad as that day you shit your pants. Set that bar as low as you can get it. The less they ever expect out of you, the less you'll ever have to deal with. Now granted, you'll most likely never live it down, somewhere down the line someone will always bring that up but as you're coasting by getting paid just as much and never once being tested or strained...isn't it worth it?