My name is Charles, and I am a competent employee.

I wasn't always. When I was younger, while I showed signs of brightness now and then, there was no way I was going to be singled out for recognition: I was another cog in the wheel, nothing more, and so long as the wheel didn't grind to a halt, nobody cared. But as time went on and I became less immature and less unfocused — a couple of abrupt career changes contributed greatly to this situation, I think — what was once unthinkable began a slow, inexorable slide into what was inevitable.

It didn't take long after that before my life became almost unbearable, and as these changes affected me, they also affected those around me. Like most people in this country, I work for an organization that values internal politics, sub-Machiavellian maneuverings, and cash flow above all else. In such an environment, the competent employee is an absolute liability. Officials judged my job performance and found it incompatible with their goals. By doing my assigned tasks correctly, I made it impossible to enforce the desired levels of discipline; by not constantly seeking the guidance of superiors, I deprived them of their rightful role in the organization; by requesting new equipment and supplies when needed, instead of on schedule, I wrought havoc on the financial statements.

Since almost all organizations are like this to greater or lesser extent, I am forced to conclude that the defects, whatever their precise nature, lie within me; moving to another organization would likely produce similar results. And I am likewise forced to confess that I don't know where to begin to correct this situation. Doing sloppy work, while demonstrably rewarding for some people at higher hierarchial levels, is something I simply don't comprehend. And seeking the counsel of those placed above me is unthinkable: for one thing, in our current organizational chart, virtually everyone is placed above me, which means, owing to time limitations, that I would have to rely on a statistical sampling, which introduces potential errors of its own.