Miles came into work at his regular time, 9:08 AM. When he got there, same as every morning, Greg was already at his desk in the cubicle next to Miles’. When Miles left at 5:02 the evening before, Greg was still there, clacking away at his keyboard, filling in some spreadsheet or other. This was the way it had been every day since Greg started with the company six years prior. Miles had already been with the company eight years when Greg showed up, but he’d had all the ambition and drive sucked out of him by the end of the first week. He’d seen the way people walked around the office. Heads hung low, not even noticing if their shirts were untucked, just slogging along going through the motions until Friday finally came around when the box of donuts that the boss “surprised” them with every Friday turned into the highlight of the week. Forty hours is all you’re going to get, Greg decided early on. But there was Greg, day after day, smiling at everyone who walked by. Always wearing a tie, even though nothing fancier than a collared shirt was required. “Man, how long are you going to keep doing this?” Miles checked every few weeks.
“As long as it takes,” Greg always replied, without looking away from his monitor.
“As long as it takes for what?”
“As long as it takes to move up,” Greg said, like it was the only obvious answer.
“Greg, how long have you worked here?”
“It was six years in June,” he said.
“Greg, in six years, have you ever heard of anyone getting promoted?”
“Hey,” Greg said, looking away from his computer and right at Miles, but continuing to type, “Figure I’m gonna get mine sooner or later,” he said before moving onto the next row on his form.
“Jesus,” Miles said before walking away.
“Hey, bring me back a glazed,” Greg called after him, not necessarily caring whether or not he heard.