The Value of Dutiful Followers

Doris was the type of employee you could set your watch to. She arrived at 7:50am each day and left no later than 5:10pm. Her day was spent doing administrative work—much of it routine, identical to the day before, and the day before that. The phone would ring from time to time and there would be the occasional office party. But for the most part, each day was remarkably indistinguishable from the day before.

Through the years everyone got used to her reaction to change. If her schedule was interrupted, you needed to give at least a 48 hour notice. Larger interruptions, such as painting the office or a software upgrade would require a series of one-to-one meetings, coddling, and accommodation. A request to increase her workload or take on a new challenge would typically be met with a one word response, “No.” That usually meant someone else would have to pick up the slack.

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