This is a story about the path of least resistance...
What's wrong with putting in the minimum amount of effort? What's wrong with cramming for a test the night before, instead of working hard every single day? What's wrong with only working when your boss is around to see what you're doing? What's wrong with cutting corners? What's wrong with any of it, provided the end result is the same?
Are the top grades I got in my exams any less valuable than the top grades achieved by the "good" students who always put in lots of effort the whole time?
Are the pay rises and promotions I get in the workplace any less valuable than the career achievements of the hard workers, who put in a great deal of effort that goes unnoticed and unrecognised?
The things that I didn't bother to do, that nobody really cared about anyway, so nobody even noticed that I didn't do... does it matter that I didn't do those things?
At the end of the day, the end results are the same. When I'm reduced to a piece of paper with my qualifications written on it, nobody has any idea how hard I worked - or didn't work - to achieve my qualifications. When I'm reduced to a job title, a salary and a few performance objectives, nobody has any idea whether I'm a productive, energetic, conscientious and diligent employee, or whether I'm a professional slacker.
In fact, isn't it better if I'm getting maximum pay for minimum effort? Haven't I somehow won at the game of life, if I've avoided all that pointless unnecessary work, and yet I get all the rewards which were supposed to be reserved for the hard workers? The ones who put in the effort should be proportionately rewarded, right?
Life doesn't seem to work like that.