I was just notified that my application for a transfer within my department was turned down because I have a "bad attitude". In short, when I think a management decision isn't a very good one, I say so (diplomatically, of course). I also make a lot of suggestions to management. And a few times have made very clear to management that I think we (the front line) are not being treated very well.
As a coworker succinctly put it: "It's not your work that holds you back, it's your mouth."
And I can accept that. After all, this is a free country and I believe in the First Amendment. Others around me also believe in it as long as they aren't being criticized or called to take responsibility.
So I'm good enough to do the shit work, but not good enough (in attitude) for an easier job. And this is civil service. Corporations are even worse. No, I take that back; they are about the same.
You can outwork everyone, have few or no absences for months, accept responsibility for your errors. That won't outweigh coworkers who take lots of time off, talk more on the phone with friends than with customers, and do little work but smile and tell management how well they're doing, even as the place dissolves in chaos.
I know this, but have never been able to accept it. SO the only answer is to start my own business. I have 16 months of car payments, 1-1/2 years until I can cash out some retirement and 3 years until I can get a small pension. It's a crap shoot if I make it that long. In the meantime, I'll have to put more energy into my own business than into my day job. Tant pis.