Well, I dont know about "the real world" but since I do work for one of the worlds largest retailers...perhaps I should inform you that, THAT, doesnt work.
It doesnt work due to work place politics. The management dont want hard workers, what they want is tantamount to slavery. Work hard, and rather then reward you, they will expect that extra mile to be attained each and every moment of your working life.
As for progression. Well some of the best collegues in the store, are those who have worked for twenty five years. They will never be managers because the management system is not designed for hard workers Nathan, its designed for those who can carry out the orders of the senior management, and keep an unreasonable attainment level affloat. They dont want people who can think for themselves
your not paid to think. your paid to follow orders
Work for a big enough company, and you couldnt lose them true money if you tried
incidently...you're expendable aswell
Depressing...but we all know where we stand
You get paid a standard rate, set by your company, in order to keep them in profit, whether you work hard or not, whether you have more responsibility or not, whether you have been there for a quarter of a century, or just started yesterday. There is no distinction between those who "deserve" to be paid more. Two things piss me off at work...the fact that half the noobs who dont care a jot get waged the same as me, and the fact what little I earn is partially stolen by the government before it reaches me!