Re: not neccessarily very good at brown-nosing...
As a lowly clerk 1-5, he did not have to think, and could do his job literally on auto-pilot.
Hence why I've loved doing low-skilled work that pays OK. More of your life is your own, you can think, and if you come up with some great ideas during work time or later and wish to sell them, there's none of those annoying "all your thought belong to us" clauses in the contract.
I could travel when I wanted, take a long weekend. If my holiday time was used up for the year and we had a quiet period at work, I could still take a long weekend or two with the boss's blessing - he didn't have to pay me to sit around and do nothing and I didn't have to stay there sitting around doing nothing.
Sometimes menial work is the best :) Though these days I prefer stuff more 'constructive', with a little bit of a bite to the job.