Some people I know work hard to lower the bar at work.
That was my strategy at gym class in high school. Not only did I do the minimum amount permitted, I worked hard to do just a little bit less than that. By the time the semester was over, the teacher was relieved if I even bothered to show up at all.
Most people seek to meet the bar. They figure out what's expected, and do that.
A few people, very few, work to relentlessly raise the bar. She's the one who overdelivers on projects, shows up ahead of schedule, instigates, suggests and pushes.
Raising the bar is exhausting, no doubt about it. I'm not sure the people who engage in this apparently reckless behavior would have it any other way, though. They get to experience a fundamentally different day, a different journey and a different reputation than everyone else.
Why now? What has changed that makes promoting bar gymnastics more than a selfish effort by the boss to get more labor out of the workforce?
Simple. This is the post-industrial era. Success is not about speeding up the assembly line as much as it relies on individuals able to create leaps forward. The person capable of doing that sort of work is in far higher demand than ever before.