From a friend of the author:
Son (over age 18) was raised old-fashioned. Always be early to work. Always be the last to leave. Cut the chit-chat and work hard. Etc.
Son was at a manual labor job in a warehouse. He kept to himself more and focused on the tasks at hand as opposed to much idle chit-chat. Most of the other employees chatted so much, it got in the way of their production. The young man was evidently making them look bad.
90 day review time comes. Excellent marks except a "zero" in communication. He didn't chat enough, he was told. He made the others look bad, he was told. So he was let go. Despite being their #1 widget maker ever since that plant had opened.
And we wonder why American manufacturing isn't what it used to be.