He had suffered under the Boss From Hell. He, a peer of the Boss, a once class mate, was treated as dirt. He lost his confidence, he spent his days stressed out.
Then, somehow, he was able to appreciate that he had been hired to be tortured. The actual work was not important. Stan Satan didn’t care about the work, he cared about demeaning Howie.
Once it became clear to him he was able to extract himself from his ‘slavery’ in increments.
First he would work as little as possible. This turned an eight hour working day into three hours work. Then he moved to unworking.
He didn’t want to be caught so had to be a bit careful about moving files and misfiling and playing with the electricity. Whether it was his brilliance or the belief by his Boss that Howie was so eroded that he wouldn’t think to do anything even slightly ‘wrong’, didn’t matter.
What mattered was that not only was he being paid for work he wasn’t doing, he was being paid for work he had undone. He didn’t like this about himself, so decided it was time to find a new job.
As soon as he did, he would leave in his ‘finale’.