In season four of Chuck, Sarah gets worried at one point that the CIA is replacing her and Chuck with a team that’s viewed as more efficient. In season four, the geek gone spy is putting everything on the line, available for pre-order here: http://bit.ly/r3n2er. It’s the same old story that you hear repeatedly in the workplace: the government’s giving all your missions to the younger, hotter spies while the Russians make a fortune selling off Soviet munitions and you sit at home missing out on all the action.
Seriously, though, I think that most people are eventually put into a position where they feel replaceable. Usually it’s an employer who subtlely (or not so subtlely) lets on that there’s some fresh-out-of-college competition out there chomping at the bit to do your job for less money. It can be intimidating but in general, I’ve found that time under your belt is worth its weight in gold. I’ve left jobs in the past where I didn’t feel I was being appreciated. I’ve felt that employers were nickel-and-diming me and holding over my head the fact that they could get a new hire on Craigslist or outsource my department…but in the end, these “cost-cutting” measures have cost them business and valuable sales. I’m certainly not one to say “I told you so,” but I’ll sheepishly admit that for me, it’s been a small ego boost to watch previous employers struggle to find a competent replacement.
Don’t get me wrong! There are few people talented enough to have some sort of monopoly on the market demand for their services. You will always find someone who can give you a run for your money. Don’t be boastful or act high and mighty, but don’t undervalue yourself. Get an idea of what’s truly fair compensation for your work and make sure you’re getting it. I’ve done this in the past by gently asking friends in similar positions what they’re paid. You can also find rough salary estimates on the internet. Having an estimate of what your expertise is worth will give you confidence in negotiating with employers and not being intimidated into accepting less than you deserve. Afterall…if people with little experience are so easily talking their way into your job, imagine what’s out there waiting for people with your expertise.
I have been hired by Warner Bros WBWord division to raise awareness for Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD/Blu-Ray.