Sometimes the animation biz is a meritocracy. But often not ....
A couple of weeks ago I ran into an artist, an old, old acquaintance, who's worked steadily for close to forty years. He's always done his job wisely and well, but he said to me:
Last month they were going to lay me off in favor of three guys that I trained, that don't have a fraction of the chops I do. But the supervisor knows them and likes them, and I'm just the guy in the cube down the hall working his ass off. They reversed the layoff at the last minute, but I'm still ticked off about it. I'm okay with getting let go for a reason, but I like to have a reason.
Oh, there was a reason. The artist had been around too long, and fell into the delusion that doing your job quietly and well is enough.
Seldom is it enough. More often that not, competency is just the beginning. You must also be young, and gregarious, and network energetically. People lose jobs because of too much incompetence or laziness. Nobody ever lost a job because of too much brown-nosing.
There are people I've met over the years who have disagreed with the above sentiment. They either lead sheltered lives or enjoy being wrong.