Recently in the news, there has been a lot of talk about contract holdouts in the National Football League. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon both were on “sabbatical” from their respective teams as they sought more “financial security” before the new season began.

On Wednesday, Elliott received that security as the Cowboys dished out $90 million for six additional years, $50 million guaranteed, to the rusher’s contract. Asked if it was important to him to be the highest-paid running back in the NFL, Elliott said that it was “because I believe I am the best.” Elliott is expected to hit the ground running this weekend when the Cowboys host the New York Giants Sunday.

As for Gordon, the Chargers are continuing to play hardball, even saying that he could seek a trade. Allegedly, the Chargers had offered Gordon $10 million per year but he wanted more. His threat as a runner and a receiver deem him a valuable asset for three out of the four downs.

I know that contract negotiations are thrilling (just kidding). But I want to get to the idea of knowing your worth. These guys know their worth.

It may seem silly but in regards to NFL teams, I usually support ownership. A hard salary cap and a 53-man roster usually make me think that one player isn’t worth as much as the team dynamic. As a fan, you don’t want to see your team hamstrung by a guy that won’t allow you to improve from season to season (pick it up Kirk).

What I do find interesting is several blog posts about these type of situations that support my thoughts. Usually, they are bashing the player for not accepting the multimillion-dollar deals that are thrown their way because “what is another million more?” A lot!

This got me to thinking about our worth in our jobs or careers. Have you ever thought about what would happen if you were not around due to illness, vacation or just left the job? What actions, procedures, steps and communications would someone have to know in order to fill your shoes or to keep the engine running at your place of employment? I have thought about this a multitude of times in different facets of my life.

On the flip side, you also need to look at what you could improve on or where your values lie. Someone in the same position at a different company is making bank and you want to know why. Sometimes you will see they are putting in extra hours and completing projects ahead of deadline, while you keep to the regular routine. Other times you notice they are making more money, but are stuck behind the desk for 12-14 hour days and you are done at 4:30 p.m., going home to see your family and enjoying dinner. Do you value finances or free time?

Professional athletes are always criticized for wanting more money, but no one criticizes Debbie in accounts receivable for asking for a raise. If Tim in middle management adds a few extra thousand dollars to his salary, we don’t see anyone griping about the cut in printer paper due to the increase. As employees, I believe that no matter the amount of money — billions, millions, thousands — we all believe that we deserve more.

I remember several times that I have asked for a raise at different jobs. I knew my worth in my position and felt that I should be compensated accordingly. I never went into any of those meetings with a give-it-or-I’m-gone attitude and so far, things have gone in my favor. I am sure that my employers wanted to keep the status quo but they knew that they were getting me at a reduced rate to my value (kind of like professional athletes) and decided it was better to increase my pay than find someone new.

Athletes’ wages are in the public eye constantly. Imagine if everyone knew your wage or salary by going to a website to see what it was costing the company. If you went to get a raise, people would hear about your negotiations and whether you would be seeking greener pastures if your demands were not met. I don’t think it would be very fun.

So maybe we should lighten up on these athletes. They are doing what is best for them and their families and trying to get as much money out of a short playing career. They know their worth and hopefully, you know yours.

Zach Stich is the managing editor for The Fergus Falls Daily Journal.

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