|Do you know where your variables are?|
(I mean neither to be a Preacher nor a Motivational Speaker in the following. I’m just going to speak candidly. Hope that’s okay ... even though I don’t seem to have a very good track-record for having done that ...)
I suggest that you look for ways to “refactor yourself” so that your primary business-value and/or business-purpose to your company does not [merely ...] consist of “writing code,” in Perl or otherwise. If you’ve been in this business for a substantial amount of time, as obviously you have, this is not your primary business value anyway.
“Coders, I can hire.” They might not (yet) be fantastic, but if I can hire three times as many of ’em, and if I standardize what I am doing mostly around what other people have done (and have given-away as Open Source ...), then I have come out ahead.
Like every other former-craft-industry before our own, individualized skill-sets will be replaced by Eli Whitney’s “damnable interchangeable parts.”
One-of-a-kind (so-called “bespoke”) applications, in Perl or otherwise, will be superseded by things that are mass-built, or built by the Cheapest Labor Available In The World. If your job now is anchored just on your ability to “lovingly hand-craft” anything, and/or if you naively suppose that it is now secured by such thing that you have done in the past, then you are just business road-kill waiting to happen.
But ... it isn’t. Your business value, by now, mostly rests upon the things that only experience can bring: the things that you do “instinctively.” The ability to manage a project ... the ability to triage a troubled application (that you didn’t write) and to bring it to heel ... the ability to take a business requirement and to turn it into implementable, testable work-breakdowns, even if you are not going to be the one to do the work. Perhaps most importantly of all, the ability to articulate (and to specify exactly how to build ...) machinable test-plans that will enable all of this very-vital code to be just as “ruggedly dependable” (you can dance upon this platform without worrying that it will break beneath your weight ...) foundation as we routinely expect from, say, CPAN.
And what is more, if you have been with your company for any length of time, you know how to do this in the context of exactly what your company now does!
So, put your brush-salesman’s hat on. That happens to be a very unique-to-you “value proposition.” So, if you put your mind to it, you can sell that.™
Friend, you have now spilled your guts to PerlMonks, and I greatly admire you for your honesty and your candor. Now, go talk to your boss. Express your concerns, your fears, and your uncertainty. Clear the air about everything that, until now, has been set by uncertainty, fear, and suspicion. After all, this is [merely ...] business. Every worker (and for that matter, every manager ...) before you has observed “the winds of change,” and has rightly feared it. Maybe you will find that your manager has been reluctant to talk to you, also! (And if you have ever in your life been on that very-lonely Other side of The Desk, you know exactly what I am talking about.) Be the one to break the ice ... without fear. If you can show yourself to be the one who “thinks outside the box” with regard to your own career, who knows what good things might lie just outside that box?