“I’m paying my dues.”
It is a phrase that makes me shudder with fear. Implying that you must grind your way through unhappy, unsatisfying roles, until some theoretical point where you have paid an undetermined debt against career or business doldrums and future advancement.
And then, upon paying your dues, you have now, “paid your dues” — which entitles you to smoother career advancement, the management route, partnership, and/or wealth & fame.
Your Dues Are Never Paid
I don’t want to burst your bubble, but those dues are never paid up. Career and business advancement is an automatic debit with a lifetime membership. And the achievement club expects its dues regularly. They don’t like IOUs or extending credit. Your dues are what you did last week — and next week they are due again.
As you read this entry, consider your attitude about “paying your dues.”
Be Grateful For the Dues You Pay
Sorry, I didn’t mean to bum you out. But for some of you, those grizzled old veterans of professional development, you have probably figured this out already. Career dues are part of life dues. You pay those as long as you are sucking wind. Be thankful for it! If dues aren’t being requested somewhere in your life, place the fingers of your right hand across your left wrist and check for a pulse.
Get excited about the dues you have paid and even more excited about the dues you will be paying. If properly applied, the dues are far more useful than the taxes you pay Uncle Sam, because the dues you pay are always returned to you.
This does not mean that every day is a grind of unending turmoil and struggle. That will be determined by your attitude. And your attitude will largely be determined by your vision — or plan.
A Goal/Vision Makes Even The Mundane Bearable…for a time
There will certainly be times when your job feels mundane, grinding, and tedious. During those times, having a longer-term objective and plan of action will make them bearable and even enjoyable. If not for the work itself, then because you are enacting your plan.
Paying your dues is painful when you have no idea where those dues are being spent. Imagine if we paid taxes to a government that continually asked for more, but seldom produced anything in relation to the money we paid in….
On second thought, let’s not ponder that. 🙁
I harp pretty regularly on the concept of having a plan and putting it into action. This is not some pseudo-motivational lecture — “if you can dream it, you can achieve it” — kind of thing. It is simply good common sense. And yet, most people have a vague notion of what they want do with their lives, but have a crystal clear vision of the television shows they’ll be watching this week.
If you are paying your dues with a purpose, you will find you pay them gladly and look forward to the next payment cycle.
Think about it!