Why “Pay Your Dues” Is Not Good Career Advice

For a long time, people have believed that they need to “pay their dues” to have a successful career. The idea is based on spending as much time as possible working for a company and doing various tasks that aren’t a part of your job role while hoping to get noticed and move up the ranks.

Some of the duties that people perform in line with this idea include organizing the storage, photocopying documents, getting packages from the post office, and even making coffee for higher-ranking colleagues.

One can imagine the bitter disappointment when people realize these efforts rarely contribute to their professional development.

Time Spent in a Company Is Not a Practical Metric

The concept of working as long as you can for a company to be able to progress has become outdated. In plenty of organizations, you no longer have to struggle to get a degree, get hired for a lower-ranking role, and work for years before you can move up the ladder. You have the opportunity to establish yourself as an expert and prove what you can do.

How long you’ve been working for an organization doesn’t necessarily reflect on your professional growth. If you’re working for a company to get enough years of experience so that you can apply for another job, you’re probably wasting your time and aiming for a business that doesn’t value your personal advancement.

Paying Your Dues Doesn’t Help You Grow

While most people work to make a living, you’re probably trying to build a meaningful career as well. Accommodating higher-ranking co-workers by performing menial tasks isn’t going to get you there. You should be doing your job to gain knowledge and develop your skills so that you can make progress in the industry.

You need to own your career and take proactive steps to move up the ladder. If there’s a big project that you can contribute to, make it known that you want to take it on. Grow by facing new challenges and building strong relationships in your professional network. Talk to your boss about it and see if you’re on the same page.

Work for a Company That Values Your Professional Growth

It’s crucial to find a company that is invested in your growth instead of getting the most out of what you can do and adding a variety of tedious tasks on top. If you realize that you and your boss don’t see eye to eye when it comes to your career goals, you should move on. The organization you want to work for should acknowledge your skills and help you reach your full potential.

You need to be the driving force that pushes your career forward. Instead of paying your dues and hoping that everything goes well, find a job where you can put your skills to use, develop them, and learn new ones. 

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