Career Myths Vs Truths #10: Paying Your Dues is a Waste of Time

In our book, Don’t Dread Monday, we highlight ten career myths and their corresponding truths.

This is the tenth and final blog post in which we explore these myths/truths more in-depth, continuing to tackle how you can find true meaning and success in your career.

Career Myth #10: You must "pay your dues" before you can advance.

When my eldest daughter was a freshman in high school, she often became frustrated with the politics of who received solos in choir. They were often given to upperclassmen, who perhaps weren’t as talented, but were older and therefore “more deserving.” As someone who had been taking voice lessons for years at that point, she felt that this method was unfair; ability should matter more than age.

I’m certain at some point in each of our lives we’ve felt the same way as my then-teenaged daughter. Luckily this minor high school setback didn’t hinder her too much: she’s currently a young professional opera singer with the Montreal Opera. But I’m certain this will not be the last time she encounters a “pay your dues” mindset.

And what is this mindset, exactly? It’s one that assumes there is a politically correct time for you to succeed within an organization, based upon rules and standards over which you have no control. It’s like being a pilot and waiting for the perfect conditions to take off. But a successful pilot knows how to take off in all conditions, not just sunny, cloudless days.

We “pay our dues” by doing meaningless tasks or boring jobs that we’re told are a rite of passage. We wait for someone to notice that we’ve “put in the time” and decide to move us up the ladder. The truth is, we waste too much of our time doing meaningless work. When we live by our passions, we are able to do what we truly love and leave our meaningless work to those who will find meaning in it.

You don’t need to “pay your dues” in order to have a successful career. Instead, find your passion and follow it. This may take you through unconventional avenues, but the results will be more fulfilling and gratifying.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve walked through each of the ten myths and truths about careers. I hope you’ve found meaning and direction within each blog. If any of them have made you evaluate your current career state, please contact us for a free consultation with a career coach.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this tenth and final truth:

Career Truth #10: Paying your dues is truly a waste of time. 

It can be difficult to find your life’s work. We’re here to help. Schedule a free, 15-minute consultation with one of our experienced career coaches today. They can walk you through your career problems, from a simple resume and LinkedIn consultation to a career 180. You can contact us or call us at (800) 680-7768.