//You Want Experiences? Pay Your Dues.//

Author: Taylor Haney


I recently wrote a blog about Xennials and Millenials.  I didn’t mention any specifics as to why this generation is often misunderstood or overlooked, but there are reasons.  For the sake of brevity, I’d like to discuss one of them: experience.

In a high-paced society propelled by ever changing and advancing technology, it’s easy to see why younger people aren’t willing to wait.  Life has become increasingly fleeting.  It’s hard to become content when you are always focusing on what’s next – new car, new house, new vacation, new selfie on Instagram, new job.

Our current American society has found a way to monetize everything.  So, in turn, a lot of younger people have given up on “things” and now focus on “experiences”.  People are moving into tiny houses to pursue life experiences.  They are bypassing jobs out of college to travel around the world.  I am not saying this is a bad thing, but it presents some issues.  Experiences cost money and working in a perpetual state of entry-level employment will not give you the means to pursue the life experiences you want.  That’s reality.


When you chase experiences, you may really be running away from experience.


A mentor of mine recently shared a story of a young college graduate he had working for him.  We’ll call this employee Jim.   Jim’s first month of employment was 40 hours a week of continuous work.  Jim famously asked 1) if he had to work this hard every day and 2) if he could have a job with less responsibility. Jim had not been used to working so hard and it showed.  The good news is: he continued to work hard for two years and gained an immense amount of transferable experience.  Far too often, the story doesn’t end like that.  Here’s why: paying your dues is hard.

When I first got out of college I got a job at a car dealership. It was tough!  I worked every day but two Sundays a month – 12-14 hour days. Later, I got into banking and learned an immense amount over a 5 year period.  During my time in the banking industry, I was guilty of wanting to get promotions as quickly as possible.  I didn’t believe in waiting just for the sake of waiting.  There is a healthy balance of ambition and patience.  The experience gained during that time was formative, but I would argue the time I spent around experienced individuals was even more beneficial.  You see, I was able to achieve success in less time than my co-workers/mentors because of their guidance.  The reality is that they would have never shared the wisdom they had with someone they thought was always looking for what’s next.  My time at the car dealership taught me how I didn’t want to work for the rest of my life.

I cannot express how important “paying your dues” is.  For most of us, you can’t play the game without paying first.  Hear me when I say this: don’t pay your dues just for the sake of doing so; do it to learn, enhance your skills, and to give you the proper qualifications and experiences to excel in your career.  I know you don’t want to hear this, but your time will come.  If you aren’t prepared, that time will pass you by or never come at all.  Sit still long enough to gain perspective.  Spend enough time with your co-workers to learn from their insight.  Paying your dues will be the best investment you ever make.