Why You Should Perpetually be Paying Dues

Artie Ojeda

Over the weekend I was having a conversation with a close friend of mine. We got to talking about how you can get typecast in your career and how even if your degree isn’t in the same field as where you’re working currently, if you do something long enough people will start to think that’s all you know.

The further entrenched we feel we are with our current trajectory, the more “stuck” we feel. The more “stuck” we feel, the easier it is to forget there’s a whole world out there that can respond to and interpret your work differently than you do from the inside. And when we try to lash out against what’s usually asked of us — by working on an independent project or hustling around on different leads — we’re usually greeted with resistance. Be it from people who are gatekeepers or just time itself, waiting for the inevitable payoff, whatever it may be.

Or, as I said: “The moment you stop paying your dues is the moment you stop going anywhere.”

It gave me pause and surprised me.

But it’s absolutely true.

But my point is that it’s easy to become discouraged by your post and where you’re hustling at. If you come to the same place everyday and work with the same folks, it can be easy to feel like you aren’t going the direction you want to be headed in.

But I posit two other possibilities for what’s going on:

1) You’re “wrong” about the direction you want to be headed in and should just be more patient. Inevitably, if you are open to things happening, they tend to happen on their own. Just be receptive and willing to hear out opportunities. Nothing was ever won by a knee-jerk reaction. If generals strategized like that, wars would be infinitely bloodier than they already are.

2) You’re heading in that direction without even realizing it. This is more than likely the case.

So what’s your rush? Being met with resistance is almost always an indication you’re heading in the right direction. Nobody ever got a seat at the millionaire’s table by taking the easy route anywhere. 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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