Tonight, as I was cleaning out an old file cabinet, I came across a resume from early on in my career. As I read through my laughable list of achievements and expertly enhanced job descriptions I couldn’t help but be taken back.
Back to when I was just getting started paying my dues.
I wasn’t born a founder and Managing Director of OATV. Quite the contrary.
My early career was a series of jobs, in the truest sense, that laid the foundation for my future self. Strip away some of the flowery wordsmithing on that resume and you’ll see stints in a mail room, answering calls on customer service lines, hardcore cubicle time writing endless documents and presentations, product manager and, eventually, founder and entrepreneur.
That time spent paying my dues, tho often frustrating, infuriating and, occasionally, demoralizing was invaluable. Every line in that resume tonight meant something very real to me. Time learning how to deal with inferior superiors. Or time spent clinching my teeth and biding my time, waiting for just the right opportunity to jump. Occasionally, it was also learning the ropes from people who really knew their craft and took time out to share what they’d learned with me.
There are many people behind each line of that resume. People who laughed me off and others who genuinely believed in me. In the earliest days of my career, even the slightest bit of encouragement or praise meant absolutely everything to me. Regardless of my titles, or my bosses, I always believed in myself. Having others see something in me added fuel to that fire.
In a time when everyone believes they’re ready to be a CEO, there’s something to be said for paying your dues.
I’m certainly glad I did. And still feel I’m paying them every day.