pay one’s dues

pay (one's) dues

1. Literally, to pay the requisite fees to enter into or remain in an organization. If you don't pay your dues every month, they will rescind your membership without warning.
2. By extension, to work hard, gain the necessary skills or experience, or suffer hardships (in order to earn a position, set of rights, the respect of others, etc.). I paid my dues working in the warehouse for 10 years before I got this job in the head office.
See also: due, pay

pay one’s dues

verb
See also: due, pay

pay one’s dues

tv. to serve one’s time in a menial role. (see also pay one’s dues (to society).) I spent some time as a bus boy, so I’ve paid my dues in the serving business.
See also: due, pay