earn your stripes

earn (one's) stripes

To prove that one is deserving of a particular position or designation. I told the recruiter that I earned my stripes as a teacher before moving into administration.
See also: earn, stripe

earn your stripes

If you earn your stripes, you gain enough experience to deserve a particular job or position. Mr. Thaddeus earned his stripes playing for such foreign bands as the London-based Pitiful Souls and Singapore's X-Periments. He has worked hard to earn his stripes as a skilled debater in the House of Assembly.
See also: earn, stripe