If you’ve broken into the industry of your choice you’ve most likely paid some dues. “Paying dues” represents the “work your way to the top” concept that most old-school leaders (I’m one of them) deem mandatory for success. It’s the foundation of what your career journey is built on, and keeping track of each “brick” is valuable. Whether you’ve started out as an assistant and worked your way up to manager or began as an intern and secured yourself a full-time gig it’s important that you always “keep your receipts”.  Now when I refer to the “receipt” I’m talking about the list of your accomplishments, your track record; the hustle you put in to land your dream job. Whether you keep your receipt physically or symbolically it’s imperative that you do so for three reasons. First, it will serve as a reminder of how far you’ve come. Staying on the grind is great but you can grind so much that you can forget the work you you’ve already put in. Keeping your receipt handy will keep you focused on where’ve you been and where you are going. The key to success is to always work smarter not harder.

Secondly, keeping your receipt is your record of time purchased.  Paying dues is all about putting in the long and hard time of learning your craft from the ground up. You should always be moving forward and never backwards. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit when it comes to our talents and expertise. We often take on and accept responsibilities and jobs that we are overqualified for because we forgot our “receipt”. Respect is not given, it is earned. And your earnings are in your receipt.

Lastly, keeping your receipt is a humble reminder that nothing is owed to you.  As you continue to grow and succeed in your career it’s important that you never forget where you came from and never allow your coveted position to define who you are. I’ve seen so many successful people climb to the top and kick the ladder once they arrived. Only to find their self stranded when they were kicked and needed a crutch. I’m not saying that you should not celebrate your merits and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. However, I am reminding you that you should always keep your receipt because if you ever need to start over your work and character will already be spoken for.


About Rashana A. Hooks
Rashana A. Hooks is writer, editor and author. Follow her on twitter @rashanahooks