We hear this weekly. There are over 20 recruiters in our organization and each one of us may even hear it three or four times a week. It’s usually stated by someone who is trying to justify getting more money if they change jobs, finding a management job or basically expressing the fact that they don’t want to start all over, let alone take a step back from the level of job they had.

Unfortunately, these folks have some kind of entitlement attitude that tries to justify that someone else ought to give them a promotion or more money just because they deserve it. I had this brought to my mind again this week by a fellow who has been out of work for almost a year, who says that he’s had job offers that were lateral moves to the job he had but that he and his wife know that, since he’s paid his dues he will find a job that is at least a $10,000 “step up” in earnings and, preferably, a management position. With a straight face he was trying to convince me that a job like that existed and he was going to find it. The guy has been out of work for a year. Can you say – delusional?

There’s no such thing as, “I’ve paid my dues!” Every one of us “pays his dues” every day. Our value in the marketplace is not intrinsic. It’s whatever we can get in the marketplace. The marketplace doesn’t give a fig about what you think you’re worth or how many “dues” you’ve paid. The marketplace is going to tell you what you’re worth. Take it or leave it. None of us “deserves” anything.

The idea is for a job seeker to sell his or her skills and experience the best they can. The better their experience and performance, the more the market might bear. Nobody cares about what you’ve done in the past unless it’s an indication of what you can do for them. All a hiring authority or his or her company cares about is what you can do for them NOW. Your value is whatever you can get them to pay.

“I’ve paid my dues…” Cut it out!