dues-paying

[dooz-pey-ing, dyooz-]
adjective
  1. gaining experience, especially by hard and often unpleasant or uncongenial work: He spent his dues-paying years as a cocktail pianist.
noun
  1. the act or process of gaining experience, especially slowly and laboriously: She had many years of dues-paying before her abilities were recognized.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018