Pronunciation: (dOOz'pā"ing, dyOOz'-), [key]
gaining experience, esp. by hard and often unpleasant or uncongenial work: He spent his dues-paying years as a cocktail pianist.
the act or process of gaining experience, esp. slowly and laboriously: She had many years of dues-paying before her abilities were recognized.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.