Ever have someone lecture you about paying your dues?
It's remarkable how often "you need to pay your dues" really translates into, "I had to go through hell, so I'll be damned if you get off scott free."
Think about the antiquated system of rotations for doctors, where people are required to work 36 hour straight, even though the effects of sleep deprivation towards the end of the shift are probably worse than being drunk. We would never tolerate doctors swigging tequila straight from the bottle before performing surgery, so why the heck should we tolerate what is essentially a hazing system to cause needless deaths?
On the other hand, CEOs and top executives regularly make critical business decisions without having seen an actual customer using their product in years, possibly decades!
We all have to pay our dues in the sense that we need to invest the hard work it takes to truly understand the issues. But paying your dues isn't something that you do once when you're young, and then get a free pass on for the rest of your life. Paying your dues is a continuous process that applies to everyone. We should all be paying our dues every single day.
(Originally posted as a comment on Penelope's blog.)
P.S. Sorry for the light posting--things have been extremely busy!