How Privilege Helped Me In My First Five Jobs
At age 12, my parents had enough money to pay for me to take a Babysitting and First Aid course, connected me with their friends who had enough money for a night out plus paying a babysitter to watch their children.
2. Janitor at health club
At age 15, my parents had enough money to exercise at a health club and connections to the management, to get me a job cleaning the workout equipment there.
3. Lackey at a B2B CD-ROM duplication service
At age 16, I had mobility in the suburbs because I had enough money to buy a car from all the cash I got from my lavish Bar Mitzvah a few years prior (money that I had the privilege of investing at age 13, because my family already had enough money and also had experience investing, so they taught me how to invest it).
I had privilege that my parents could afford a house near Microsoft, where small businesses were flourishing.
I also had the privilege of having free time after work, not needing to care for relatives or work to support my family.
4. Tech Support at University of Washington
Here’s where the privilege bomb exploded in my favor. I had the privilege of
- Guidance counselors at an extremely well-ranked public school helping me get into college
- Parents who’ve already been to college, helping me with my applications
- My parents paying for my college tuition plus some living expenses, so I could work a part-time job and spend the rest of my free time studying and socializing.
- “Tech-adjacency” growing up. We could afford personal computers ever since I was 10 (my dad had to sell his little daysailer to afford the first PC … boo hoo) so I already know how to build and fix them.
5. Web Developer at Amazon
I got hired here straight out of college. This was before Amazon had an official college-hire program. I got my foot in the door by meeting an Amazon employee at a Bat Mitzvah party (the privilege of a network of upwardly mobile suburbanites).
The Amazon team that hired me thought they’d “take a chance” on me since they “liked what they saw” in the interview and “saw potential.” In other words, being white cis male really worked in my favor here.
[The rest is stolen from the original post, which inspired this one and you should read it]
I work hard and I try to do my best in everything I do, but it’s hard to ignore how much privilege has granted me opportunities that would not have been available to everyone.
Having access to technology from a young age allowed me knowledge which has helped me in my career. I’ve found people have placed trust in me for seemingly very little reason. I’ve been offered opportunities because of what my appearance represented.
Each day I see more and more how this privilege exists. I aim to identify privilege and make others aware of it as much as possible.