The Power and Responsibility of Privilege

Web development work can be hard sometimes. I can spend hours upon hours on a project only to find that I started it all on the wrong foot, or occasionally, the client suddenly has different needs. A lot of the work I do is impacted by circumstances outside my immediate control. But let’s not kid… Read more The Power and Responsibility of Privilege

first-world-problems

Web development work can be hard sometimes. I can spend hours upon hours on a project only to find that I started it all on the wrong foot, or occasionally, the client suddenly has different needs. A lot of the work I do is impacted by circumstances outside my immediate control.

But let’s not kid ourselves, these are “first world problems.” The flexibility, the fair compensation, the joy of using both sides of my brain in my work, being my own boss … I mean really, we web developers have it nice.

Click the image to read the full comic... it's hilarious!

This is an excerpt from “The Oatmeal.” Click here to read the full comic… it’s hilarious!

My wife is a nurse, which is also a job with benefits. But sometimes, my complaints about my work pale when she comes home and casually tells me she unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate a patient that day.

Still, one trend I see in blogs for freelancers and startups is the ever illusive “10 Steps to Make Your Startup or Freelance Career Lucrative!” So it was extremely refreshing, and a major perspective reminder to read Anil Dash‘s “Ten Tips Guaranteed To Improve Your Startup Success“. Tip #1 already “tips” the hat to what he’s talking about:

Be raised with access to clean drinking water and sanitation. (Every tech billionaire I’ve ever spoken to has a toilet!)

I’ll let you read the rest. It’s a good reminder of how good we have it.

Leveraging your Privilege for Good

After reading the article though, you then have to ask what do we do with the knowledge of our own privilege. I don’t have it all together, but I’ll tell you that I’m doing my best now to use my business to benefit others besides myself. I specifically try to help orphans and refugees. You can read about how I do that here. My friend Adam McLane does something similar. He sponsors people in other countries through Kiva. Check out his page, it’s amazing to see all the folks who have benefited just because Adam does great websites for his clients.

How do you confront and/or challenge your privilege? How do you leverage it to benefit others? If you don’t yet, how will you start thinking about this and build in some?