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Month: March 2016

‘When You’re Accustomed to Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression’

“When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

And things started making a little more sense to me. All this anger we see from people screaming “All Lives Matter” in response to black protesters at rallies. All this anger we see from people insisting that their “religious freedom” is being infringed because a gay couple wants to get married. All these people angry about immigrants, angry about Muslims, angry about “Happy Holidays,” angry about not being able to say bigoted things without being called a bigot…

They all basically boil down to people who have grown accustomed to walking straight at other folks, and expecting them to move. So when “those people” in their path don’t move — when those people start wondering, “Why am I always moving out of this guy’s way?”; when those people start asking themselves, “What if I didn’t move? What if I just kept walking too?”; when those people start believing that they have every bit as much right to that aisle as anyone else — it can seem like their rights are being taken away.

Every issue has two sides. It’s important to understand and acknowledge where the other side is coming from if you hope to ever bridge the gap.

Infrastructure

I’ve thought a lot about the follow your passion mantra. Building your life as you wish you had it and doing meaningful work. And that’s great for people who are able to do it.

It’s great to have the entrepreneurial spirit and have the skills to make a go at working for yourself. I applaud you. My wife works for herself. My brother works for himself. My family either is self-employed or was before.


I’ve always worked for someone. Most recently for a string of government agencies for a longer list of government contractors. It’s not where my passion lies. And it’s not meaningful work to anyone outside of myself and my customers. But it pays the bills and provides financial stability so my wife could quit her job and work for herself.

I am the infrastructure that makes it all possible. I think about this a lot because I wonder who else is the rock behind the scenes supporting a loves one’s business while they get going.

Who else is the rock bringing in the steady money working the unimpressive job?


Do I wish I could work from home and make my schedule? Sort of. I’m not a great person to work for. I’m highly motivated and go above and beyond. But I also have my days where I can’t do anything and want to lay in bed or waste the day.

Would I be a good employee? Maybe. Would I enjoy the freedom and flexibility? Absolutely. Do I have any idea what I’d do for myself? No.

I don’t know what I’d do for myself. I don’t know where I have the skills to make a living for myself. So I trade my time for money. I go to work. I answer phones and support others. I come home and turn my brain back on and enjoy life.


It reminds me of an article I read awhile back. “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from

Here’s my life. My husband and I get up each morning at 7 o’clock and he showers while I make coffee. By the time he’s dressed I’m already sitting at my desk writing. He kisses me goodbye then leaves for the job where he makes good money, draws excellent benefits and gets many perks, such as travel, catered lunches and full reimbursement for the gym where I attend yoga midday. His career has allowed me to work only sporadically, as a consultant, in a field I enjoy.

The author is able to write and live the life she wants while her husband works a job that support their lifestyle.

While his job sounds better than mine, I do the same thing for my wife. I sponsor her while she gets her business up and running. I make sure we can pay our bills, go on vacation and put some money into savings. I have been as lucky as I’ve been smart with my career moves and negotiation.

I don’t have catered lunches or a gym membership, but I have doubled my salary in the past 5 years. I didn’t attend Master’s program nor did I pay for expensive certifications or training classes. I worked hard and I learned a lot on the job. But I also fell into a lucky niche that was interesting, easy and paid well.

Comfortable

What am I doing here?

I just turned 35 and I’m working at a help desk. I just turned 35 and I spend my days answering phones telling people their user names or reactivating their accounts. I spend my days doing the same thing I did the day I left college.

I’m very well paid for the work I do. It’s not fulfilling nor interesting. It’s not something I enjoy or think about. This job has no emotion to it at all. I go in to work and I shut off my brain. I don’t need it. It’s rote memorization and repetition of questions and facts.

But that’s also the point of this job. I don’t need anything challenging. I don’t need to spend my days struggling to solve hard problems or make the world a better place.

I perform a job, a function that’s needed and can’t be turned over to a robot. I answer phones and I talk to people. I enable them.

I’m an enabler. I help them where they would fail without me. I give them tools to complete their work. I fix problems and guide. I help.

My job is a job. I work. I go home. I don’t think about it any more. It’s not a challenge. It’s a job. It pays me. I can afford a nice place to live. I pay my bills. I can afford a nice life and to travel and live in a nice house with my wonderful wife. I can afford to be comfortable.

I buy comfort with my job.

The callers keep me comfortable. They fill the hours. They pay my bills. They keep me working. They keep me comfortable.

Comfortable isn’t the worst thing in the world.