Hello Work Privilege

Imani Simpson
3 min readApr 6, 2020

Given the circumstances, the job you want might feel especially out of reach. While for others, the pandemic is helping them live their best remote life. I’ve been reflecting on how working remotely is such a privilege.

Image: Absurd Illustrations

Beginning week 4 of my quarantine mindful of three things:

  • Introspection
  • Efficacy in remote work
  • What’s essential


We are having to self-reflect on a new level given the circumstances surrounding the virus. Hopefully the conversations we are having with ourselves are productive. I want to politely help you visualize job privilege based on my experiences in remote life.

Freedom — The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

To start, remote work has certain characteristics that many associate with freedom:

  • Autonomy
  • Cultivation
  • Expansion

If you started your day the way you wanted, developed + applied your unique skill(s), was then able to display your special work (and receive feedback). That is freedom and working remotely facilitates this at scale.

Efficacy in remote work

I found success working remotely while studying Art Direction. After getting bored with designing ad experiences I discovered UX. I found that it was exactly what I wanted! Deciding to go deeper in my design career meant that I would have to find time to complete a UX program in conjunction with Art School. So, I shopped around for online UX courses and came across a well designed program offering a UX Intensive that was completely remote.

After brushing up on my visual design skills I was accepted into the program. It offered me the flexibility to learn online and connect with amazing people. Every week I would have a Skype call with my mentor Sven from Belgium. At the end of the week there were design critiques that were held over Zoom. A few of us from the same cohort started a Slack channel. We would send gifs and talk about life after graduation. I swear that’s what got me through those 480+ hours of remote coursework. It was like being thousands of miles away from each other didn’t matter. 💞🌎

P.S. After graduation all of my virtual friends got jobs (yay!).

Present day: I proceeded to move to New York to finish the last quarter of my art program and cultivate my freelance work. A week into my move the pandemic was creeping. When it hit, I wasn’t that bothered because I had my laptop and access.

What’s Essential

Going into week 4 of quarantine means that for almost a month I’ve had to reconsider my daily habits under tight constraints.

  • What can I cook given what’s currently in the fridge? (since leaving the house is life-threatening)
  • How can I optimize my morning to enhance my mood? (since staying in bed crushes my self-esteem)
  • How should I better design my work environment? (since NY apartments are only 12 sq. ft)
  • How should I effectively deliver my work? (since communicating remotely is unique)
  • In what ways can I be mindful of my online consumption? (since noise doesn’t improve my day)

Thinking about this has caused an intimate conversation with myself about what really matters in a day. It’s not $200 yoga classes, or $22 vegan lunches, or $7 matcha lattes, or a huge office in the middle of the city and especially not Instagram memes that validate these frivolous habits.

Instead it’s about going deep and learning why one even enjoys these luxuries. I’m not opposed to a beautiful aesthetic (hello art direction) but having a deeper meaning is much more rewarding. If it’s exclusively for Instagram, just log off the internet.

That said, even in confinement, I’m safe, fed, healthy, and loved. Plus, I’m allowed to continue self-development and working creatively despite the world being in turmoil. No matter how big or small, creating that space is what’s essential. Having the means to create that space is work privilege.