This phrase has been in use among information technologists for decades, where user privs are registered and enforced by the information system involved.
It was inevitable that the usage of the phrase would sooner or later spill into the general public. For the past few decades, it has even been used as an organizational and process management idiom.
The recent exposure of this phrase to lay usage would mean its meaning is still fluid, such that it is begging everyone including yourself to use it as you see fit, but in a reasonable manner that is idiomatic or analogous to its IT or management usage.
To contribute to the solidification of its meaning, I recommend the following usage ...
- before you offend the organizational inertia, check your pay grade in comparison to the procedures or opinions you wish to displace.
- to avoid getting frustrated and encountering insurmountable road blocks, check your authoritativeness in the subject and fields concerned
- before getting frustrated by organizational inertia, check your cognizance by the people and systems with whom you wish to rub shoulders.
- check the charter and bylaws of an organization (like a country club or gated community) whether your standing would allow you to pursue your intent.
- check quality specs, SOPs (std operating procs), ISO 9000 etc, legal constraints of your organization if you are among those allowed to pursue your intent.
- check your caste/social/class/nerd/popularity status (like before attempting to date someone),
It can be an advice or admonishment given, in sarcasm, condescension, or well-meaning concern. It is consideration of standing compared to inertia to be made before taking on an endeavour.
One of the corollaries of checking your privileges, is the priority with which you are perceived by others.
In computing (as well as management) a low priority entity would not have its tasks completely blocked but it would receive lesser attention and allowed less resources to complete its task. Frequently, a low privilege entity would also correlate to low priority.
Therefore, when you encounter situations where your issues and problems are resolved more slowly than others, it is also time to check your privileges.
The antithetical resolutions to use against low privileges and priorities are elevation, escalation, and expediting. A process planner would take steps to "bump up" the priorities of a product that is perceived to be moving too slowly by either elevating its product status both in both the information systems as well as among the human organisational perception.
The more obvious solution to your low standing is to canvass the support of a high standing member to be the proxy-front of your tasks.
Therefore, on discovering your privileged standing in a country club to be too low, and you wish to hold your wedding there next month, you should either request for a temporary elevation in status, a one time escalation, or look for a member of high privileges to move the mountains for you.