The Only Black Guy in the Office

I keep it realer than most while on the job, but there are limits to how freely I’ll speak around my co-workers

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Around this time last year, I had a professional breakthrough. Last summer, in the midst of various American institutions being , I decided to once and for all. Longtime readers may remember me pouring out a lil liquor for and making a personal promise to more closely align my out-of-office and on-the-clock personas. I’ve been logging on to work as my full Black self ever since.

I have no regrets about this subtle yet meaningful choice. Keepin’ it real hasn’t gone wrong yet. But if I’m being…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

America’s newest national holiday deserves exclusive access. Sorry not sorry.

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After more than three decades of living in America, I’m rarely surprised by the goings-on in this country. But I must admit, the turn of events of the past 365 have thrown me for a loop.

We’re more than a year removed from the police murders of , , and who were killed due to the color of their skin. We’ve seen the Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately communities nationwide, exposing disparities in the health care system that we’ve long known existed. In January, in a full-on coup attempt and…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

When the challenges of remote work are all around you

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The remote work revolution has changed life as we know it for corporate folks like myself. And while I’m on the record singing the praises of working from home, I’d like to set the record straight: It’s not without its faults.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed and time away from co-workers. But I’ve also come to realize that before the pandemic, we were putting a little bit too much gas on working from home. Is WFH convenient? You bet your ass it is. …


The Only Black Guy in the Office

Day trading with a day job is too damn stressful

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The first step to solving a problem is admitting that one exists. Unfortunately, I’m not quite there yet. Turns out, there’s little time for self-reflection when your workdays consist of meticulously surveilling charts, Reddit forums, and investor corners of social media to make shrewd purchases and sales of stocks and cryptocurrency — all while the workload from your salaried day job steadily piles up.

I’ve always had an interest in retail investing from afar, but this past year has damn-near turned that curiosity into an obsession. An obsession that feels like a high-speed roller coaster complete with exhilarating peaks, unpredictable…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

After more than a year of WFH, I can’t imagine it any other way

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A couple of weeks ago, my manager, Richard, sent out an invitation to join him and a few other co-workers for a Saturday picnic in a local park. Prior to 2020, this was par for the course; here in Seattle, the coming of spring weather is so satisfying, people would throw a full-blown parade for the occasion if they could. But last year, Covid-19 made spring feel as dark as winter. The only invitations we were getting were to .

This year, however, things are starting to feel somewhat normal. Citywide restrictions are being lifted on restaurants and businesses…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

I’ve accepted this fact and figured out how to use my powers for good

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A few weekends ago, I bagged some clothes and kicks that had been collecting dust in the back of my closet and dropped them off at a local donation center. ‘Tis and whatnot. What can I say, I’ve always been one for giving what I can to those in need. It’s the fulfillment for me.

This everyday, tax-deductible act — along with the world slowly but surely opening back up — got me to thinking about how I pay it forward in my professional life. My general workplace demeanor might be to keep to myself…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

As offices reopen, saying goodbye to the mid-workday nap might be the hardest

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I knew this day would eventually arrive. I just hadn’t realized how much I’d dread it.

With vaccinations steadily rolling out around the United States, my company is beginning to introduce a plan for employees to . And while the early days of the pandemic found me longing for more IRL human interaction, I’m already feeling wistful for the days of . I’ve got , no hectic commute, cost-effective and tasty lunches , and, perhaps most importantly, a semi-weekly workday tradition: the midday nap.

About a month into…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

Stimmy envy is too real

Illustration of a man working at a computer daydreaming of being a rich man lying on a big check.
Illustration: for LEVEL

One of the first rap songs I ever learned the words to was “Mo Money Mo Problems” by Even as a young’un, I was fascinated by the hook Kelly Price sang: “I don’t know what they want from me / It’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see.”

That song came out in 1997 when I was still a kid living under my parents’ roof with nary a bill to pay; the only problems I had . But growing up with two parents who worked blue-collar jobs, I did know that…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

Once upon a time, I wasn’t the only Black guy in the office

A Black person with very short hair standing with their back to us with their hands on their hips. They’re facing an office populated with all Black coworkers. Large glass windows show a partly cloudy sky.
Illustrated by for Level

Last week, I had lunch with Adam, a friend and former colleague visiting from Portland. Outdoor seating, of course. He, like me, is part of the token Black employee gang at another company, so whenever we link up, we get into a competition of oppression Olympics: who faces the most , how our respective companies are , how much onus is put on each of us to bring about change at said gigs. You know — fun, light discussion.

Banter aside, though, we always make sure to toast to thriving (not just surviving!) in a Mad Men


A custom illustration of a Black male office worker, wearing glasses and holding a stack of papers, standing in front of 3 cubicles. In the cubicles behind him are his white coworkers.
for Index

The Only Black Guy In the Office

Racism, sexism — the whole nine!

The Only Black Guy In the Office is a Seattle-based, midlevel marketing manager who writes about navigating the White waters of corporate America. He’s like a modern-day Dilbert — that is, if Dilbert were Black, woke, and outspoken about the foolery, joys, and microaggressions that Black professionals experience on the daily. The Only Black Guy sounds off about his career experiences in . Here, he’ll regularly chime in on the latest mishaps in white-collar corporate news as only he can — straight, with no chaser.

This just in: Diversity training doesn’t work

Remember how in the midst of last summer’s racial reckoning…

The Only Black Guy In the Office

Do you know him? Is it you? The trials and tribulations of a Black man navigating corporate life.

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