The Only Black Guy in the Office

Amateur Stock Trading Is Tanking My Job Performance

Day trading with a day job is too damn stressful

The Only Black Guy In the Office
Published in
4 min readMay 24, 2021
Illustration: Michael Kennedy

Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting

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 turns, and dips that make you want to throw up. And thanks to this newfound fixation, I’ve found myself pondering potential swing trades during work calls and compulsively checking my investment apps every two seconds like a teenager refreshes TikTok.

The reasons for the Covid-19 era awakening of the amateur investor abound: quarantine boredom, additional disposable income due to working from home and lack of social outlets, the stimulus payments that some of us so desperately envied. It was the perfect storm for a bunch of average Jamals to use investing as a means to combat the economic uncertainty of the past 365. I dove in headfirst.

Prior to the pandemic, my approach to personal finance was mostly passive — set-it-and-forget-it measures like maxing out my 401(k) contributions, stashing a healthy rainy day fund, and an interest-bearing life insurance policy that I’d increase a couple of times a year (not coincidentally after a heinous police killing makes the news). My wealth-building journey has gotten a hell of a lot more hands-on since and with it has brought some newfound stress.

At first, things were low stakes. Around the time that Club Quarantine and Verzuz were becoming must-attend digital events, I put some money into Netflix and Zoom — businesses that I correctly predicted would benefit from…



The Only Black Guy In the Office
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Do you know him? Is it you? The trials and tribulations of a Black man navigating corporate life.