The Only Black Guy in the Office

Please Don’t Invite Me to Another Pointless Work Meeting

I never knew the importance of one-on-ones until I started running them myself

The Only Black Guy In the Office
LEVEL
Published in
5 min readNov 22, 2021

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Illustration: Michael Kennedy

When you become a manager of people, there’s always someone who will emphasize that with great power comes great responsibility, as if they’re dropping some novel wisdom on you (and not cribbing from Spider-Man comics). However true this may be, there’s an actual bit of useful advice that isn’t forewarned enough: With great power comes a great frequency of meetings. And quite frankly, for the most part, I don’t want to be bothered talking to any of these people.

The meetings that have crowded my calendar since I was promoted and onboarded to upper management are as varied as Snoop Dogg hairstyles. There are company-wide meetings, senior leadership meetings, departmental meetings, mandatory fun meetings, project update meetings (often with no actual updates), meetings where attendees feel like hostages on a conversation between two people, meetings where Janice hogs the damn mic with endless musings about farfetched hypothetical scenarios, late Friday afternoon meetings (ugh!), meetings that could’ve been emails, meetings that could’ve been canceled, meetings that could’ve been merely a thought that evanesced in the brains of their hosts long before ever being forced upon the rest of us.

So. Many. Meetings. I hate it here!

Folks who’ve spent enough time in corporate America or startup culture realize more often than not, said gatherings are aimless, redundant, prolonged, or some combination of all three. I’ve long suspected that the main reason for most meetings is so people can feel busier than they really are. Weird flex but okay.

If someone were to go lurking on my schedule right now, they’d see what looks like a fucked-up game of Tetris, with only a few half-hour blocks of uncommitted time each day punctuating a deluge of meetings. Some may see an employee of importance; I see piles of actual work being dealt with before and after company hours.

I’ve begun to curve some of these virtual get-togethers by blocking out time on my schedule for brainstorming or my own productivity, so neither…

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The Only Black Guy In the Office
LEVEL
Writer for

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