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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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In LEVEL. More on Medium.

The Only Black Guy in the Office

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

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

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 Zoom parties.


The Only Black Guy in the Office

When keeping it real goes right

Illustration by Michael Kennedy for LEVEL

A few weeks ago, I got my first whiff of celebrity status. And it was horrifying.


The Only Black Guy in the Office

You may not be in person, but you’ve still gotta come correct

Illustration by Michael Kennedy for LEVEL

For the first time in a long time, I’m happy with my current job. I have support from my higher-ups, a good deal of responsibility, and room for improvement, word to Drake. Still, at least once every year, I browse the job opportunities on LinkedIn to see what else is out there. I’ve done so ever since a friend who works in HR suggested making an effort to interview elsewhere annually — especially while I’m employed. For whatever reason, she said, many companies find poaching a prospect preferable to hiring someone who is unemployed. (It’s human nature, I guess, to…


The Only Black Guy in the Office

Rise and shine!

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

For much of the black hole that is 2020, I’ve woken up into the waking bad dream: oh, shit, this is still real. While quarantine restrictions have relaxed since the first wave of the coronavirus grounded half the planet, office life is very much TBD. The jury is still out on when we’ll get back into our ironclad daily schedules. And, to be honest, I’m not looking forward to that inevitable reversal.


THE ONLY BLACK GUY IN THE OFFICE

Virtual surroundings can communicate a lot without speaking a word.

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

After months of working from home, I’ve finally settled into a solid morning routine: Roll out of bed, do a quick email sweep to make sure no code-red crises arose at work while I was asleep, knock out the morning hygiene essentials, pour a big-ass bowl of cereal like Craig in Friday, and, if timing allows, take a quick 15 to meditate before logging on to work. But one morning earlier this year, I received a company-wide memo from senior leadership that threw off my whole a.m. regimen.


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented neologisms, but it’s time to cut these off

8. “Doomscrolling”

As if we need a term for diving into the execrable trash fire that is 2020. We can just swipe this one the hell out of here.

7. “Virtual happy hour”

Let’s please not drag this shit into 2021. If there’s no bartender shelling out discount margaritas in an actual venue, count us out.

6. “Performative allyship”

The perfect short-shelf-life jargon for this year’s reckoning with racism. “Not really about that life” has always summed it up just fine for us.

5. “Read the room”

Sure, some of the folks on the receiving end of this phrase are embarrassingly lacking in self- and social awareness. …


THE ONLY BLACK GUY IN THE OFFICE

Being cooped up in the crib has forced me to learn (and unlearn) some major habits

Illustration: Richard A. Chance

It’s been three whole months — 12 weeks, 84 days, 2,016 hours, but who’s counting? — since the beginning of my pandemic-sanctioned home confinement. Being holed up in the crib with the exception of grocery store runs and skeptical fresh air strolls has led me to hella different levels of stir-crazy. There was the manic-exerciser stage. The fridge-abuser stage. The PhD-in-WebMD stage. The clean-so-much-it-makes-my-moms-proud stage. The fuck-it-I’ll-just-count-my-floor-tiles stage. And now, the radical-self-reflection stage.


THE ONLY BLACK GUY IN THE OFFICE

I may be stir-crazy, but these annoyances have me rethinking the end of WFH status

Illustration: Richard A. Chance

After you’ve been stuck inside quarantining long enough, getting your work done anywhere sounds better than your home setup. A coffee shop. A fancy hotel lobby. Even the office.

LEVEL

Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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