THE ONLY BLACK GUY IN THE OFFICE

WFH Taught Me How to Live in the Moment

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

The Only Black Guy In the Office
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Published in
5 min readJun 15, 2020

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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.

My day job has become both an energy drain and a useful distraction from the uncertainty of the current world. But without the physical distraction of co-workers snapping me out of my thoughts, I’ve realized that I’m changing a lot more than I expected to.

Planning things right now comes with the full understanding that they’ll probably change, so why not be present and roll with whatever time brings?

For starters, I’ve ditched the habit of planning for the present, and started working on simply being present instead. I think a lot about where my head was in mid-March, when the pandemic shook the table hard enough to ground half of America’s workforce. My company nosedived into this whole mandated work-from-home scenario with the naive belief that it’d only be until the end of the month — and I drank a little bit of that Kool-Aid myself. I planned to work through the uncertainty and not focus too hard on the details, assuming that we’d be back in the office by April. I was still making my spring and summer plans, and plotting points on my professional goal list for the year. Two weeks crept by and company emails about return dates got vaguer. Once April rolled around and I was still joining conference calls from my couch, it hit me. Holy shit, nothing’s changed and I can’t do anything about it. I settled into a state of acceptance. Maybe this is just what it is. This is my life now.

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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.