Working From Home and Coping With the Pandemic: Aisha Hakim

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on everyone's lives, we are checking in with people in the creative industry to see how they're doing. Aisha Hakim is a senior art director at Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco. We asked her how she's holding up during the crisis.

Muse: Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

Aisha Hakim: Living in San Francisco, in my 650-square-foot apartment with my cat Sox and my husband, an ICU nurse.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

Everyone at Venables Bell & Partners is remote, and I feel lucky that I have an engaging project to work on. Although it's increasing hard to focus on ideas in this news climate.

How is your husband's work going? It must be very stressful.

He is deeply concerned, like the rest of us. The biggest problem is the potential for the healthcare system to get overwhelmed and not be able to provide ideal care to all patients. He says we need to continue to be vigilant about social distancing to flatten the curve to ensure hospital resources aren't depleted all at once. Nurses are some of the most likely to be a carrier of COVID-19, which is scary for me!

Describe your socializing strategy.

We're trying to get out and take walks every day to get fresh air. I also have a Twitter ad-group chat that has been keeping me sane.

What are you reading?

I always have half-read books sitting on my bedside table. Right now I'm reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind; Lift Up Thy Voice, a story of two women who went from slave owners to leaders of the early abolitionist and women's suffrage movements; and Creative Blindness (and How to Cure It).

What are you watching?

I'm watching Sex and the City for the first time and it is extremely problematic!!! All four characters are all horrible people, and I love to hate them. We also watched Knives Out (amazing) and JoJo Rabbit.

What are you listening to?

I've been listening to Amy Winehouse and Kacey Musgraves. Amy for any angst I've been feeling and Kacey to calm me down.

How are you staying fit?

Virtual classes are saving my life. I have a subscription to The Yoga Tree, which has unlimited classes for 15 bucks a month.

Have you taken up a hobby?

I'm learning to be better at hand-crafted type, so I've started a daily letter challenge. TBD on the outcome.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Working, in general, feels awkward. It's difficult to focus on corporate needs when it feels like the world is falling apart around us. I know several creatives are feeling quite listless with everything that is going on around us.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

2020 refuses to be predictable, and I think that adds to the stress of the situation. I hope at the end of all this there is a greater sense of community and support in the industry. I'm hoping we can return to normal life in a few weeks, unless 2020 has something else fun in store for us.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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