#WFH Diaries: Paul Hirsch of Doremus

As confinement continues in most parts of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Paul Hirsch, chief creative officer of Doremus North America.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Art director by trade, CCO by title. These days I wish my talents included fixing things around the house.

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

Hunkered down in an old rowhouse in Chicago with my wife, two kids and a 75-pound bernedoodle named Nugget who is in desperate need of some grooming.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

I'm lucky that we have a spare room that we've converted to a makeshift office. The commute is great but the days are pretty long. I oversee work across North America, and my day usually starts on East Coast time and ends on West Coast. But like everyone else, it's a lot like Groundhog Day. Each day is kind of the same. I wake up, get on lots of video calls, work late and then crash. In between there's lots of coffee, dishes, games of Uno, and searching for something good to binge.

Describe your socializing strategy.

The occasional FaceTime cocktail hour with friends has been nice. It seems like everyone could use a stiff drink right about now. 

How are you dealing with childcare?

My wife deserves all the credit for keeping things semi-sane. She oversees the kids' homeschooling and remote learning, which is a massive task. I realize how impossible that would be if we both worked right now. I also realize that if Billie Eilish was homeschooled, then maybe there's hope for all our kids.

What are you reading?

For my comedy and news I go to Twitter. Everything else has just fallen off. I just don't have the mental capacity right now to read anything substantial, and I'm very, very suspicious of anyone who does.

What are you watching?

We just knocked off Ozark, Curb Your Enthusiasm and McMillions, and now we're going old school and digging into Prime Suspect. If anyone has any good suggestions, please send them my way.

What are you listening to?

Since John Prine passed away, I've been on an alt-country kick with lots of Steve Earle, Lucero and Townes Van Zandt. Occasionally, l mix in some podcasts. Lately, it's The Producer's Guide with Todd Garner. 

How are you staying fit?

Ha ha ha ha.

I need to do a better job of staying away from Nutkrack or I'm going to turn into a character from Wall-E.

Have you taken up a hobby?

No. But like everyone on Instagram, my wife is now baking bread. (It's good.)

Any tips for getting necessities?

We used to be more hardcore and drive around hunting for supplies. But lately we've just been relying on deliveries and curbside pickups. On a side note, am I the only one who keeps getting targeted with mask ads on Instagram?

An awkward moment since all this started.

Video calling with a friend who had clearly been day drinking was interesting. But at least it was real. Having all these chats with dislocated bodies isn't normal. I like seeing kids in the background, hearing dog barks or the occasional yelling from another room. Right now, messy and human is good.

Best work email you got since all this started.

"The 6 p.m. Webex has been canceled." It's the little things that keep me going.

An aha! moment since all this started.

Essential workers and first responders make the world go 'round.

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

No clue. I leave that to the really smart people. The most important thing is the safety and peace of mind of my family and the people I work with. It's a very real problem for parents when schools and daycares are closed. It's also an issue when employees are afraid of getting on public transportation to come to work. Until we can get some definitive scientific answers instead of political rhetoric, I think we're all going to be in sweats for a while.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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