#WFH Diaries: Sarah Ratinetz and Tim Glebocki of Burns Group

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to upend life across the globe, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Sarah Ratinetz and Tim Glebocki of Burns Group.

Give us one-sentence bios of yourselves.

Sarah Ratinetz: I'm an ACD/art director at Burns Group in New York and a New Yorker who is missing New York!

Tim Glebocki: I'm a copywriter at Burns Group.

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

Sarah: Coming to you live from my "office," which is actually a desk inside a closet. There are no windows and nothing on the walls to make me look cool or tasteful during Zoom conferences. I live in Brooklyn, but when our quarantine began in late February after returning from a trip to Italy, I shipped out to Long Island, where we've been enjoying luxuries like fresh air and laundry. I am currently living with my husband, my brother and his girlfriend. There are never any leftovers. 

Tim Glebocki: I'm in St. Louis with the in-laws. With me are my wife and a 15-week old puppy, Laika, who has developed a taste for laptops. Which is not at all distracting.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

Sarah: I am beyond grateful to be busy! I'm missing my buddy and writing partner Tim, but we're always in communication. Burns Group has done an incredible job keeping us connected. We were already masters of Slack, Dropbox and Zoom prior to the quarantine, so our work flow hasn't missed a beat.

Tim: I've never missed office chairs more. Seriously, are all our backs ruined forever? I also miss working face to face with my partner Sarah. The only bright spot is fewer, shorter meetings because the office extroverts can't get their socializing fix via Zoom.

Describe your socializing strategy.

Sarah: Zoom, FaceTime and Houseparty! I choose my video conference platform based on the group. Last night my high school friends and I had a "house party." We went through our yearbook and made fun of each other for our emo senior quotes. We even had a party crasher! Ah, the good old days.

Tim: People want to play with the puppy. I don't blame them, she's adorable. I try and stay away from them. She cries. :(

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

Sarah: I do not have children but I am inspired by how creative my co-workers have been keeping their kiddos in their routines, educated and entertained.

Tim: Does puppycare count? I love this puppy but sometimes I wish I could shoot her with a tranq dart. She tries to chew, pull, steal, leap on and bite everything in sight. I feel for all the parents and guardians out there whose wards are just as curious yet also own opposable thumbs.

What are you reading?

Sarah: Ciao! Allora! I cannot read, write or speak Italian, but Vogue Italia made their digital archives public so I've been flipping through tons of issues from the '90s. I've also been reading An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin.

Tim: Elif Shafak's 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World and a book on gardening. Thus, I've discovered that virtually every plant available to man is toxic to dogs.

What are you watching?

Sarah: I rarely like to watch anything too intense—Tiger King not included because FOMO. @newyorknico on Instagram is hosting a "Best New York Accent" competition and the submission videos are incredible and making me homesick. I'm also catching up on Bon Appetit Test Kitchen videos and Tiny Desk concerts on YouTube. The Harry Styles Tiny Desk concert released a few weeks ago is **heart eyes**.

Tim: I've gone for the culturally enriching stuff: Love Is Blind and The Circle. I've also inexplicably found myself drawn to YouTube documentaries on the falls of ancient civilizations.

What are you listening to?

Sarah: I'm usually a podcast listener but I've mostly been avoiding them. I've been rotating between listening to Dirty Projectors, Margaret Glaspy, Goose and Chromeo. I can also sing along in my closet office, which is a major WFH perk. 

Tim: Burna Boy, Dua Lipa and King Princess. The puppy likes Elgar, so we lull her to sleep with it.

How are you staying fit?

Sarah: This weekend I took two Zoom classes with friends, which felt almost normal. I refuse to turn the camera on because it's my business and my business only whether I choose to do the burpees or not. I'm also obsessed with the Obe Fitness app. The vibe is the "Hotline Bling" music video meets Jane Fonda.

Tim: Running around after our puppy. She gets particularly excited when she sees a squirrel. Or a bird. Or a car. Or a child. Or a tree. Or a rock.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Sarah: Self-control? My husband has made pizza, bread and bagels this week. I just ordered a bunch of fresh painting supplies and am using my two free months of Skillshare to improve my After Effects skills.

Tim: I'm painting wargaming miniatures. It's rather like paint-by-numbers but the canvas is a 3-D sculpture and it's only an inch high. It's also terrific for my ego, as next to these models my 5-foot-6 frame is GIANT.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Sarah: Plan ahead but also be prepared to pivot. 

Tim: Meal plan and steal from the rich.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Sarah: Seeing your every facial expression and move on Zoom has been a little bit awkward for me, but my aspirational living room background is making things a little better.

Tim: At some point I'm going to have to explain to my company why there are teeth marks on my laptop. Time for an upgrade?

Best work email you got since all this started.

Sarah: Not an email but the Burns Group #coronasanity Slack channel has been an amazing way for us all to share memes, pet and kid photos and articles to keep us connected during the long weeks.


An aha! moment since all this started.

Sarah: So many! This has been a major time of existential reflection for me as I know it has been for others. Today's "aha" was: Jeans are overrated.

Tim: I've been surprised and gratified to find that many young people are far more worried about spreading Covid-19 to vulnerable groups than contracting it themselves. The kids are alright.

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

Sarah: I think we have a while longer before anything returns to "normal" and that normal is going to be something entirely new.

Tim: I'm hoping for a redemptive final act and a global, collective affirmation of shared human values.

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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