#WFH Diaries: Sophie Caron of DDB Paris
As the Covid-19 pandemic gallops along, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Sophie Caron of DDB Paris.
Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.
I'm Sophie, a strategist at DDB Paris, and a hyperactive individual recently forced to slow down and stay at home, but I'm making the most of it.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
I moved from London to Paris almost two years ago and now live in the heart of the city, in the 7th arrondissement, with my husband Ryan and our 9-month-old daughter. Thank goodness she doesn't know how to walk around yet, otherwise being on lockdown in a flat might feel a lot less exciting to her.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
Well, there was a minor sense of disappointment as I began to realize that the "corona confinement" situation could translate into one of the busiest times for me. I imagined that self-isolation would involve a lot of feet-up, good books, healthy eating, home improvement, etc., and that I'd even become a touch more introspective. I couldn't have been more wrong. As it stands, I've got a few new frames on the wall (still in their Ikea plastic wrapping!) and my self-improvement has been reduced to organizing my daily schedule over a cup of tea with the occasional rationed cookie. Deep and meaningful stuff.
At the agency, we're highly involved in helping our clients navigate these difficult and crazy times, and it seems as if the entire strategic department is pulled in several different directions. In all fairness, it's a really interesting time for brand strategists, as human behaviour is currently obscure but constantly changing. It's bringing out the worst but also the very best in people, an amazing yet conflicting set of conditions to witness.
Describe your socializing strategy.
WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, a friendly neighborly wave, though my favorite at the moment is a shout-out "thanks" from the balcony to any of the many delivery guys. For some reason I get a real kick out of it. It's my version of the "royal" balcony wave I've always dreamt of—minus the mint green hat!
How are you dealing with childcare?
I'm extremely lucky that my husband's schedule enables him to take care of our baby quite a bit during the day, but we do have to take it in turns. A 9-month-old needs nonstop attention, so I take the early morning and evening shifts. There's a lot of nursery rhymes, accompanied by a lot of high-energy dancing. At least we don't have homeschooling to contend with; I think I'll always be better at "Wheels on the Bus" than science homework.
What are you reading?
I've just finished First Man In, an ex-SAS officer's survival book. It felt quite appropriate in these challenging times. Next, provided Amazon delivers it, I'm going to dive into Steven Taylor's Psychology of Pandemics, hoping it will shine light on why my kitchen cupboards are full of canned tuna even though my husband and I despise it.
What are you watching?
It's all over social media but I've managed to avoid Tiger King up until now; we'll see if another month of quarantine changes that. In the meantime I couldn't resist pressing play on Contagion once again—eerily accurate, with events playing out today for real.
What are you listening to?
Billie Eilish and more Billie Eilish. And the obligatory smattering of Fleetwood Mac. Oh, and "Wheels on the Bus," of course.
How are you staying fit?
Mainly thanks to DDB Paris' very own Jane Fonda, a fellow strategist who does intense Zoom workouts for the agency most mornings. On the weekend, I follow live Instagram workouts conducted by the many minor/wannabe celebrities who have all become fitness pros overnight. Plus I've got the high-energy dance workout of endless nursery rhymes. Better than any spin or Zumba class!
Have you taken up a hobby?
Counting the very few neighbors around me who haven't fled to the countryside—my neighborhood has virtually emptied. I'm also trying to grow avocados, albeit with very little success. During the first week, social media successfully bullied me into cooking, but my husband strongly suggested not to succumb to any more of new culinary-inspired Instagram feeds, for fear of extending our health risk beyond Covid-19.
Any tips for getting necessities?
The tiny independent convenience store next door, what a brilliant discovery. The owner is lovely, very helpful and a great laugh. That's a place I won't forget once all this finishes. Support little and local!
An awkward moment since all this started.
I got a bit carried away at my little sis's 30th birthday party, held on Zoom. It all felt so immersive (as did my champagne flute), I swear I was at the party. Who'd've thought Zoom conference calling could be hangover-causing! I don't think I'll ever need to go out on Saturday nights again.
Best work email you got since all this started.
Not so much a work email, but I had a real chuckle when I received EasyJet's early crisis email, claiming the cabin air quality is better than what is experienced in a normal indoor environment. Nearly had me booking an EasyJet flight.
An aha! moment since all this started.
I read an article written by a professor of sociology who suggested we should replace the term "social distancing" with the more precise "physical distancing" pointing out that, when we practice physical distancing, we need social connectivity and social responsibility more than ever.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
The truth is, nobody knows what the future holds. It's impossible to know where this will take us in the short or long term. The one thing we do know is that we are all united under one cause, to rid the world of the horrid virus. Perhaps this united sentiment will remain after the virus has left us? Perhaps we will live in a world that is somehow not only grateful for the inexistence of Covid-19 but also for those that helped us in our hour of need?
I'd like to think we could extend a huge hand of gratitude beyond a two-minute round of applause every evening. The French have an annual Solidarity Day, whereby the nation's wages on that day are donated to charities assisting the elderly and disabled. Perhaps we could see a similar effort this year, where everyone could have the option to donate in honor of the life-saving frontline workers? I strongly believe that the critical work nurses and doctors are currently doing needs to be recognized and rewarded further down the line.