#WFH Diaries: Todd Lombardo of The Many

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 Todd Lombardo of The Many in Los Angeles.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Managing director at The Many overseeing client services. A focus on digital since the late 1990s. Also a writer of published articles and unpublished novels, crossfitter, and vegan-ish. Proud Gen X-er. Prouder LGBTQ+. 

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

We are the Brady Bunch, a blended family of myself, my partner Alyn, two Affenpinschers Onyx and Violet, and rescued-off-the-freeway kittie Twig, at our house in Santa Clarita, California.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

Pretty much Zoomified. While I'm holed up at home, I change the picture hanging behind me every day. Today is Jasper Johns 1967 Flag. Otherwise it's 1980s era Optimus Prime virtual background. And I head outside whenever I can.

Describe your socializing strategy.

I'm a natural introvert when it comes down to it, so this hasn't been too difficult for me. Lots of group texts, FaceTime and phone calls. 

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

We do not have human children of our own, so I am an attentive ear for whomever needs to vent.

What are you reading?

I'd be lying if I didn't say Political Twitter. Also: recently re-read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, am in the middle of the novel Less by Andrew Sean Greer, and am rereading Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim, as our current situation is churning the water.

What are you watching?

I have found myself unable to focus on most anything long-form these days, so Ozark will have to wait. I managed to catch up on Parasite and Bombshell, both quite deserving of the accolades they received. RuPaul's Drag Race is our Friday night go-to.

What are you listening to?

My current Spotify includes Dixie Chicks, HAIM, Prince, The 1975, Sheryl Crow, Bleachers, Margo Price. It wouldn't be L.A. without on-the-road podcasts, back when we all used to drive a lot: Pod Save America and You Must Remember This are two.

How are you staying fit?

Running along the Santa Clara river, and crossfit in my yard. Trying to avoid mountain lions and coyotes, which are prevalent out here.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Without a commute, sleeping in a little longer! But I find myself busier than ever and have found there isn't much time. I'd like to get back to writing, but we are moving with speed for our clients and that has been a majority of my focus right now.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Order on Instacart, one week in advance. Don't mandate organic. Be open to new brands of toilet paper. Go to Whole Foods at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday if you must. Wear a mask.

An awkward moment since all this started. 

When I emerge from 10 hours of video calls and my partner just looks at me and shakes his head. And when Twig launches at my face in the middle of a Zoom. 

Best work email you got since all this started.

The daily gif threads that bounce around the company make my day. Ironically, social distancing has brought The Many closer together. 

An aha! moment since all this started.

I already knew it, but needed to be reminded: There is no sure thing. The only trick in life is to show up every day, despite your fear. Show up, give it all you've got, and maybe end on a whiskey neat. And try not to worry too much. None of us are fortune tellers, and we should let ourselves off the hook for that. I tell my team this all the time. Celebrate the superpowers you do have instead.

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

First, it's generational. My grandparents have long since passed, but what I remember is how they would save everything, because they were children of the Great Depression. As a child, I couldn't understand it, and called it cheap. Because I had never been through that upheaval. What's happening now will impact all of us for a lifetime. Kids 50 years from now won't understand why we avoid crowded supermarkets.

Second, we've seen this movie before. The first crisis of my professional life was 9/11. The second was 2008. I recall back then talking heads pontificating about the future all day long, though nobody really knew. I'm anticipating a blended future: Some things will return to what we think of as normal, and others will become the new normal. Personally, the lack of driving in Los Angeles has cleared the skies of smog, and I'd like to keep that.

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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