Mad Men is a TV drama series set in the 1960s, Madison Avenue, New York City. Although the drama is focused on an iconic period in the past, the values of work still stand the same as of today. The plot centres around character Don Draper who is a talented Creative Director at the advertising company called Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. It’s the perfect story to depict a realistic life of work and love. However, while this show primarily centres around a man in business, it also shows the empowerment of women working for men in a sexist environment. Mad Men is really about women standing up for equality for women who can’t, teaching females to break away from being a slave and to take control of the career they are in.
Here are the three lessons of what the women of Mad Men have taught other women in their career:
1. Peggy Olson - never too late to ask for more
Peggy Olsen started out as naive and uneducated, but now is on top of her game. Why? Because she took demand in her career, wouldn’t take no for answer. She knew what she wanted and went after it by expecting a little extra. You’ve got start off from the bottom to get to the top, like Peggy - she went from secretary for Don Draper to being promoted as Copywriter at the company, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. She eventually became a founding member for the company landing the position of second-in-command in the Creative Department for Don Draper himself.
If you’re working for men remember to be fierce and don’t let any of them think you’re lesser than they are. In the meantime don’t let them believe you’re just bossy. Be intriguing, work hard, think freshly, and create strong ideas.
2. Joan Holloway - mentor the trainees
As sympathetic as she may be, Joan Holloway is an honest woman, and one must always be truthful in their career. If you want to help others in successfully doing their job, do what she did for Peggy Olson; help the trainee when they’re having trouble completing the task, create confidence within the beginner, maybe even throw in trendy tips on style or how to do the task.
3. Betty Draper - don’t expect, and be happy at what you do
It’s important to understand that in the 1960’s it was a lot more difficult for women to land a job because it wasn’t expected unless they urgently needed the cash or showed desire to achieve above the norm. Statistics show that only one in three women made it through in the workplace back then, but now, society is more equalised.
As long as you keep up with the good attitude others will want you around. Employers want someone who is interested in the work they do. This means, going to social events and building relationships between other employees. Woman should look to be like Peggy; after she was considered the social outcast in her work place, she took demand in her life by changing from a shy lady to a bold woman. She dressed more like a woman and went to the men’s events. If you are not a part of the employee circle, you might miss opportunities that other employees have. By building business relationships with your co-workers you may even find something in common with them. For Betty Draper, a fantastically prudish woman, Betty felt as though she had always missed out on doing something that she always wanted to do. She ignored this lesson and expected what she had to do as a woman; have a husband and be a mother. Now, because of this she is left unsatisfied. Is that what you want to happen to you? To feel empty because you didn’t fulfil your career needs, earning money by doing what made you happy?
Take a stand in where you’re heading in your career, ask yourself, is this the right job for you? Reflect on your approaches and use a driven approach with an ambitious attitude to solidify your place in the workplace as a modern woman.