It didn't take seven seasons to understand that copywriter Don Draper is not only smooth, unscrupulous and egomaniacal, but a giant asshole. But it is probably this attitude that makes him the coolest pig in the American series Mad Men. A series that perfectly stages the business and sex life of an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in the 1960s and 1970s.
But the series does not only offer classy-dressed office stallions, who are always a step away from the next One-Night-Stand, but also provides inspiring food for thought with regard to everyday career life. Roger Sterling, Don Draper and Peggy Olson, for example, show us what makes a successful career and how it can be achieved:
1. Know your value
At the beginning of the series, naive Peggy Olson starts her career at Sterling Cooper as secretary to Creative Director Don Draper. She works hard and with each episode her learning curve goes up steeply. This pays off, as Peggy ends her career as head copywriter at Sterling Cooper & Partner. Only one question remains: how did she do that?
Peggy knew how to tell the truth, and she knew her value. Confidently she asked for a bigger office, more salary and remained faithful in negotiations with Roger Sterling, her boss (she had herself paid extra for extra work if he forgot to tell her about it). She knew about her market value by meeting with a headhunter and at the same time got a feel for what is in demand in the industry. Do you know your value?
2. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself
“It's not about the destination, but about enjoying the ride”, Mad Men's inventor Matt Weiner told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, describing the curvy life of Donald Francis “Don” Draper, whose journey begins with his own identity.
Don Draper never clings to the old, but surrenders to the flow of life. He doesn't wait, he acts. Only in this way could Don Draper win customers like Jaguar, Heinz Beans or Lucky Strike with slogans like "It's toasted" or "Some things never change. With each new day, you also have the opportunity to reinvent yourself over and over again. What are you waiting for?!
3. Sex in the office is an absolute no-go
The quick lunchtime number is still a dream of many career junkies. But this is rarely well received - and not only at Sterling Cooper. Of course, there's always a chance that a quick office fiddling will not have any major consequences, but that's the exception.
Usually the quick act ends with the “secretary”, while the wife takes care of the children at home, in an absolute disaster. Not only the cool Don Draper, who lives according to the motto “Family for breakfast, whiskey for lunch and cheating for dinner”, but also Pete Campbell, who among other things turned Peggy on a child or chief assistant Joan Harris, who embodies the slogan “Sex sells” like no one else, had to find out. In principle, if you don't want to have any difficulties, then you should leave a fast number at work - it doesn't lead to anything.
4. Don't put all your money on one card
In the course of the series, it quickly became clear that Sterling Cooper had no more important customer than Lucky Strike. Regardless of which new customers could be acquired, the top priority for Don Draper and the creative team was to make the cigarette manufacturer happy - even if it was with a good face to the evil game. A mistake, as it turns out in retrospect.
In one of the Mad Men seasons, Lucky Strike cancels the existing contract with Sterling Cooper and changes to the competition. For Roger Sterling and Bertram Cooper this was a severe blow, as they and their agency depended on the favour of the cigarette manufacturer. Fortunately, how else could Don Draper save the situation with a more open letter to the tobacco industry in the New York Times? But what is the point of getting into such a situation if there is another way?! Therefore, do not put everything on one card, but always have several irons in the fire.
5. Work out your own possibilities
At the end of Mad Men's third season, the future of Sterling Cooper & Partner is at stake. The alliance with McCann Erickson, who saved Don's job, has consequences. Can the takeover of the agency still be prevented?
Once it is clear that Sterling Cooper & Partner cannot be saved, Roger Sterling, Bert Cooper, Don Draper and Lane Pryce take the initiative and go into business for themselves again. They know their possibilities, clear the old offices in a night and foggy action and leave the agency without a word. With a handful of old customers, they launch Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce from a rented hotel room.
So it doesn't matter which (life) situation you are in, you always have the chance to work out your own possibilities. So, what are you waiting for?!