Are you Better Than Don Draper?

May 21, 2015
| ByMike Ryan

The TV show Mad Men ended its epic run last Sunday. No series marked the shifting culture and prevailing attitudes of the 1960s better. More than nostalgic, it was an authentic, entertaining and sometimes scary portrayal of the way Americans lived and worked not too long ago.

So how far have we come since then? We are healthier for one. No more martini lunches. We don’t smoke in the office (or at all) anymore and we are better at recognition. Or are we?

One of my favorite scenes is an exchange between Don Draper and his junior copywriter Peggy Olsen. Don wins an award and takes all the credit. An exasperated Peggy complains that, “You never say thank you.” Don’s response? “That’s what the money is for! And, you should be thanking me!” And then he adds—in what’s a reflection of the times—that she hasn’t earned her dues yet. “You’re young. You will get your recognition!”

The American workplace has grown and matured immensely in five plus decades, but some still harbor the biases of the Sixties—that workers work for money, that they are lucky to have a job and that respect and recognition comes with time and not achievement.

Hopefully your business has a different way of looking at things.

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