Jul 5, 2010

3 things you can learn from Roger Sterling & Peggy Olson

I'm a bit of a Mad Men fan. The dialogue, the exquisite styling and the perfectly paced stories are a sweet escape to early 60s Manhattan.

Roger and Peggy have had very different experiences at Sterling Cooper.

As a partner Roger has been accustomed to getting his own way. It shows. His dapper persona and incisive barbs keep the place humming and on edge.

Peggy has made something out of nothing. She has fabricated a career girl out of half-chances and determination.

There are some things we can all learn from them and apply to our own career/work/life...


1. Never prepare anything. That's what the team does. You are a man goddamit and fought to make this country what it is. Are you gonna let this client step all over you? Hell No! Take a bolt of something from the sideboard, stick a 'Lucky' in the corner of your mouth and give 'em what for.

2. Know the client's pressure points. Remember the time that Jap tried to run you through? Same thing. When they lean in and give it their best shot just step to the left grab their arm and apply a verbal chop to the neck. Why bother with a great campaign when you can just knock them into shape with a few quips?

3. The impression you make is 95% of the work. Sure you could work until 10pm, grab a bite at Sardi's and head home around midnight but, why do that when you have a wardrobe of $500 suits? If you look a million dollars, smile like JFK and talk like Muhammed Ali you can get the job done almost all the time.


1. Take every opportunity you can. They may have hired you to take calls and work the Rolodex but you have much more than that. You see through the glittering veneer of advertising and know all that it takes is ideas and hard work. What does Don have that you don't? ("...everything, and so much of it."). He made himself just the way you have.

2. Others are happy for you to make them look good. If you have something don't hide it. For every original thinker there are ten hacks who get where they are through fortune and favour. They won't go as far as you though. When you have something great don't let others take the credit. There are too many Dons out there who will let you wallow in the backroom if you don't push them hard. Burn brightly like the Sun.

3. Sleep with whoever you need to. It's not nice but it might help.

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