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Mad Men 4/11 Chinese Wall - The Ex-Communicator

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October 4th, 2010


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12:17 pm - Mad Men 4/11 Chinese Wall
I watched Mad Men 4.11 just now. As always it spoke directly to something that is happening to me in my life. I do understand that this is because it's rich enough material for me to project my concerns onto it, but the effect is kind of spooky.

What happens this week is that something threatens the long term future of the agency, in much the way that the agency I work for is threatened (though in our case the threat has come, it's happened). The meetings, the way people react, the impact on our personal lives and emotional equanimity, are a dramatisation of the things that are happening to me and my colleagues. Two people contacted me while I was watching this episode to ask if I would talk with them about the issue I was also devouring on screen.

More than any other show I watch, I feel Mad Men has good advice for me. In this instance Don Draper says to his colleagues something that I needed to hear. I will transcribe it.
We've had a pretty good year. We have gained more accounts than we have lost. A lot more, because our work is thoughtful, and effective. Which means that nothing should change. Nothing will change. We are going to push ourselves, shoulder to shoulder, and we are going to overcome this, and we are going to succeed tenfold. And it will be exhilarating.

ETA Not that I read this as literal advice. For me everything will change, but I am effective, and it will be exhilarating. In the Mad Men universe, I feel fairly sure that Don's agency will survive, but as in my other favourite show, survival will be at the cost of everything. Everything must go.

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