It took awhile, but when the boys had to come up with a campaign for a failing lipstick company, they finally got the idea that maybe it would be helpful to get the women in the office involved.
Welcome to agency research circa AMC's Mad Men- the summer TV series about Madison Avenue in the 1960s. The series has just been renewed for a second season.
As statistic after statistic is released showing how little progress women have made breaking through the glass ceiling, this series will cheer you up -- the statistics may not be where many of us want them to be -- but nothing says "we've made progress" than spending an hour watching Mad Men.
It's absolutely delicious and as addictive as the cigarettes that are in every single scene.
As Fern Cohen shared on Metroblogging New York City,
One thing that jumps out immediately, is of course that the execs are almost all men, and the only person of color is the elevator operator. But then the cigarette smoke pops out. I was forced to remember my first job in the late-70s as a reservationist for Aeromexico at 500 Fifth Avenue, more than a decade after the setting of "Madmen". Everybody smoked. The man who sat next to me reeked. He must not have drycleaned his suits too often because he just reeked. I had a woman in front of me who lit a cigarette while the last one was still smoldering in her ashtray. And there were ashtray fights; the smokers accused each other of ashtray theft, or yelled when someone didn't clean out their ashtray often enough. An accidentally-overturned ashtray could dump mounds of ashes, which then blew in all our faces. In those days, I ran outside to the front of the building for fresh air. Now, it's the opposite-- the front of the office buildings are polluted with smoke,
Mad Men is part of a growing trend of office-related entertainment which cultural experts say is a result that many people spend more time at the office than with their families. Writing in Conde Nast's Portfolio.com, Alan Krauss reports,
Stories about office workers are selling like hotcakes.
The popular comedy The Office begins its fourth season on NBC on September 27, while a new ABC series, Carpoolers, will premiere on October 2. But the two TV shows are just the tip of the iceberg. Books, movies, Web series, comics—all offer windows into the mundane realities, management crises, and emotional interplay of characters busy earning their daily bread.
Abernethy says a broad shift in cultural priorities may account for the change. “Work used to be the thing we did so we could have a nice home life,” he said. Now, “if we have a family and time with the spouse and kids, it’s a bonus.”
The internet and the always-on connectivity of cell phones and email are also important factors, says Fred Turner, an assistant professor of communication at Stanford University. “Everywhere is the office now,” he says.
Wanderlustinghas been blogging about her work life and the archetypical characters that she encounters every day. Here are two of her female archetypes.
Archetype 3: The Homecoming Queen then. Most Envied and Desired Co-Worker now.Could be very smart, which only helps further her case. Might be a cold bitch. But in other examples, has also been known to be a genuinely nice person. Intelligence and quality of work aside, she's physically attractive. Gets invited to meetings (even those she doesn't necessarily belong in) and out-of-office functions. Tends to maintain some manner of distance and mystery. The women collectively like/envy/fear/admire her, the men just can't stop looking at her. Terribly effective at getting proposals approved rather quickly. Object of much gossip and discussion. Might end up dating the Student Council President.
Archetype 4: The Gossip then. The Chatty Connector now.Knows everyone and their backstories. Has been with the company for a while. Will be with the company for a while. Tends to be female. Her best asset is not so much her talent, intelligence or aptitude for her role (which she might have), but rather how many people she knows, how much she knows about them, and how much people tell her. She knows the culture, the history, the gossip. Don't tell her any personal details that you wouldn't want the entire office to know about you. Don't make her your enemy - she'll be around longer than you will. Embodies the adage "it's not what you know, it's whom you know".
Just today, Penelope Trunk announced she is starting a new company,
Brazen Careerist will be a network of bloggers talking about the intersection of work and life, and it will be a resource for young people who understand that they are in the driver’s seat when it comes to employment. What does being in the driver’s seat mean? It means first that you are responsible for your own career - your personal growth, your personal brand, and your personal fulfillment. But it also means that you understand that you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to employers; companies need to cater to employees if they want to get the good ones.
In the Portfolio.com article, columnist Michael Abernethy of Popmatters.com offers this explanation for the popularity of office themed entertainment,
Everyone can relate to being stuck with a boss who is bumbling, insensitive, or outright evil, Abernethy says. And everyone has had co-workers who were shy or gossipy, loud or tactless. “Invariably,” he says, “the setup for these office-related works—whether they be blogs, films, series, or books—contains an everyman or -woman, some average person trying to survive the insanity. A person we can point to and say, ‘That’s me!’ ”
Never has clip about a TV show said " That's me!" more than the You Tube video from The Smart Woman Survival Guide, called Lana or Lana?
Click here to see what it's like to have a name like Elana.
Image Credit: What's Alan Watching
Elana blogs about everything about business except the bottom line at FunnyBusiness
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