“Our agency was being swallowed whole. I realized I could die of boredom or holster up my guns.” ~ Don Draper, Mad Men
I spent Sunday night in Syracuse, New York. Since I either wanted to be with my family in Florida or in my apartment in New York, having my flight diverted and grounded overnight in Syracuse was not optimal. Luckily, the people I met were exceedingly kind and sympathetic to the situation. It also helped that I could watch the Mad Men season premiere in a comfy hotel room.
The quote above closed out the season premiere episode of Mad Men. Don is being interviewed about the new agency he and his colleagues formed. It’s a quote that hit me like a ton of bricks and I drifted off to sleep thinking about how many titan companies of today may be in the same boat as Sterling Cooper, the original agency where Don is employed. No one at the time could imagine big Madison Avenue agencies folding or losing business the way so many eventually did. Who would think that start-up, nimble, lean companies could replace their big, powerful predecessors? And yet, that’s exactly what happened, and continues to happen, in advertising and almost every other industry.
A lot of Don’s behavior is deplorable (we love his character anyway because it’s superbly written and acted), though I greatly admire his bold attitude and confidence in his creativity. He offers his advice at the end of the episode to every employee who finds each passing day of work less than stimulating. Life’s too short to spend a single day devoid of creativity, and we’ve all got it, whether it’s in your job title or not. Holster up, folks.
Published by Christa Avampato
The short of it:
Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day.
The long of it:
My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events.
While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series.
A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist.
I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media:
• I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference;
• I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable;
• I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me.
Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.
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2 thoughts on “Step 208: Career Advice from Don Draper of Mad Men”
Christa, don’t tell me what to do. I know what you want.
Yes – a vacation in Philly!