Mad Men, the 80’s, and Now

I recently started watching Mad Men. And like a good little NetFlix-er, I started from the beginning with the first season.
First of all – freakin, frackin, LOVE it.

Second, it has me thinking about the workplace and how far women have come in their careers, earning respect, and creating equality. But the series stands out SO much from today’s standards (obviously) that it makes me wonder if we are getting close to the end of the spectrum. We have men calling women ‘sweetheart’ and ‘honey’ in Mad Men; treating them as if they don’t have a brain in their head, as if the ONLY job they could ever do was a secretary job. Christmas was called Christmas, parties were called parties, people said off-color things and everything was okay the next day at work. There were fist-fights in the office, and it was probably sometimes the best way to handle a disagreement.

Now things are the opposite. And with GOOD reason on most issues. But the hyper-politically correct society we live in starts to bother me sometimes. We are ever so easily offended. We must watch our words in the office, our beliefs, our opinions, lest we hurt someone’s feelings. Christmas in the office becomes a ‘Holiday’ or just a ‘Get Together’. I’m not saying I don’t understand the reasoning for why we are the way we are now, but are we going just a bit too far? Mad Men standards were too loose, now we might be too tight. Is there a middle ground? Was it the 80’s?

What will the workplace be like in 20 years?

Article by Katie Matthews

4 replies added

  1. Anonymous January 12, 2011 Reply

    I KNEW you would love Mad Men! You are so Carrie in ths piece. I love your questions! You are so right on things being to tight these days. In the 80's rather than alcohol people where snorting lines. HAHA just kidding. I watch to much TV. Enjoy the rest of the series!

  2. Anonymous January 13, 2011 Reply

    It's all those “mamby pamby” people who believe in handing out participation ribbons instead of first, second and third place ribbons. People think they are entitled to so much. What about earning what you get?. Next time a woman doesn't say thank you or acknowledge holding the door open for her, smack her on her ass and say “looking good babe”

  3. Anonymous January 13, 2011 Reply

    I remember the office work environment in the 80’s. Men were still men, well except if you owned the Thriller album, and the women were much more independent than those in Mad Men, holding higher positions in management. You could still smoke in the office, regardless of how much whining your neighbor did. People were pleasant to each other, and when they were not, there was no “meet me in the parking lot” rule. It happened then and there, usually with the victor packing their things in a box and not looking back. We had “Christmas” parties where someone always drank too much and ended making a fool of themselves, but it was OK, unlike now where you would likely lose your job.
    Would I say that was a compromise of the Don Draper era and now, YES. They say history repeats itself, let’s hope that holds true for some of the over politically correctness (not to be confused with manners) that we have to endure on a daily basis both in and out of the office.

    ETB (embrace the bacon)

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