three people posing for a photo, one wearing an elephant sweater

Mad Men Your Way to a Job

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

Dear Rejection-Avoiders,

If you like Mad Men, and even if you don’t, there’s a career lesson in it and you better believe I’m going to write about it.

I personally don’t watch the show, but plenty of Champlainers do. And rightly so – it’s won so many awards that the producers are dizzy with all that shiny metal adorning the walls.

Champlain College

Photo by The Muse

So here’s the deal: when Matthew Weiner, the show’s creator, first pitched the idea for the show, every single person said, “No.” No, no, no, and yet, he kept trying. Perseverance, friends, is lesson number one. If he hadn’t kept trying, he wouldn’t have more trophies than he currently knows what to do with. It’s not a bad problem to have.

Saying no led Weiner to The Sopranos, where he worked as a mentee for David Chase, the shows creator. Here friends, Weiner learned all sorts of things that were useful in getting his own show created. The moral of this story is that you should always be open to new opportunities, even if they take you down a different path than you expected. If your original path was where you belonged, you’ll find your way back and possibly be in a better position to make your plans a reality.

In 2005, AMC wanted to take a chance with Mad Men. AMC had never produced a show before, and barely had enough funding and couldn’t hire any big-name actors, yet, the show was a howling success. It helped AMC become a contender with other big networks and, of course, Mad Men found its home. The rub is, if Weiner had never taken the chance and worked with AMC despite the overwhelming possibility of failure, he may never have been picked up by anyone else. And then where would we be?

In a world without Mad Men, that’s where.

Sources: The Muse