Practice Development Counsel

Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549

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Age Diversity Circa 1962: The Work World Boomers Were about to Enter

Nostalgia on TV for the workplace Baby Boomers would be entering in a few years? See the Traditionalists in action!

The hit and multi-award-winning TV show “Mad Men” (for Madison Avenue) had its first episode of its second season on July 27th. A key plot line was that a major client was insisting that the advertising agency hire young people (at the time “people” meant pretty much “men”) for an infusion of new ideas.

The mid-level executives (early to mid 30s more or less), were against that, fearing for their jobs. And they and the 36 year old creative director resisted, thinking that 25 year olds had little to bring to the table. But the client ruled. So a duo, 24 and 25 years old (men), was hired. The one woman junior executive, age 22, was not taken seriously anyway and was ignored as her colleagues bitched as well as when she offered them creative ideas, except by the creative director who promoted her from her position as his secretary.

What did this plot line show us, in addition to the meticulously replicated clothing, grooming, decor and endless smoking and drinking? (We still have sex, but probably less at lunchtime; who has the time?)

* A big client has clout, and management agreed to what the client demanded.

* There was a culture of resentment and resistance to anyone not a clone or fitting the conservative mold - even in what is supposed to be a creative field.

* The changes of the 1960s were coming.
We've seen big culture, lifestyle, advertising and political changes, and yet, relatively slow changes in 45+ years on the diversity and flexibility front.

Having the different generations watch the show together and then launching a discussion of their perceptions might be a good way to promote understanding across generations about work culture and expectations.

Whether a fan of the show or not, I welcome your comments. Please share your thoughts and stories.



© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2008. All rights reserved.

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For coaching, training and special programs on inter-generational relations and maximizing the potential of young professionals, call Phyllis for an exploratory talk or complimentary coaching session at 212-593-1549. See and We also provide *Next Generation, Next Destination* transitioning planning programs and services for baby boomer senior professionals and their firms.

Phyllis is available to speak at your organization or at firm retreats on inter-generational relations and organizational effectiveness topics. Call or e-mail for a list of topics or to custom-tailor your own.