Mad Men in 2010

I'm a huge Mad Men fan - I've often thought of starting a blog about the HR side of Mad Men - for those of you who haven't seen the show, it's an HR nightmare, as sexisim, racism...about every -ism there is shows up regularly in their workplace. Despite this, it is often comforting to see that so much has changed, and many of the harassment and discrimination issues employees in the 50s/60s were subjected to are all but gone from the workplace.

Until this week. I just have to vent about this, and see if anyone has experienced something similar.

I had an employee (Gen X) throw a fit in a disciplinary meeting because "men shouldn't be supervised by women," it is "improper," and "a hit to my manhood" to have a female manager.

Ugh. I am just shocked and amazed. Anyone else had a similar experience? I never thought I'd deal with this in today's workforce.


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I've haven't seen or heard this sort of thing directly in my workplace, but then I think some of that could be because as a female in upper management I probably wouldn't be seen as being very sympathetic to that point of view.

    I have seen similar attitudes that I find to be throwbacks to a bygone era in my own son. He's Gen X and has such antiquated ideas sometimes about male & female roles in his own household and society in general, I have to wonder how a kid that I raised could possibly feel that way. I don't think he would ever openly say something like that about having a female boss, however. At least I hope his good upbringing would prevent him from saying it out loud, even if that's the way he feels!
  • I think some of these attitudes are almost hardwired into us and will never totally dissappear. We tend to be distrustful of people who are different from us whether the difference is gender or race or economic level.

    Our organization was founded by a married couple. The husband died tragically a few years later and his wife singlehandedly ran the organization (this is back in the 50s) for almost a quarter century. So our roots of women in leadership run very deep.

    Still, I have run into this on occasion. Usually, when someone tells me they "don't like working for a woman" it comes across to me as a pretense for deeper issues.
  • Our company is owned by a woman and the top two spots after her are women. I can only recall one male who seemed to have trouble with that and thought that he could play us and get what he wanted. He is no longer with the company.
  • My friends are absolutely shocked that I have never seen Mad Men. Well, I hadn't watched 30 Rock until last season, so there's still hope, I guess.
  • Today we had a follow-up disciplinary meeting with him, and to our shock, he admitted saying those things, and took his discipline - one more outburst like that and he's outta here.

    Frank, you absolutely need to see Mad Men - it's a great show!
  • Sarah, here is a link to article in today's NYTimes making the same point you did about Mad Men -- that in its 4th season (which ends Sunday), it really has succeeded best as an office drama. tk

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