Getting Inside Don Draper’s Head

We recently had a conversation in the office about the show Mad Men, particularly about Don Draper. We noted that while Don certainly seems to have his professional life together (most of the time), his personal life is a completely different story. He is authoritative and sure of himself at work, but as soon as he steps through the front door of his home, he’s thinking of leaving again. He seems to have it all- the beautiful wife, the well-behaved children, the big house, a liquor cabinet in every room. But man, he just can’t get it together.

Then we talked about how it’s interesting that people can focus so intensely on something and become good at it. Then sometimes their brains sort of give up on thinking so hard, and the easiest tasks become difficult when they’re away from the office.¬†

For example, remembering tiny details about a project at work. It’s not difficult, and it seems easier to remember these things in the middle of the day, even when we’re working on an unrelated project. Suddenly one of us will pop up and say “oh, we need to do this,” and we’ll keep things on track. But at home, it’s not unusual for one of us to get sidetracked while loading the dishwasher, start another task and come back to the kitchen two hours later to find it still standing open with dishes in the sink.¬†

We thought maybe it’s the same way with Don. Maybe he focuses so hard on work, that he becomes dysfunctional in his other relationships.

The advertising business is an extremely competitive one; its lifestyle takes getting used to. Is this a recurring characteristic in ad people? Do most of us have some sort of dysfunction when it comes to work and home life? Or is it every industry?¬†Sometimes we really wish we knew exactly what Don was thinking…


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