Don Draper, the protagonist of AMC’s Mad Men, perfectly embodies the successful businessman. He has money, power, and women; he drives a fancy car; and he always seems to get his way. Although it’s easy for Mad Men’s fans to focus on Draper’s alcoholism, womanizing or his checkered past, in order to truly comprehend Draper as a character, it is vital to examine his drive.
Don Draper is not afraid of hard work. In fact, he is rarely seen outside of Sterling/Cooper (or Sterling/Cooper/Draper/Price as it becomes known). It is implied that Draper regularly pulls 10-12-hour days—sometimes longer. Being that he lived through the Great Depression, it makes sense that he would be willing to do whatever it takes to climb the ladder and achieve his goals.
Those men who were part of the Greatest Generation, who endured the Depression in their childhood and the War as adults, understood the value of hard work.
The so-called “Millenials” have largely adopted an entitled attitude. Many of the Gen-Yers that I meet see work as a necessary evil: a clock to be punched in order to facilitate the party. I think that our reduced attention spans have given way to an over- compartmentalization of personal and professional time—we work so that we can play.
Perhaps living through the Great Depression taught The Greatest Generation the value of sacrifice. Perhaps World War II taught them to delay gratification. I think it is important to realize that if one wishes to be successful, chances are it’ll involve a lot of hard work. It might be necessary to fully dedicate yourself to your career. If you wish to distinguish yourself from the other members of your generation and rise above them, it might take more than eight-hour days.
It may require days, nights and weekends but if you persevere, you just might be able to achieve success (and then work even harder to maintain it).