At Sterling Cooper Draper Price, the proverbial Chinese Wall has fallen as Season Four draws to a close with this Sunday’s finale. Lucky Strike is up in smoke and burning a hole in SCDP’s pocket as other clients follow suit. The gloves are off—even the Playtex gloves that “protect a woman’s touch” are off. With the bankroll dwindling, no one remains untouched—fired or not everyone feels the burn, it is only a question of degree. For anyone who has ever been laid-off—and even understood why under the circumstances he/she was “chosen”—it is still a shock. The first time I was laid-off, I was five months into my first advertising job at a pretty swank place reportedly having trouble paying for its pencils—yes, we actually used pencils. One morning I walked in, only to see my boss’s furniture in somebody else’s office. (Never a good sign.) Shortly, thereafter “Charlie the Ax” called me in to his office and said, “Hey, Kid, wanna go to Paris? Here’s a check.” With all of two weeks’ pay in the envelope, I decided to stay in town. The next day, my cube was gutted, belongings dumped on the floor and my desk was moved to a senior partner’s corner office. Enchanté.
Charlie had the right idea, I should have gone to Paris. Instead I got a new job—one that stuck at least until I was ready to move on. Times are tough and losing a job is no fun, but it can teach you things. Early on, I started to get comfortable with job insecurity. The acceptance of this impermanence helped me when the tides would inevitably turn again…and again. Hey, who wants 30 years at the same old job and a gold watch anyway!! In the ad biz, 30 seconds is practically an eternity, right Charlie?!!
Stay tuned for the finalé. At least we know, the end of Season Four is just the start of Season Five…