Joan: I learned a long time ago to not get all my satisfaction from this job.
Peggy: That’s bullshit!
The standout scene on Sunday’s Mad Men season 4 finale was Peggy and Joan’s colleague camaraderie. In the episode (titled “Tomorrowland”), Joan received “a [new] title, no money of course,” while Peggy “just saved this company” by landing the first account since Lucky Strike’s unlucky Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce exit.
They’re both unsatisfied by the lack of recognition at work, something I completely relate to as a modern-day working woman, making a living that supports my creative work. Yesterday, in particular, I felt my life mirrored Joan and Peggy’s dissatisfaction.
After starting my day by adding 1000 or so words to my book – a daily task that anchors me and fills me up – I felt drained during a well-meaning staff meeting. I realized that I wasn’t the only wounded ego; we were a collective. Have you ever been in such a space, surrounded by talented people working for people working for people who work for a huge corporation run by people who are so far removed from the wounded egos in that room?
In observing the room, I noticed we were all looking for a bit of recognition, a nod to the stellar work we perform daily. And I’m not trying to sound like Jerry Maguire here, but I’ve come to realize that no matter how much I love this job, it may never, as Joan says, give me the inner satisfaction I crave. It’s only in being a leader, in creating works of my own, rather than climbing a ladder of some dead man’s creation, where I’ll find lasting fulfillment.
I urge anyone who’s ever found themselves sitting hopelessly in such a room to grab a moment and plot your means to inner satisfaction. After using my moment, I’ve chosen to continue to sit in a room of my own, filling blank pages with stories.