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Sleeping Your Way To The Top
By: Edwina Owens Elliott
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So... how many of you are waiting with bated breath, as I am, for the premiere of MAD MEN? Everyone is talking about Don and Meagan in Hawaii, if Sally will discover drugs this season, and can Pete ever be anything more than the scumbag he's always been? But I can't wait to see former office manager Joan in her new role as agency partner. In episode 11 of last season, she had to make a life-altering decision. Having just kicked her big baby of a husband to the curb, she suddenly found herself a single parent with an infant and a mother who didn't look at all interested in supporting herself. Confronted with an unsavory request to sleep with a client rep in order to snag a major account for the agency, Joan moves beyond the insult in time to cut a big slice of the pie for herself. Along with the fifty thousand dollars offered to her, she demands 5% of the agency as well. She wants to be a partner.
Pete was the snake to approach her with the proposition. That did not come as a surprise. Who else would be so willing to stoop that low? And the other partners agreeing to it? That wasn't much of a surprise, either. The agency was in trouble and they sorely needed the account to keep the doors open. What else would matter to them? But I was deeply disappointed that Joan, obviously repulsed by the rep, actually went through with it. Sure, it secured her future with the agency and under such circumstances some would view it as a very smart move. But it was also the kind of thing that can beat you down each and every morning. There's just no way to apply mascara without facing yourself in the mirror.
For days the dilemma and Joan's final decision stayed on my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about the thousands upon thousands of women throughout the years faced with the same foul predicament. Sexually compromised, prostituted, and pimped, all in the name of big business. I worry if Joan will have to go that route again. Boys do talk, you know. But maybe she'll become a powerful woman at Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce. That's what I'm hoping for. Instead of taking notes and ordering furniture for their new offices, perhaps she'll begin to garner accounts, hire talent, and make some partner decisions too. Would sleeping with a revolting client then be worth it? Well, that's a question that everyone must ask and answer for themselves.

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About the Author

Edwina Owens Elliott is a graphic designer, art director, illustrator and owner of FASHION+ART, an e-commerce art gallery. She has a lifelong passion for fashion, art, writing, music, movies, books, theater, cooking, gardening, plotting and planning and dreaming big dreams. Find her online here and here.

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