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Living in the Not Knowing

In preparation for the final few episodes of Mad Men starting up on April 5th, I’ve been watching the first part of season 7 again as a refresher to where the season left off, and I was reminded of yet another scene that really hit home for me. In episode 06, Peggy is frustrated because she knows the ad she has come up with for Burger Chef is sub par, yet it’s probably enough to eek out the deal. So what to do? Start over? Go with what you have? What should the strategy be? Unfortunately even Don Draper doesn't always have the answer.

Don: “This idea is good, I think we can get the client to buy it.”
Peggy: “No you don’t, or you wouldn’t have questioned it.”
Don: “I’m going to do whatever you say.”
Peggy: “So you’re going to pitch the hell out of my shitty idea and I’m going to fail.”
Don: “Peggy, I’m here to help you do whatever you want to do.”
Peggy: “Well, how am I supposed to know?”
Don: “That’s a tough one.”
Peggy: “You love this.”
Don: “Not really. I want you to feel good about what you’re doing, but you’ll never know. That’s just the job.”
Peggy: “What’s the job?”
Don: “Living…in the not knowing.”
I have been in Peggy’s shoes and I have been in Don’s shoes. I think I’m supposed to know, but I don’t. Are we working on the right things? I don’t know. Are we going to make payroll this month? I don’t know. Is this the right feature to build? I don’t know. Are we hiring the right person? I don’t know. Should we focus on this customer or that customer? I don’t know. What should we charge? I don’t know. Are we getting fucked over? I don’t know. What is this company going to be in 5 years? I don’t know. Am I just incompetent? I don’t know. What’s for dinner tonight? I don’t know.


Living…in the not knowing…is hard.  


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