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Lessons from Mad Men: Building a Successful Career

The road to success is rarely a straight and easy one. It is often full of twists and turns, obstacles to overcome, and setbacks to face.

The entertainment industry is no exception to this rule. The story of Mad Men, one of the most iconic TV shows of all time, serves as a reminder that even when faced with rejection, personal growth, following your vision, and taking risks can lead to success.

Career advice from Matthew Weiner

Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, has a great deal of wisdom to share with aspiring writers and artists. One of the most important pieces of advice he gives is not to get defeated by rejection.

He states that sometimes, it takes several rejections before something takes off. However, making the most of the feedback and reflecting on what you can do differently can help you grow creatively and personally.

Another key piece of advice he gives is the importance of seeking opportunities for growth. This means putting yourself out there, honing your craft, and improving your skills.

Networking is also crucial in the entertainment industry, so taking every opportunity to meet someone new and showcase your talents can help you expand your career. Lastly, Weiner underscores the importance of embracing risks.

As is well known, Mad Men’s success was not guaranteed from the outset. However, Weiner had a strong sense of his vision for the show and was willing to take the necessary risks to bring it to life.

He encourages artists not to be afraid to follow their creative instincts and stick to their visions, even if it means taking chances. The story of Mad Men’s rejection and eventual success

Mad Men might have never seen the light of day had it not been for Matthew Weiner’s persistence and commitment.

After being rejected by multiple networks, he had the chance to join The Sopranos writing team, where he learned from some of the best writers in the business. He worked on every episode of the final four seasons of the show, learning the ins and outs of TV writing, character development, and story structure.

When he finally got the chance to pitch Mad Men again, he was prepared. However, he still faced difficulties as most networks weren’t interested in his story, which was set in the 1960s and featured flawed characters.

After countless rejections, AMC took a chance on the show and gave him the creative control to bring his vision to life. He also had the opportunity to hire lesser-known actors, which helped the show stand out from other programs of the time.

From the beginning, Mad Men was no small feat. Its singular aesthetic, complex characters, and sophisticated storytelling paved the way for a new wave of TV dramas.

Mad Men is a perfect example of how staying true to your vision, taking risks, and building on opportunities for growth can lead to artistic success.


Matthew Weiner’s journey, from his early days of rejection to his eventual success with Mad Men, is a testament to the power of persistence, personal growth, and risk-taking. By following his advice to not get defeated by rejection, seek out opportunities for growth, and embrace risks, aspiring writers can learn a great deal about achieving success in the entertainment industry.

Mad Men’s story, in turn, shows how creative vision and risk-taking can lead to iconic works of art that redefine entire genres. As a job seeker, the journey toward finding the right job can be challenging.

Not every interview will result in an offer, and not every application will lead to an interview. However, by following the advice of Matthew Weiner and taking key takeaways from the story of Mad Men, job seekers can develop a mindset that will help them navigate the twists and turns of their job search.

Learning from rejection and seeking opportunities for growth

Rejection is a part of life, and it’s especially true when it comes to job searching. Facing rejection can be discouraging and frustrating, but it’s essential to learn from it.

It’s important to remember that rejection is not a judgment of your self-worth but rather an opportunity to grow and improve. Seeking feedback after a rejection can help you pinpoint areas where you need to develop your skills.

While rejection may seem like an obstacle, it can be an opportunity to reflect and grow. Try to reframe rejection by focusing on what you can learn from the experience.

Seek out opportunities to continually improve yourself, whether it be through additional classes, workshops, or networking events. Building your skills will not only make you more attractive to employers but also help you feel more confident in your job search.

Embracing risks and following your vision

Taking risks can be scary, especially when it comes to pursuing your dream job. However, following your vision and pursuing passion projects can help you stand out in a crowded job market.

Finding a job that aligns with your passions and interests can give your work meaning and purpose, and it can motivate you to work harder and improve your skills. Taking risks is also essential when it comes to networking and building connections.

Embrace the opportunity to meet new people and explore your industry. Networking can open doors to new opportunities and collaborations, and it can offer valuable insights into what employers are looking for in their ideal candidates.

Be persistent and creative when it comes to building relationships, and remember that building relationships takes time and effort. Staying true to your vision means not compromising on your values or interests.

It can be tempting to take a job that doesn’t quite fit with your interests or values, but this can lead to dissatisfaction and burnout. Sticking to your vision means holding out for a job that aligns with your goals and passions.

This may take time, but it is well worth the effort.


Job searching can be a daunting process, but it’s important to remember that every journey starts with a single step. By embracing rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow, seeking out opportunities for growth, and taking risks to pursue your passions, you can stand out from the crowd and find a job that aligns with your vision.

By using the advice of Matthew Weiner and drawing inspiration from the story of Mad Men, job seekers can build the skills and mindset needed to land their dream job. In conclusion, the story of Mad Men and Matthew Weiner’s career advice offer valuable takeaways for job seekers.

By learning from rejection and seeking opportunities for growth, as well as embracing risks and staying true to your vision, job seekers can build the skills and mindset needed to land their dream job. It’s essential to remember that rejection and obstacles are a part of the journey, but they also offer opportunities for growth and learning.

Pursuing your vision and passions can help you stand out in a crowded job market, and never compromising on your values is crucial to long-term job satisfaction. By applying these lessons, job seekers can set themselves up for success and happiness in their careers.

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