In Jane's book, which is subtitled, 'The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond ' she discusses her life as one of the few senior women in advertising at the time.
'Mad Women' confirms what the breakthrough AMC series, 'Mad Men', suggests: hard drinking, raucous workplace sex and treating women as second-class citizens in the workplace were not only de rigueur but far worse than the series would suggest.
That said, Jane believes women have made little, if any, progress since the 1960s. She says every career woman she interviewed from the 1960s and today used the same words and phrases to describe their feelings: “…they can't be a superperformer at work and a supermom and a superwife and a super everything.' She says, despite all of the apparent progress made by women since the feminist movement of the 1960s, “…there is still a war between women who don't stay home and women who do stay home. The guilt is intense on both sides of the conflict.”
Part of the problem, says Maas, is that “women are lousy mentors.” We say we are giving the newbies a helping hand, but our hearts are not in it. The most successful women in our business, the ones who rival men, don't have time to mentor. And besides, there's a little undercurrent of feeling that says: “I've made it on my own; why should you expect to be carried?'' As a result, working moms have no one to turn to for advice.
Wow. Now, that's what I call a controversial statement. I can't speak for the advertising business, but I sure haven't witnessed this phenomenon in public relations (an industry completely dominated by women, BTW). That said, the last time I checked, I was still a man. So, I don't know if women are, in fact, lousy mentors.
I can say that the mentors in my life were men. And, that's because there were few women in positions of power when I was moving up through the ranks.
I can't imagine women not wanting to mentor other women. But, I'd sure like to hear from the distaff side of the equation.
Is Jane right? Or, does her thinking reflect a world that no longer exists. I can tell you this: having worked for Jane, I know that she never pulled her punches or steered us wrong. So, I have no reason to doubt her words. That said, do me a favor: don't shoot the messenger.