Peggy Olson and the Art of Negotiation

As a die hard Mad Men fan, I find myself riding the seesaw of whether or not I actually like Peggy. Yes, she represents women coming into the workplace and breaking glass ceilings for people like myself. But at the same time, she sometimes just rubs me wrong. I guess you could say that makes her human and commend Elizabeth Moss on an excellent acting job.

I found it nearly impossible not to love her when she was negotiating with Roger Sterling a few episodes ago. She drove a hard bargain and wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted. An article in the Harvard Business Review addresses the issue with women and inequality in the workplace. The problem isn’t that men think we are worth less. The problem is that nice girls don’t ask. Peggy isn’t afraid to grab the bull by its horns and realize her position of power. The exchange goes as follows.

Peggy: Hold on a second. You want me to work up an entire corporate image campaign for 10 bucks?
Roger: I can make you do it for nothing. I’m the boss.
Peggy: You’re right. The work is $10. The lie is extra.
Roger: Incredible. What do you make a week, sweetheart?
Peggy: Oh, you don’t know. That’s helpful…
Roger: You know, I could fire you.
Peggy: Great. There are some portfolios in Joan’s office. You could find someone tonight.
Roger: Why are you doing this to me?
Peggy: Because you’re being very demanding for someone who has no other choice. Dazzle me.
Roger: Fine. How much do you want?
Peggy: How much you got?
Roger: [flips through wallet] Four hundred dollars.
Peggy: Give me all of it.
Roger: Jesus. [hands it to her] This better be good.
Peggy: You want me to take your watch?
Mad Men Season 5, Episode 5

So despite what your opinions may be regarding Peggy’s character, I hope you are never afraid to ask for what you want. Because nice girls can ask for what they want, and sometimes they might even get it. And I hope you end up like Peggy. Counting your money.

With love,
Sweetest Caroline


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