Why Mom Bailed on That Mad Men Era Gig

Nashville writer Carrington Fox reminds that in those halcyon Madison Avenue days, it paid to be male.

For Nashville-based writer Carrington Fox, each viewing of Mad Men comes with a delicious bonus. The live and-or relayed observations of her mother Sandra, who worked back in the 1960s at the New York offices of J. Walter Thompson.

Fox, who writes restaurant and food reviews for The Nashville Scene, today in that same publication shares some tales from mom’s earliest career days. Sandra vouches for many of the AMC series details, but says she never saw the booze flowing at her real-life end the way the show portrays it. She also recalls another, anything-but-sexy period detail:

The dean of the journalism school at University of North Carolina explained to mom that advertising firms would not recruit female students on campus. So, after graduation, mom schlepped from Chapel Hill to Manhattan and finagled an interview – and ultimately a job – at the real-life rival to Mad Men’s fictional Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

While a same-year male college graduate at JWT went straight into copywriting, mom was told she would have to take a one-year preparatory course. And because of not being able to interview on campus, she had missed that year’s deadline for the course. Add in some pay inequity and, well, it wasn’t long before mom decided it would be best to take her talents elsewhere.

P.S. The author’s husband, David Fox, is running for mayor of Nashville this summer.