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HR Satire We Love: “Mad Men” Observed

Posted on: April 24th, 2013 | Category: Employee Relations, HR Training Programs, Human Resources, Our Blog, Talent Management, Terminations

HR departments and "Mad Men"

photo: AMC

Thank you,!

A new post called “Memo From Mad Men’s Human Resources Department” by the New York Observer, had us in stitches. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek piece that examines how everyday office life in the TV drama “Mad Men” (set in the 1960s) would be viewed by HR departments today. Of particular hilarity to us were:

Some people who will go unnamed had reported that they were uncomfortable witnessing bouts of anger, rage and world weary looks that betrayed the hint of crippling sadness crushing you like a stone thanks to a life gone dangerously awry. They were immediately dismissed.

Others have requested we merely install blinds in the conference rooms. We are looking into it, but are currently unable to accommodate said request.

If your meeting is of a more clandestine nature please reserve the mysterious room at the end of the hall labeled “Private.” Note: This is the room that was previously labeled “Super Top Secret Accounts” and prior to that, somehow, “Expressly Forbidden Heinz Ketchup Pitches.”

And then there were these gems about terminations:

In the event you are fired and have gathered your belongings in a box PLEASE make sure that said box has a sad little plant sticking out of the top of it when you make your walk to the elevators. This is just how things are done. If you do not have an exit walkout plant we would be happy to provide you with one.


Due to some recent events we are now requesting that the firing of secretaries goes through the human resources department. You will be required to fill out four forms in triplicate which must then be initialed by at least two partners, copied again, and submitted for approval. Note: this replaces the previous system: angrily barking at someone on a staircase. Thank you in advance!


“The world of HR has come a long way since the ‘sad little plant, forms-in-triplicate’ days of the 60s,” says Bonnie Levitt, MSW, PHR, hireVision’s Director of Hiring Management Services/HR Manager. “These days, HR is involved in critical strategic priorities, risk management, and legal compliance work—and the legal, regulatory, and general business changes are happening so fast it can be tough to keep up!” Human resources functions also involve better and smarter employee relations practices too, she adds.

Difficult conversations with employees, involuntary terminations, keeping your company compliant and running smoothly…these are all modern-day reality for managers and executives. Thanks to lawsuits and government regulations, the stakes are higher than ever. Thanks to the need for companies to run as lean and efficiently as possible in order to be successful, employee productivity, motivation and satisfaction matter more than ever, too.

Do you know your HR essentials?

If you are not exactly confident with your understanding of HR issues, help is on the way this April 25th in the form of our next MODERN EMPLOYER TRAINING WORKSHOP, “HR Essentials for Management 1.0″.

  • Learn ADA, FMLA, FLSA…critical laws every manager should really know!
  • Get the hires you need by mastering effective and essential interviewing techniques!
  • Protect your company! Improve your documentation processes and skills!
  • Handle difficult situations better! We’ve included counseling and termination scenarios!
  • You’ll get A 3-hour small classroom interactive learning session to maximize your individual experience
  • Tools to take with you: a DOs and DON’Ts of interviewing guide, a manager documentation form to guide you through performance conversations and a checklist for employment terminations

Read more about the workshop below:

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Please fill out the form below or call 610.443.0119 to learn more about what our modern HR services can do for you. We’ll get back to you within one business day—most likely less!
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myHR Partner’s periodic publication, MODERN EMPLOYER, is created for business executives, owners and HR professionals who want to maximize their human resource functions using progressive hiring and HR strategies. It’s informative, fun and practical. Oh, and it’s FREE too!

You’ll discover:

  • Tips on hiring, screening, and interviewing
  • Creative ideas to help retain your best employees
  • Ways to put the “human” back in Human Resources
  • How to perform effective reference checks
  • New HR regulations and how they affect you and your employees
  • How small changes in certain processes can have big results
  • How to tell when partnering with an outside provider is in your best interest
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