Empathy and the Television: Why I’m Embracing A Less Clear Career Trajectory

“This is what happens when you have the artistic temperament but you are not an artist.”

Emile Calvet, Mad Men

Megan Calvet is a troubled character during Mad Men’s fifth season, as she is constantly unsatisfied with her work and unable to understand why. Her husband and protagonist of Mad Men, Don Draper, is constantly perplexed and confused as to what could be wrong with her. Confused and frustrated, Don goes to Megan’s father and asks something along the lines of “What could possibly be wrong with her?” only to be confronted with the quote above. This simple line of dialogue felt like a revelation for me, one which I haven’t been able to shake since hearing. The reason why I empathise with Megan so deeply is because I feel like her in many ways and recognise myself in so many of her actions.

Now as a preface, I was considering writing this post about how I would like to work in investigative journalism uncovering examples of animal abuse and discussing animal rights issues, but I feel like this would be dishonest.

As a person my happiness depends highly on what sort of content I’m interacting with. To give some context I’ve gone through obsessive periods with almost every form of media, but ultimately I’m unendingly passionate about episodic content (I hate the term television series as I haven’t consistently watched an actual TV show on TV in about 6 years) as well most types of music. Since finishing high school I’ve felt this burgeoning urge to create content in various mediums which began with drawing and music but has been expanding into other fields. At the moment I’m getting together a Let’s Play game series with some friends and planning a photography series inspired by Joanna Newsom’s discography. To bring this all back to the Mad Men analogy, my point is I am angsty when not making content of a creative nature and if I’m stuck in my comfort zone (Klosowski, 2015).

A value I identified during class was that I’m a highly empathetic person who isn’t just capable of feeling what others are feeling but rather does so reflexively. Both working in an artistic field and investigative journalism dealing with animal abuse/rights, in many ways, relies on this characteristic. Empathising with people in an attempt to understand and emphasising with animals and engaging with that drive to help a dire situation are both, to me, the flip side of a singular coin.

Ultimately, I would like to work in television production. It as a medium is one I very thoroughly understand, as since early high school I’ve been absorbed in it from reading reviews to participating in online conversations. Going forward I would like to potentially talk to some of the people I know in this industry, which include reviewers who have worked for publications and a contact I have at SBS. In an optimal situation I would also really like to talk to someone who works for the ABC as I would rather enjoy working there and believe it has the potential to make great television within Australia which is something that is only presently being capitalised upon (Guthrie, 2015).

There is a chance I will change my mind and decide that one of these two different career paths I have stipulated is more important and go that, but in being honest with myself I can safely say that what I want is to work in a field that inspires me and encourages invest everything I have.


Guthrie, S. 2015, ‘ABC takes on HBO, Netflix with epic drama Glitch’,TheNEWDaily, 8th July, viewed 26th August, http://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/2015/07/08/abcs-glitch-australias-attempt-blockbuster-tv/.

Klokowski, T 2015, ‘How You’re Sabotaging Your Creativity’,lifehacker, 11th April, viewed 26th August, http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2015/04/how-youre-sabotaging-your-creativity-every-day/.


One thought on “Empathy and the Television: Why I’m Embracing A Less Clear Career Trajectory

  1. Sam
    I’m interested to know a bit more about whether you think empathy could have some limitations in an investigative career; and also how you feel empathy and this kind of restlessness around creativity could connect in some way. At a glance, they’re quite different, but I sense that if you value both, they represent perhaps a third combined concept. Have a think. I so enjoyed reading this.

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