'The Office' to 'Mad Men': TV Guide to Career Advice - Lesson 8 of 8

Last Updated Sep 20, 2010 1:00 PM EDT

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Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski (NBC)

  • Lesson: Think outside the box

Zach Weiner, CEO of the Chicago-based ad agency LuxuryReach, channels Chuck by capitalizing on his own unusual background. “Chuck, who was once a simple computer techie at a chain store, is thrown into a world where he’s living the life of a secret agent,” explains Weiner, whose agency does campaigns for clients such as Ritz-Carlton and Scottrade. “Chuck comes up with solutions that aren’t what you would expect a spy to come up with, but make sense for a bright computer guy.”

Weiner says that, like Chuck, he owes his success to his unusual background. “I was able to parlay an education in psychology into working in investor relations and then in advertising, and it’s given me the ability to adapt to new markets and situations. I have a different skill set and perspective from other people in the business world,” says Weiner. The ad man has also started to hire other people with nontraditional backgrounds. “I think there is a huge lesson there about not only thinking out of the box, but bringing in a fresh pair of eyes from the outside into your business,” says Weiner, who has brought in forensic scientists and sociologists to work on projects at the agency.

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