I have just freaked myself out a little bit with the violence of my reaction to last night’s episode of The Apprentice. I’d never watched it before, but we had houseguests that wanted to watch the show, so we did.
What I saw actually shocked me. ..and then made me sad. …and then angry. Here’s why:
The principle of The Apprentice is a good one – it’s reality TV where a millionaire entrepreneur (Alan Sugar) puts a group of young hopefuls through a set of business tasks and boots out the one that performs worst each week.
So far, so Big-Brother-in-a-boardroom.
Anyway, what actually happens is that the contestants are set at each other’s throats like some Lord of the Flies style nightmare.
In last night’s episode, the leader of the losing team was asked to bring in two candidates to be sacked, and the three of them take it in turns to slag each other off to Sir Alan in a bitch-fest that I’ve not seen since the like of since my days in the school playground. From my limited research, it seems that this is the routine EVERY WEEK.
I thought the Dragons Den crew were mean, but this takes the biscuit!
Surely the person who ends up on top after being encouraged to mercilessly destroy their supposed “team mates” is not anyone that you would ever want to work for or with? I know I wouldn’t. It can’t exactly leave them sane of mind either…
I know that reality TV is not ‘real’; that contestants are chosen for their weirdness/explosive natures/beauty/and (only occasionally) talent; and that the prevailing wisdom is that it’s this tension that makes good telly, but I just can’t sanction it because not everybody knows this.
These days we are starting to teach entrepreneurship and business skills in our schools. There are kids growing up watching The Apprentice thinking that this is what it is like to run your own business, and that this is how you have to behave if you want to make it to the top as a business person.
I think that this is plain wrong.
Of course, some people do get to the top by behaving in a Machiavellian manner, but it’s not the norm and it shouldn’t be seen as such. I know lots of business people who are nice. They are the folks who provide ethical internships to help train young people; who look to joint-ventures instead of takeovers; who help others to promote their stuff through social media; who are real networkers who ask “what can I do for you” when you meet them for a one-to-one; and, who support me as I like to support them.
I’d love to get your response to this very personal opinion of mine, either in the comments here, by hitting the Facebook ‘like’ button, or by posting it on Twitter.
If you are on Twitter and you share my sentiments, use the tag #NiceBiz and see what response you get from your followers too.
Okay – I’m off to cool down now. Normal service will resume shortly…
Member since: 27th July 2011
Marketing Mentor, speaker, trainer and published writer. Happy to be a business member of The Best Of as well as a personal member.