I’m starting my blogging career talking about The Apprentice? Really?
This series of The Apprentice seems to be following the same pattern as most of the recent series’. Maybe I’m looking at the early seasons through rose-tinted glasses, but it feels as though the majority of people are there purely for entertainment purposes, with around 2 or 3 who actually hold any hope of winning. There’s no way someone actually thought that Ruth from last week (a.k.a. The Strangest Woman In The World) had any chance of winning the money. Same this week with Brett (a.k.a. The Robot). Who knows about Joseph (a.k.a. The Guy With The Moustache)?
Someone who should have a chance of winning is Scott, who was the losing team leader last week. Calm under pressure, well-liked by his team and a great salesman. However, during the boardroom in the previous episode, he was told to toughen up, as he’s “too nice” and therefore unlikely to succeed in the competition with that mentality.
The notion of “nice guys finish last” has always bothered me. Is this really true? Do you have to be a complete a*shole to succeed in life? (If you do, maybe there are more potential winners this year than I thought). While it goes without saying that you need to be strong and competent, surely being a bit of a d*ck is a disadvantage in business? And surely Alan Sugar would know that more than anyone, having overcome that ailment himself?
This reminds me of a graduate recruitment session that I went to towards the end of my time at university. It was kind of like a mini version of The Apprentice, with tasks being laid on that you had to do as part of a team. There were people watching over you during these tasks and deciding if you are worthy of being taken on by this recruitment company. The session was led by who I’m pretty sure was former Coventry goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic’s son (how about THAT for a name check? Excuse me while I sit back and watch the page views come flooding in after that one). While it may sound like your standard task-based interview day, it was actually kind of designed to pit each person against each other. Much like an episode of The Apprentice, you can count on one hand the number of people you would want to spend more than about five minutes with.
At the end of the day, we had one-on-one interviews. At the start of mine, one of the interviewers (not Steve Ogrizovic’s son, I don’t know if I could have handled that) said that I was too nice a guy and he didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything. He STARTED the interview like that. Not only was it harsh, it was blatantly untrue. I’m really not that nice a guy.
But the notion that not succeeding and being nice go hand in hand is at best silly and at worst offensive. There are plenty of examples throughout history of people being nice and being successful, just as there are equally plenty of vile people who haven’t succeeded at anything (most of the participants on Jeremy Kyle, for instance).
Alan Sugar can call Scott too nice to succeed in the process, but that’s a compliment, not a disability. Most of people in The Apprentice are there because morons=entertainment, not because they are capable. To indicate the nice guy can’t succeed for that reason is wrong, and in fact the vast majority of the other candidates would be complete outcasts if they worked in any normal office (especially The Guy With The Moustache. At least, I hope he would. Have you SEEN that thing?)
But you know the worst thing about all of this? As much as I disagree with that overall sentiment, and as much as I hate most of the people on the show, I’ll keep watching every week. I’ll laugh when they mess up. I’ll nod along when the only two people in the whole competition with a half-decent business plan will miraculously end up in the final. I’ll get weirdly excited when Margaret and no doubt Nick return for the interviews. And against my best intentions, despite knowing it’s repetitive and not really all that good, I’ll probably really enjoy it.
The Apprentice Rating: One truly awful moustache that I can’t stop looking at.
The Apprentice airs on BBC One on Wednesday’s at 9pm. Previous episodes can be found on BBC iPlayer.