With regret, you’re an idiot

Does this story really surprise anyone at all? Woman wins TV talent show only to find that the job at the end of it is about as genuine as the persona she herself has inflicted on the general public on her way to the top?

It was a TV show, for heaven’s sake. And those who win it do have a talent, but that talent isn’t for business any more than Harrison Ford’s true talent is for shooting down imperial stormtroopers. It’s acting. That’s all. I’m not saying they don’t have some business savvy (the Apprentice contestants, not Harrison Ford). They probably do. But what they have in spades is an ability to win a TV talent show based on perceived business savvy, and I can’t think of a field of work in the real world where having that particular talent is going to keep on paying, year-in, year-out. Unless they start some spin-off Apprentice Legends series where past winners compete against each other for stale conference-room sandwiches until the end of time, which doesn’t really bear thinking about.

What use does a real business have for someone who may well have demonstrated elements of leadership and teamwork and entrepreneurialism, but has definitely demonstrated a tendency to stab their colleagues in the back at every opportunity? The best that can be said of these people is that they have that certain something that CEOs are said to possess, imagination coupled with ruthlessness and an ability to take a jumble of competing visions, cut out all the noise and pick the one that’s going to work. But no one’s going to give these people a CEO role on the strength of a few weeks pouting at a peer and swanning around in limousines, and no one’s going to tolerate their less positive qualities for long enough to get them up the ladder.

When it comes down to it, shows like The Apprentice are little more than well-presented fiction. That’s part of the joy of watching them. Everyone knows how slickly they’re edited. How many takes are needed to capture the contestants striding along, expressions of grim determination artfully reflected in the windows of a dozen gleaming limousines. If someone tried to make a TV show based on real people jockeying for position in a real office, they’d end up with three hours of material no one wanted to broadcast and no one wanted to watch. It’s entertainment. That’s all. We all know that, I thought everyone knew that, but now it turns out someone didn’t. Someone who actually won the thing. Is she for real? Or is she just a method actor who’s taking the whole thing a bit too far?

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If you liked this, please comment and share, and don’t forget to take a look at some extracts from my soon-to-be-published novel Without Due Care here.

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