Bye Bye Business, Hello Apprentice

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Well, it’s here again. A group of young individuals portrayed as the best and brightest in the country are brought together to complete a series of assignments in the hope of securing a job. The whole process will come to an end many weeks from now with the remaining candidates thrust in front of a three grim faced ‘dragons’ to account for what they have learned and what they can bring to the to the table before final judgement is cast.

We haven’t got to know them yet, but can be confident that, as in the past six series of The Apprentice , the same core characters will emerge. The slackers, the blaggers, the chancers and the jokers. There will be the loud mouthed, cocky know-it-all who is ultimately discovered to be all mouth and trousers (think: Stuart “the brand” Baggs and Ben Clarke), the affable slacker whom seemingly sails through on the basis that ‘they’re a good laugh’ (eg. Philip “Pantsman” Taylor, Alex Wotherspoon). There will be the strong determined woman who ultimately suffers from tall poppy syndrome (Think Ruth ‘the’ Badger, Paloma Vivanco), And then there will be the ‘nice but dim’ chaps and the eccentric ladies, the good people and the timid folk that provide nothing more than wallpaper to the main drama (What were their names?).

Doubtless the same narratives will emerge. They always do. The incompetent who seemingly gets away with it each week. The early bloomer who just seems to fade out and lose interest towards the end. And of course, there must be a villain. There’s always a villain. We will watch aghast as ‘schoolboy errors’ are made that we know will escalate into almost certain failure of the task and wonder how could the perpetrators be so daft and why were their team mates so oblivious? Why did they ignore the advice of the professionals at the start? Why did they think they knew better? Why did they price themselves so highly? Why did they sell so low? Why did they spend to much talking and not doing? Why? Why? Why?

We’ve see it year in, year out. I may have been tempted to not bother with the new series. But… this year I will be watching with fresh eyes and renewed empathy. Having just come through the gruelling process of setting up and running a “pop-up” business I’ll be more sympathetic. Fortunately my team-mates were nothing like the cringeworthy self-publicists that appear on The Apprentice. However, the pressure of working with a random group of people on a project of which nobody has any prior experience with the expectation to deliver a professional result for little reward will be painfully familiar. I will recognise how easily mistakes can be made when you are under the relentless pressure of continuous deadlines and the need to deliver within an incredibly tight timeframe. As I watch this year I will be reflecting on what I have learned over the past few months.

This year it will be different.

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