Roger Edwards: Disconnect Between Youth & Protection

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I can’t help it, though. I still tune in every week with anticipation – maybe this time it will be different! This weekly act of hope springs eternal at this stage.

I watch The Apprentice with a mixture of feelings. I chuckle at the absurdity. I’m amazed at the lack of basic business knowledge. But mostly I’m angered. Because the show promises an insight and education that it never delivers.

The show doesn’t teach us about how to spot an up and coming star from an under-performing individual. It doesn’t teach us how to attract, manage, motivate and nurture a well-built team of the future. It doesn’t even teach us about good business decisions.

What it does show us is the glamorised, warped version of business. A version where snazzy suits, loud voices and big words take precedence over smart thinking and savvy strategies. Where grand statements trump real direction – and sheer tenacity and optimise more than genuine drive.

The Apprentice puts on air a business world that doesn’t exist. It perpetuates the notion that success comes with a polka dot cravat and a drawling accent. That real leadership is attained by the loudest, rather than those who lead by example and stillness.

Perhaps worst of all, the show peddles the line that the “right” answer is expressed in an industry buzzword. Buzzwords, of course, exist. But they are useless without a genuine understanding of their true meanings. The Apprentice holds them up as the only way to succeed.

It wasn’t always like this. When The Apprentice first aired, I watched it with enthusiasm. But back then, there was a real sense of being educated about the commercial world. There were honest blueprints of business success, rather than grand-standing and empty rhetoric.

In the intervening years, the original mission of the show has been lost. All the viewer can take away now is the twisted version of business portrayed on the show. A lacklustre model which won’t lead to real success in the world outside the TV screen.

In spite of this, I still continue to watch. Each week I cling to the hope that maybe this time the show won’t be an adverse representation of our industry. In my experience, it has yet to happen, but I just can’t turn away from the draw of The Apprentice.

Every series, I’m fully aware of what I’m getting myself into. No matter how good the feeling that a new series will show something better, I know that it won’t be likely. But still I tune in, week after week, in the hope that things will finally have changed.

We all know that most of what The Apprentice shows is a far cry from the real business world. The only thing I can console myself with is that it’s purely entertainment. After all, what better way to while away an evening than to get lost in the twisted world of Apprentice?

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