Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Only Boss To Sack Somebody Who Isn't An Employee

The Apprentice, the Reality TV show which was first broadcast on BBC 1 on Wednesday 16th February 2005, has began its sixth series.

For those of you who don't watch it, or are unfamiliar with it, there are 16 contestants, and the winner obtains an £100,000-a-year position as an apprentice to the British millionaire businessman, Lord Sugar, who was, until 2009, known as "Sir Alan Sugar". I watched the first two series but don't anymore.

The contestants are divided into two teams, initially by gender (as candidate numbers are whittled down, the composition of the teams is periodically rearranged). The teams are then given a series of business-themed tasks designed to test their skills in salesmanship, negotiation, requisitioning, leadership, teamwork and organisation, with each episode covering a single task. At the start of each episode, both teams choose a project manager to act as the team leader for the duration of the task.

When the task is completed, the candidates have to report back to the boardroom, where the team members are usually asked to comment on the performance of their team leader, and the team leaders are asked how they felt that their team members performed. It is then revealed which team has won. Members of the winning team are told by Lord Sugar that he has laid on a special treat for them.

The losing team are sent outside and meet at the Bridge Café where they generally discuss their failures. When they return to the boardroom they are subjected to an interrogation led by Lord Sugar, who dismisses a candidate, who appears to have been the weakest performer, or it can be the Team Leader if, s/he has performed inadequately, with the catchphrase, "You're fired!".

The fired candidate is shown being despatched into a waiting taxi for the "journey home", and is briefly interviewed in the taxi to reflect on his or her rejection from the competition. The surviving candidates are sent back to the accommodation that is provided for the duration of the show.

One gripe I have with the show is that when Lord Sugar tells someone that they are fired, I find it a bit odd, as they aren't actually working for him. Why doesn't he say something like "I don't think you are up to it, goodbye?".... or "You aren't what I am looking for". It's like me going for a job interview and being told that I have been fired afterwards because my application was unsuccessful. They must be the first ever people to be fired from a job they don't have!.


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