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All this talk recently about the economy and how we’re all doomed has of course distracted us from the main thrust of business discussion at the moment – who’s going to …

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21st May 2008 at 12:00 pm

All this talk recently about the economy and how we’re all doomed has of course distracted us from the main thrust of business discussion at the moment – who’s going to do well on The Apprentice?

Yes I know, I’m supposed to be writing either about business and finance or franchising. But The Apprentice is now relevant for franchises it seems – Franchise Magazine says so here. It’s building the profile of business and as a result franchising is up 8 per cent on last year.

I have no idea who’s going to win this year, although I hope it’s not the interesting chappie who asked a Muslim butcher for a Kosher chicken and made the sign of the cross to illustrate what he was after. What concerns me a little, though, is the image the programme and others like it are showing to young people. Former Dragon’s Den start Rachel Elnaugh often ruminates on this on her blog. It’s all seen as very masculine, aggressive and not suitable for pleasant people at all.

This will be why, a couple of weeks ago, candidate Jenny Celerier was not only fired for trying to get other candidates blamed for everything – she allowed the Kosher clanger to go ahead and claimed that at the age of 30-odd she didn’t know Kosher was a Jewish concept and funnily enough nobody believed her – but also taken to task on the follow-up programme for undue aggression and unpleasantness.

As a jobbing freelance I’ve been writing about business and indeed running my own sole trader business for 15 years. You don’t, you honestly don’t, have to be unpleasant about it – in fact it helps a great deal if you’re not. The people you help and respect on the way up will almost all fall over themselves to help you when things get tough later on.

And yet on TV we get some very self-centered, aggressive individuals as job candidates in a fake office whose master’s idea of HR is to tear someone to shreds and say ‘You’re fired’. Of course it’s all for the cameras and as long as you apply judicious pinches of salt while you’re watching it’s great telly, but beware – these are tomorrow’s role models.

Guy Clapperton

Guy Clapperton is a freelance journalist who specialises in small business issues and has written for the likes of The Guardian, the FT and the Daily Mirror. Guy has written about finance and franchising for SmallBizPod. http://www.guyclapperton.co.uk

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  1. John says:

    “beware – these are tomorrow’s role models”

    That’s a very scary thought.

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