I remember it just like it was yesterday. I think I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. I may have only just come around from the shock of it, but I can still say I’m glad I was there, I’m glad I saw it.
Did you see it too? Have you been watching The Apprentice recently? The moment was so seismic I swear I saw my TV levitating while every spoon in my flat was bending or some other such supernatural analogy. It was that never before seen footage of a candidate on the show displaying the lesser-known behaviour of humility in the boardroom.
Lindsay – my new hero and mentor – after titting up a pointless and wanky sales task found herself in the boardroom on the losing side of the blame game. We’ve seen this before, and we know what to expect. We were waiting for her to fling herself around the room, wildly passing blame onto anyone and everyone, egomaniacally washing herself of any responsibility and making desperate claims about how brilliant she is and how many businesses she’s successfully made a few quid from, which usually boils down to a few bits sold on eBay and/or a small enterprise set up as part of AS-Level Business coursework.
But she didn’t. Cheeks ever so slightly aflame and eyes showing just a tiny hint of moisture, she did something unthinkable and just took the blame. Not only did she take the blame for failing in that particular task, but she went on to explain how she just wasn’t the right fit for the process. Of course you’re not the right fit, Lindsay! You’ve got a fucking heart you poor dear!
Sitting to her right, someone who is absolutely the right fit for the process – in other words, a total twat – went from getting ready to push her under the train to extending an arm of sympathy. A brave move for a lad they call Del Boy. You’d think he would be too afraid of catching humanity to actually touch someone who had the foolishness to admit to what he’d perceive as ‘weakness’.
Across the table, poor old Lord Sugar, with the look of a dried apricot that’s been rolling around in the fluff under the sofa for a good while, was just baffled.
For the merest moment, as I sat on my sofa with every muscle in my body tightening, I thought to myself “fucking hell, she might actually win this”. How could she not? Having shown honesty, integrity and self-awareness, she was a stand out. So she’s no salesperson, but is that really what it takes to be an entrepreneurial success?
Well yes, it probably is, and it sure as hell matters when you’re trying to go into business with Lord Al. With the confused look of a tortoise that’s just had a load of fag ash dumped on its head he did what he had to do. More gently than he perhaps would have done otherwise, he put our Linds out of her misery fairly quickly.
Up and away she went with well-deserved dignity, leaving behind a boardroom full of sharks who were too busy thinking about who to scapegoat next to dwell too much on the brief display of human decency they had witnessed.
It comes from the French word apprendre; to learn. An apprentice is one who learns or is learning. It’s why people get away with paying them pennies in the real world, because they supposedly have no skills that are valuable enough to warrant payment. What they get is the knowledge of one more experienced than them so that they can go out into the world and make a living.
Not so the cast of The Apprentice. They know it all already, though they’ll occasionally pepper their self-promoting windbagging with a few words of flattery about Lord Alan. Essentially they want to be as loaded as him and they want to know how the fuck he did it; that’s basically the learning they’re interested in.
One thing no one needs to tell them is there are very few ways in this world to become that rich without having a fairly loose attitude towards the feelings of others. I’m not saying everyone who is rich got there by being mean, but there are elements of it. Whether it’s by smashing the little guys, or taking a pay cheque for something that doesn’t fit with your morals just because there are several zeroes before the decimal point, you can get rich, but it’s unlikely to be the result of being nice.
Go forth and conquer it all, Lindsay. You don’t need to learn anything from Lord Alan or Del Boy or even Karen and Nick. You’re a hands down decent person which may mean you’ll never be stinking rich, but your position as The Nicest One on The Apprentice will doubtless be safe for many, many more series to come.