Tag Archives: business

A gay old time

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, they’re the modern stone age family. From the, town of Bedrock, they’re a page right out of history.

Let’s ride, with the family down the street, through the, courtesy of Fred’s two feet. When you’re, with the Flintstones, have a yabba dabba doo time, a dabba doo time.

We’ll have a gay old time.

Had that fucking tune in my head all day because, in a truly world-summed-up moment, I saw a man yelling it into a traffic cone this morning.

Continue reading A gay old time

Lonely tears of Sancerre

Business travel sucks. That is an incontrovertible fact.

If you aren’t travelling alone, you will be travelling with colleagues. Both of these are bad in different ways.

Travelling alone isn’t inherently bad. In fact, sometimes it’s a pleasure to not have to interact with another human being and pretend you don’t mind when they want to go to the same godawful bar three nights in a row, or visit a museum you have less than zero interest in. And flying alone is the ideal opportunity to lie under a blanket watching films your partner doesn’t want to see while being given free alcohol.

But travelling alone for business is just shit.

It starts when you need to go to the toilet at the airport and you have no-one to watch your bags, so if you don’t want them to be blown up by the bomb squad you have to take them into the cubicle with you. This is the point where you commence an obstacle course of angling your legs around a suitcase and trying to not let anything touch the piss-soaked floor while simultaneously re-arranging your clothing and not dropping your phone down the toilet.

Once you arrive, your evenings will be spent inwardly crying lonely tears of Sancerre while you eat overcooked pasta in the hotel restaurant and hope that all the wine won’t be itemised on your bill. Opting for room service and TV instead will mean you just spend 45 bastard minutes trying to find something to watch in a language you can understand – something that isn’t Storage Hunters – all the while knowing your partner will be watching the final episode of Happy Valley without you.

If you travel with colleagues, imagine someone you work with who you don’t actually like very much. Now imagine being confined to a seat next to them for 8-12 hours. Now imagine it’s an overnight flight and they want to talk shop for the whole journey, or they don’t drink. And remember, if you do manage to sleep, you’ll be sleeping just inches away from a colleague you don’t like very much. You are sleeping with your colleague.

You’re welcome!

Even worse, you will be staying in the same hotel, so you’ll effectively also be co-habiting with this person for the next week. Never underestimate the sheer teeth-clenching awfulness of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with someone you don’t like very much for Five. Whole. Days. And not even being married to them.

Fuck that shit.

When you tell people you’re going abroad for business, they will invariably say ‘Gosh, how glamorous!’ and say they’re jealous. I’m here to tell you that business travel is not glamorous.

No-one who has had cockroaches running over their feet and hand luggage at 4am in Indian baggage reclaim would agree. Neither would anyone who is sent abroad for an indefinite period of time and expected to pay for the whole fucking trip on their own credit card before claiming it back on expenses. Nor would someone who is forced to take an illicit taxi to get to the office driven by an old man in a full length leather coat who may or may not be a serial killer.

None of that is glamorous.

Expenses. Bafflingly, some companies believe sending their employees abroad with no money is a privilege for which we should be grateful. I’m pretty sure that was a punishment for something in medieval times.

I mean, who wouldn’t be grateful to bankroll a trip costing thousands of pounds in flights, hotels, taxis and meals for an international company with billionaire owners and millionaire shareholders? What’s that? Your card is maxed out, you’ve just moved house and you don’t have a spare £8,000 in the bank? Can’t pay for your hotel or flight up front, sorry, not company policy. Can you get an increase on your credit card limit and we’ll pay you back in two months? Thanks everso.

Aside from companies brainwashing employees into thinking anyone notices if they work 27 extra hours every week, expense trips are the biggest fucking con out there. Stop thinking about it as a free trip to another country. Start thinking about it as an insidious method of encroaching even more on your personal time while getting you to pay for it. Not so glamorous now, huh?

Somewhere along the line, it became normal to do the actual travelling bit of business travel in your own time rather than the company’s. What? The? Actual? Fuck? How the shitting hell did it come about that not only are you expected to pay to go and work in an unfamiliar office with shit coffee for a week, you have to fly there on your own time?

Oh, it’s that privilege again.

Sleep? Sleep is for wimps! If you were really and truly committed to your company, you’d work a full day, take an overnight flight and be in the office abroad bright and early.

I’d love to be able to say this is me getting all hyperbolic, but it isn’t. This is an actual thing that some colossal bed-wetting wanker dreamed up, dressed up in the worst kind of corporate tub-thumpery from a company which issues press releases telling everyone how much it cares for its employees.

The exits are here, here, here and here.

The Start-Up of You

Quick tip for book lenders: unless someone has asked you to borrow the book, they don’t want it. They’ll probably accept it, because they don’t want to insult you or your reading habits. But they’ll resent you for it, because when they get home, it will sit in the corner, looking at them for weeks, and making them feel guilty for not having started it yet. If you begin asking them questions about it, like “Did you get a chance to read it yet?” they’ll start avoiding you like you have Ebola or something. This will be your fault.

Eventually, out of guilt and resentment, they will return the book and say they ‘couldn’t get on with it’. What they mean is, they haven’t looked at it, and never intended to. Let that be a lesson to you.

Anyway, the other day, a well-meaning friend lent me a book. Actually, it’s my own fault. Since I complain about my job all the time, sometimes well-meaning friends get the funny idea that it’s a cry for help of some sort, and not just my favourite pastime, and they offer suggestions or advice about shifting jobs or careers, unaware that for me, shifting careers has about the same appeal as selecting coffins does for someone on Death Row.

This book was called ‘The Start-Up of You’, a title which manages to combine all the things I hate about modern publishing, or actually life, in a pithy and disgusting four-word phrase. Well done. The subtitle was: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.

Transform Your Career? Transform it into what? What are they talking about? Naturally, I was terrified, and threw it in the corner. Later on, sheer morbidity prompted me to pick it up and browse the contents page. The first chapter was called “All Humans Are Entrepreneurs”. What? Was this book written by an alien? Or are there other species on Earth who can read now? I continued. Later chapters developed the theme: “New World of Work”, “Strengthening Risks”, “Structure and Maintain Your Network”, and so on.

I’m sure you are getting the gist. The gist is, the world of work isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days when you left school and cosily snuggled up under the protective wing of a large and benevolent enterprise, who would pay you a steadily increasing salary, plus healthcare and pension, as you moved inexorably up the escalator. These days, wages are stagnant, add-ons cost extra and, where once you could confidently say, ‘the world will always need customer service subscriber managers’, now things are not quite so predictable. Quite frankly, an answering machine could probably do your job better than you, and next week it probably will.

The keyword now is ‘flexibility’. The Start-Up of You teaches you how to think and act like an entrepreneur, all the time.  The usual examples are trotted out: that wanker who started Facebook, and look how rich he is, and what about Fuckface who invented that app nobody likes but everybody uses? How did Fuckface get to start his Fortune 500 company? Why, by exploiting his network, you imbecile. There are many other similar examples. You have to be thinking creatively, pivoting constantly, and if you do nothing, then a career tsunami is going to come along and sweep you out into the street where you’ll be eating cat food out of bins for the rest of your life, and you’ll deserve it.

The whole prospect, of course, is designed to terrify. Nothing sells like total fear, and for those of us (like me), who spent the first thirty years of life just  getting over the trauma of being alive, and never bothered about career until it was too late, the prospect of having to suddenly build network intelligence and navigate career opportunities is pure gothic horror. Already, in my reasonably steady, horrible job, I spend a fair amount of time with my hands resting on the keyboard, staring out of the window thinking, “What the fuck am I doing? What the fuck am I doing?” over and over again. In the past we were allowed to be quietly but complacently miserable. Those days are gone.

Back in the old days, you sold your soul to a company, but at least when you’d put in your working hours they let you alone, to go home and watch TV or something. Now, unless you bounce out of bed with fifteen different ideas about how you can maximise your skill set and generate career opportunities, you are basically a slacker, an old-world caveman who deserves to be swept away in the tsunami.

The world of work, formerly contained in offices and factories, has come spilling out into the streets and cafes, where hipsters line up their identical Macbook Pros and develop their profiles. Work follows you home like some blob from a 1950s horror movie, and it sits in your house, making you feel guilty for watching TV instead of expanding your network. TV is no escape. Everyone is at it on every channel – thinking like an entrepreneur. Christ, round me, even the beggars have been reading The Start-Up of You. They used to just beg. Now they all have a sideline in selling stolen books or doing performance outsider art. Soon they will be asking me to endorse them on LinkedIn for smelling of piss and drinking K cider. What chance have I got?

The Start-Up of Me makes an executive decision. I decide to place The Start-Up of You in an out-of-the-way spot where it can languish for enough time so I can give it back to my friend. Later on, I will tell him it was interesting in parts but I couldn’t really get on with it. I enjoy a horror story as much as the next guy, but some things are just too awful to contemplate.

The full benefit of your insertion fee

It’s quite a tricky task, trying to convince people to write for this website. As much as the carefree, objectionable nature of the words you find here attract a certain type of people like organophosphates attract doomed bees, the delighted enthusiasm to contribute to this virtual free-for-all tends to wane at the sight of a blank Word document and an incessantly chirping smartphone promising all the world’s riches if you’ll only give it every last second of attention you have going spare. Oh look, someone’s added me to their circles, whatever the bloody hell that means.

So I’m always on the hunt for places I can entice writers to come and drop their filthy muck on the pages herein. One rather unexpected source of scribbling meat has until recently been classified ad site Gumtree, which it turns out is no longer the exclusive domain of Australians looking for cheap rooms in Notting Hill, bar work, second-hand didgeridoos and the like. Free ads in the ‘creative writing’ section used to do the job smartly, but then they shut that section down and began forcing people like me down the ‘jobs’ route, and charging a pretty packet for the privilege.

I decided to fork out for an ad. For posterity, as you will soon see, it read like this:

Gumtree used to let you put ads in their creative writing section for free, and now it costs £35.70. It’s your duty to reply to this ad because I’ve been mug enough to stump up the funds and if nobody replies I’ll have to drown a kitten to cheer myself up.

Right, to the point. I have a website that various people write entertaining, frequently angry articles on. There is a certain amount of serious swearing on said website so if you’re not keen on that I suggest you sling your hook.

The website is called…

Striving for Apathy

Google it. If I attach a URL Gumtree will charge me an extra £9.95. Amazing.

Anyway, I am forever looking for more writers for this site, ideally ones willing to spread the word via the social media sites you all love so much. The site carries no ads and makes no money, it’s for the love alone, or hate in this case. As a result I don’t generally pay writers but I will if a writer I find turns out to be particularly good at it (£15, for something that usually takes about half an hour or so – but you have to do the first one free so I can check quality, and there are no exceptions to that).

Did you read that previous paragraph? The first time I listed this advert I had about fifty replies demanding payment up front. If you can’t read I’m hardly going to pay you to write am I? This is Gumtree, not Mugtree.

Anger and passion is important, but entertaining (which usually means funny) is key. There aren’t many rules for writing for this site, you get to pick your own topic, and everyone who has so far enjoys it, so they tell me. You can find the guidelines on one of the pages of the menu on the site. I forget which, you have eyes, go look. To find out what I consider the site to be about, I am the writer ‘Chris’ on it, so read what that bellend wrote and you’ll get the idea.

Please reply. Ask as many questions as you like. As far as I know Gumtree don’t charge me to reply to questions but perhaps they do, so entertain yourself by forcing me to find out.

It says here I have 7,845 characters remaining in my ring-tearingly expensive advert. I feel like I ought to make use of them.

Can’t be arsed.

The ad was on the site for almost two months, until about a week ago, when I received an email with the following subject line: ‘Your Gumtree ad 1095453007 has been removed’.

It turns out that Gumtree are as keen to take a joke as riot police in May. Their decision has been taken because, as their email makes clear, they feel their policies have been so violated by my words there may have to be new legislation to take into account the feelings of a website with a quivering bottom lip.

Among my many misdemeanours, I have evidently used ‘discrimination terms, either offensively or generally’. Allow me to use a few more at this juncture, being as freedom of speech is prized in these parts.

Fuck you, Gumtree. You are a humourless shower of money-grabbing bastards for whom creaming funds from the UK’s legion of hard-working families, as hideous politicians will be calling us all for the next few weeks, seems to involve roughly a tenner’s development work biannually. Your website is a shit mixture of Amazon, Loot and Find A Grave. Your logo evokes images of a final sapling standing steadfast in the face of an onrushing nuclear explosion, just before it’s blown away in a cataclysm humanity is marching towards so inexorably it may actually explain why you’re all such stony-faced wankers.

Your support service is laughable, though I will say your copy-and-pasting is beyond compare. Your ‘policy removal appeal’ process appears to involve me asking why the ad was taken down and you replying with a succession of ‘because we said so’, ‘because we can’ and ‘because you’re picking on us’-style responses as the football disappears from the playing area beneath your arm.

On the off-chance you have any interest in making your website more interesting than a succession of ads for battered motors and soulless employment has any right to be, I should point out that virtually everyone who replied to the ad commented that they did so because it was the first they’d seen on Gumtree not written in a way that made them want to sear their eyes on a Bunsen burner in bored frustration. Not everyone bestows critical acclaim on the words ‘Please include your CV and covering letter’, not that it stopped countless people sending me their CV and covering letter in the mistaken belief I was another identikit employer offering the type of wrist-slitting work the rest of your job ads espouse in language that makes Atlas Shrugged read like a Mr Men book.

Needless to say Gumtree laughed when I mentioned the word ‘refund’: “You have already enjoyed the full benefit of your insertion fee.” Insertion certainly took place at some point in my dealings with them, though quite whether I or they ended up with the sorest arse remains unclear at this point.

Should anyone at Gumtree find themselves so astoundingly without mirth that they reach for their local defamation lawyer’s number on reading this, it might just bring about the final, exquisite death of irony. In short, Gumtree, I will not be using your service again. Consider yourself worse off to the tune of £35.70 a month. When the resulting penury causes you to let an employee go, I hope it’s the one who brings those biscuits in you all love as you gather around the crumb-infested filing cabinet at 10.30am on a Monday, each wishing you’d never applied to that Gumtree ad for a job working for fucking Gumtree.

Perish the race and wither a thousand women

The 1st of February is  a day so comically aligned with the disenchanted masses it is acknowledged as “National Sick Day”.

‘So what?’ I hear you murmur. Well, let’s try and put this in perspective: absence without proper leave is said to cost UK business anywhere between 10 billion and 29 billion pounds, a hefty wedge. The current government’s solution is to make cuts at the heart of British society, the NHS being the most obvious victim, with cuts reported to range around 20 billion.

Agencies have sprung up with offers to track and manage absenteeism. Fair play, they’ve noticed a problem and tried to fix it while making some cash for their effort. Good, good.

But if we want perspective,  perhaps we should look at what happens to cause this phenomenon. There are the classics: poor pay rate, lack of decent holiday, zero-hour contracts and a one-way glass ceiling you will never break through. Up ahead, all you see is darkness, while the suits scornfully mock us feebly trying to survive, in an all-too-Orwellian big brother style. Being disenfranchised with the mega corps shiting all over you is more than enough reason to flip them the occasional bird and concentrate on your life. A moment’s respite from the crap they’ve been shoveling down our throats for decades.

And in striving for this true sight of perspective, it’s impossible to ignore the latest way corporations have chosen to rub our noses in it: illegal corporate tax avoidance. Did you know that the UK loses out on almost £70bn a year? That’s right, those very groups bitching about unauthorized absence have in fact committed the very same crime on an massively larger scale.

And they should expect a strongly worded letter or two, right? Surely the Chancellor is on that? Surely he wouldn’t allow the little guy to be persecuted while letting corporations get away with it? Surely he’s created his very own ‘Untouchables death squad’?

More like the ‘Unfortunately not squad’, as in ‘unfortunately we are not doing a bloody thing to stamp out gross acts of corporate greed and chicanery’. In fact, we are firing 12,000 people. Can’t risk the people finding out about the heavy levels of theft and fraud being committed by Fortune 500 CEOs and the Times Rich List. That would never do. Let’s sack a load of them instead.

‘Perish the race and wither a thousand women’, said George Bernard Shaw. He also talked of ‘a child-robber, a bloodsucker, a hypocrite, and a cheat’. Who could he have been referring to?

Aberdeen is about to be demolished

Dreadful stuff, oil. Anything you can pour on a bird to fuck it right up is awful in the simple layman’s world I like to think I live in, but of course without oil you couldn’t have, well, anything. Oil powers everything and is responsible for all the good and bad things you can buy in the world; there’s no product that oil hasn’t had a hand in, from the enormous new TV you lick with joy when you get home to the internet that rules your life but you can’t actually touch, to the bottle containing the Lucozade Sport you mistakenly think will cure your hangover to the entire floor of horrifying sex toys you’ll find in Tokyo department stores that also sell Lego and Pokemon because wow it’s a strange place is Japan.

And oil, right now, is cheaper than it’s ever been. That’s fantastic news, says the idiot – everything we consume and shit back out without thinking will be cheaper. We can share the boon with businesses that we’ll allow to reduce the prices we pay a bit less than the reduction in oil prices. We win, they win. A victory for the system.

No. It turns out the lower the oil price the more completely wrecked the world’s economy becomes and the worse it is for everyone. There are people on the news horrified that the oil price, presumably set by people rather than by the oil itself, is so painfully low. Sheikhs can no longer afford huge cars they won’t allow women to drive. Aberdeen is about to be demolished. That’s economics.

Two years of pretending to listen to a teacher we used to call ‘Scrippy’, for reasons only entertaining to schoolboys and which with hindsight were stunningly misogynistic, taught me that economics is a dull, largely worthless subject. Perhaps my hatred of capitalism, combined with my guilty acceptance and use of it, stems from my A-level in Economics, in which I got a C.

What’s absolutely certain is that those two years taught me nothing. I have no idea how capitalism actually works.

I’ll give you another example: inflation. Inflation has hit an impressive low of 0.5% in the UK in the last week. Excellent, this must mean the price of things increases slower – that much I did learn from the A-level – which is a good thing for people who don’t own many, many boats laden with supermodels.

No. Inflation being low is bad you imbecile. The Bank of England has a target of 2% inflation – the economy is healthy if this time next year everything is 2% more expensive. Does anyone understand why that is? Is there an obvious reason I missed when poor Scrippy was scooping her mercantile shite into my ears that means it’s strange that prices should change at all? Is it the height of buffoonery to suggest that the price of things should remain the same unless there’s a shortage or surplus of whatever materials are used to make those things?

To make matters worse, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who strikes me as some kind of sprite, appears on the news to explain to us all that inflation being low is a vindication of the government’s economic strategy. Only he knows why, and the only thing that’s abundantly clear is we’re all fucked but they’re all right, plus ça change.

Were I a cynical man I might suggest that there are some among us who would use economics to dishearten and dumbfound the rest of us. When the majority have absolutely no idea what’s going on, when logical statements such as ‘lower prices are good’ turn out to be nonsense, the few people who assert they know what they’re talking about can claim triumph when defeat seems more inevitable than lower back pain in old age. Everything, if you look at it from the right angle, can be both superb and abominable.

The people with all the money get to decide how the money works, what the money does and where the money goes. There are slots on ‘news’ radio shows dedicated to economics and every three months some defiant berk at the head of a supermarket chain has to come on to explain why their devastating financial figures are both good for the economy generally and definitely good for their customers. Mr Tesco, I contend you may not be allowed to retain that Victoria Sponge you’re currently feasting on.

A final example of the madness of economics. To mind mind, there aren’t more cows than there needs to be, and probably not more farmers either. Explain, therefore, how the price of milk has fallen so low now that it’s selling at a lower price than it costs to produce it. Cows are expelling their juice for our benefit without the people manhandling them getting paid enough to make it a worthwhile endeavour, and though milking a cow is probably wondrous the first time you do it, it probably won’t be on at 5am on a Tuesday morning in December.

Is that good news or bad? Milk is cheaper for everyone, and everyone buys milk, so that’s good. But the people who produce the milk are getting stitched up and might then stop producing milk, so there’s then less milk, and the price goes up, and is that bad or good, and where am I? Maybe we’re meant to hate farmers, because they have big sheds that nobody’s allowed in, and inside these big sheds are twenty-foot high chickens, because of all the chemicals they put in them. And these chickens are scared.

Economics rules our lives and yet makes as much sense as the lap-dance dream sequence in I’m Alan Partridge. As far as I can gather, the most I got from Scrippy’s lessons was the knowledge that I will have to live within an economic system that makes no sense at the same time that it controls everything all of us do. For all we know it might be good for us, or it might be 2008 again and we’re all fucked for reasons none of us understand.

Either way, Robert Peston’s voice will still be the most atrocious sound you will hear of a morning.

Due to the high standard of applicants

“We just can’t get applicants with the skills and attitudes we need.” The constant refrain from employers bemoans a lack of skills, and applicants who turn up in pyjamas and expect to be allowed to drink neat vodka all day, along with an inability to hold a basic conversation. There are, so British industry says, no suitable, skilled, British applicants for UK jobs. At all. Anywhere.

And Peter Pan is real, and lives two doors down from me.

Employers: the reason you’re not finding suitably skilled applicants with a good attitude and decent work ethic is because you don’t get back to us when we email you. We write, in perfectly grammatical Queen’s English, explaining our relevant experience, with examples of things we’ve actually done, and projects we’ve been involved in. We give you the names of real, physical companies we’ve worked for, and who were pleased to have us there (or said they were, at any rate).

We submit our CV, or the carefully-completed online application form, well within the deadline, having checked, double-checked and triple-checked that our email address and mobile phone number are accurate, and that we haven’t inadvertently given you the address of the Facebook and Twitter accounts that we let our mates see – you get the same profile Mummy and Daddy do, where we talk about our volunteering work, the educational programmes we’ve watched on the BBC, and the online courses we’re undertaking to “improve ourselves” and “further our education, knowledge, and experience”.

We make sure that relevant documents are attached to the email, which we’re not sending from our ‘workisforwankers@dossmail’ address, or, if you’ve asked us to be all old-fashioned and post things to you, we make sure everything’s included, the address is right, and that the lady at the Post Office checks the envelope to ensure we pay for the right amount of postage. Then we drop it in the slot, or hit Send, and wait.

And wait. And wait.

Until, three weeks or so after the closing date, we eventually get a terse “Thank you for your application. Unfortunately, due to the high standard of applicants, you have been unsuccessful. We wish you luck in your job search.” It’s not even addressed to us, and you’re not even skilled enough with computers to fake that you’re not sending it as a bulk mail job.

And then, a week after we stopped less than an inch short of slashing our wrists in response to your rejection, you’re in the paper, or on This Morning, whining about how hard life is for you, and how no one’s good enough to work for you.

Boo-bloody-hoo. That’s not what you told all those folk currently having their benefits stopped because they didn’t even get to interview with you, so must’ve screwed up somehow. You’ll carry on raking in your hundreds of pounds an hour salary, while the rest of us struggle to buy groceries, pay bills and get by on the same amount you’d spend on a “quiet evening out”.

There are skilled, sensible job applicants out there, who know that they’re expected to turn up on time, do as they’re told, and be professional. Who can write and speak good English. Who know that you don’t wear a tie to an interview for a kennel hand, or a gimp suit to an interview for a job in a solicitors’ office. But we’re not psychic – if you want to interview us, you have to respond to our application. Preferably with your location, and a date and time.

But it’s cheaper for you to ignore any applications you get, and go on TV whining about your life. After all, it’s free advertising, isn’t it, especially if you can get the telly crew to do a few seconds of footage in your offices or your factory. Not an avenue that’s typically open to jobseekers, the free publicity of an appearance on the six o’clock news. The truth is out there, along with the job applicants you claim don’t exist. And the truth is, British industry, that you don’t want a workforce – you want a soundbite.

A brave move for a lad they call Del Boy

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.