Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Truthful Apprentice

The new series started today. It is relevant again. So here, in its unedited entirety, is my final post from the days when I used to update myspace:

I don't like liars, I don't like schmoozers, I don't like bullsh*tters

So said Sir Alan Sugar. Quite inspirational. Enough to prompt my first post here in many months. I've decided that my personal life doesn't belong on the net, and my political opinions are replicated elsewhere in the ether. But there is a tiny chance that someone I work with could read this, so a subject tangential to work...

So back to those three statements. Admirable philosophy. And the core brand image of the Amstrad boss. But the last few weeks of the Apprentice have shown that those statements were nothing more than fluff - in fact depending on how polite we are to "Sir Alan", we could say those statements were either just schmooze, just bullshit, or just lies.

Last week there was a young lady who deliberately lied to hide a genuine mistake instead of admitting it. Yet this was glossed over and she was kept on, while another young lady who simply told the truth was fired. The fired lady had other failings, but how could he trust the other one? The same week, another young man deliberately tried to defraud the VAT office while negotiating a price. Again he was kept on, and his banter was justified as schmooze; this week his incessant bullshit was praised again.

I like many aspects of the program. But there is a difference between selling toot for a pound a time to customers whom you know that you will not deal with again (so spouting bullshit is rewarded) compared to selling multi-million-dollar long-term contracts where trust and quality are integral (so bullshit is punished). It is the difference between a cowboy trader and a genuine entrepreneur.

Now I have some influence in recruitment. Perhaps some enterprising candidate will know that I am interviewing, will look here, and will get an "unfair" advantage. But I'd say those opinions are hardly radical. And unlike Sir Alan, I mean it.

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