I’ve just watched another episode of the British BBC TV show ‘The Apprentice (2023)’. Take it with a pinch of salt and it is quite entertaining. But there are some cringeworthy moments that can make it a hard watch. In fact each episode has moments when I feel I want to knock the contestants heads together to see what’s inside them. Jeremy Clarkson described the contestants as ‘gelled up wide boys and pouting Love Island cast-offs’. A good description! In fact, I’ve noticed that this year nearly all the female contestants have had lip enhancements, so they are mouthy in more ways than one. The men, preened and power dressed, swagger and disappoint just as much as the ladies.
They compete against each other to be Alan Sugar’s business partner and to win a £250,000 cash injection into their investment idea. It seems clear their drive is to get rich with the minimum of effort. They want success and they want it now. They are not prepared to wait. They have a level of self belief worthy of an SAS operative but none of the knowledge, skills and business acumen to justify that self belief. They have more confidence than competence. Some contestants may be quick witted and driven but overall they seem to lack general knowledge, the ability to spell or even speak English. Most are incapable of strategic thinking and lack any understanding of teamwork.
Their business plans make ridiculous financial projections, they bluster their way through the tasks and stab each other in the back. They quote one bragline after another. One says he is “the James Bond of business”. What? Does he murder his competitors, shag his female colleagues and have an ejector seat fitted to his BMW 3-series?
No doubt some of these characters will succeed in making a reasonable living for themselves although I wonder how many people they will stomp on or rip-off along the way. But really, they want to be a Jeff Bezos or an Elon Musk and make billions and then move to Monaco and potter round in a luxury yacht and drink champagne. They will want to flaunt their success on Instagram and pour scorn on those on modest wages who work hard.
I applaud anyone who wants to run their own business, unless of course they are drug dealers. I understand the drive to be your own boss and use your own resourcefulness to make a decent standard of living for yourself and your family. In my working life though, you didn’t feel you had a right to expect overnight success or make a fortune. Now it appears young people do.
Especially Generations Y and Z. They want it all and they want it now. They have thin wallets and expensive taste. They haven’t the patience to work at success. They haven’t the patience to save or budget. They moan about price of food and energy when they have just taken out a PPR loan on a new BMW. Today’s students live a lifestyle which I could only dream of in the 1970s when I was a student (and I had a grant and a part time job). When I was saving for a house in the 80s, I didn’t spend £3.50 on coffees everywhere I went, or buy takeaways or order avocado toast for breakfast.
They have such a sense of personal entitlement it is frightening. Their parents tell them they are amazing and can achieve their dreams. And dream they do. Maybe they’ll be a tv star, social media influencer, marketing executive or a video game tester.
Full marks for those who want to be doctors, virologists, engineers, astronauts etc. but it is hard to wing it in those professions and that makes them less desirable as career options.
If only people would aspire to real jobs that most of us need and value. I would value anyone who could mend a road properly, but, ironically, it seems there can’t be openings for an ‘Apprentice’ road mender to be taught the right skills any more.
If you want to have a successful business, you have a have to borrow shedloads of money, and spend time creating an app, a website, and a marketing strategy etc. in order to fool customers into thinking you have a successful and trustworthy business. Actually doing a proper job, providing value for money and being accessible and accountable to your customers seems very much a secondary or inconvenient consideration these days.
Maybe I am being a bit unfair on Millennials, especially Generation Z. When I look back on the 1970s and early 1980s, many people then were lazy and delusional. A lot of workers didn’t want to work and many employers had no clue how to run a business. Ambition was dealt with suspicion and mockery, especially in working class areas. In the ‘loadsamoney’ generation of the 80s and 90s, the drive to become an entrepreneur was stronger but many everyday jobs and skills were undervalued. Back then, ‘The Apprentice’ would have attracted candidates just as suspect as those on the latest show. Harry Enfield’s character ‘Loadsamoney’ would surely have featured.
So maybe I’m just a grumpy old man who needs to accept the world is changing, that young people should dream more than my generation, that the TV show is really just entertainment and to hope that those Apprentices will pay lots of taxes towards my future geriatric care.
Finally, let me leave you with a few words of wisdom from none other than Lord Alan Sugar himself ……..
“Youngsters have got to stop thinking about becoming the next Zuckerberg. It’s a trillion-to-one chance. What they need is mater and pater to say, ‘Get a job, son.’ “
7 thoughts on “Self Obsessed and Delusional – Just two of the qualifications candidates need to compete in ‘The Apprentice’.”
I gave up on The Apprentice a long time ago. I can’t abide the type of person that is attracted to that show or the ridiculously embarrassing tasks they put them through. It’s “I’m a Celebrity…” without the celebrities and the ick but pretending to be a real business type show.
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It’s certainly not everybody’s cup of tea. The contestants do think they are celebrities as well as God’s gift to business but I am more entertained than irritated by them.
I watched about five minutes of one of the early series and had to switch off as the tv was in danger from flying objects. The first four words in your title apply equally to Sugar – an arrogant, self-important twat with a hopelessly rose-tinted view of himself.
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I don’t think I could work with him. Got to admire the cut of his suits though. As I said to Niall, I am more entertained than irritated by these characters.
I watched one season when my son and daughter-in-law were living with me. My son said we should have one programme we all watched together after dinner before we went our separate ways to play computer games blogging etc. I suggested Gardeners’ World, but I was out voted. The Apprentice should only be watched in company so you can all shout at the screen and make derogatory remarks! I have had similar fun watching ‘celebrity jungle/ dancing/ cooking etc’ at other people’s houses, interrupting the programme at frequent intervals to say ‘Who on earth is that?’
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I agree that you should only watch it with someone else so you can heckle and have fun. Watch it on your own and you might end up throwing things at the TV – like Clive.
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I haven’t even watched one episode, as I dislike Alan Sugar. I’m not sure why young women these days need to have a trout pout. They look most peculiar. Thanks for adding this entertaining post to Click and Run.