Rachel votes to fire The Apprentice

Rachel Clacher

June 04, 2013

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Rachel Clacher

So this is how to ‘do’ business? Really, Sir Alan? Do you really look for people who are egotistical, self-centred, bitchy, chippy, political and desperate to prove themselves? I don’t think so. The only people that I ‘know’ who have worked for you are the doubty Margaret and the poker-faced but oh so dry Nick. And it strikes me that neither of them are any of these things.

Maybe this is a whole new TV genre: unreality TV. An unreal world in which business potential is measured by selfishness, appearance, backstabbing, naivety and arrogance. Because it bears no resemblance to any business world that I know. And it also bears no resemblance to any business world that I would like my children to be a part of.

My fourteen year old gawps at the idiocy demonstrated by the latest hapless Apprentices, and is in awe at their inability to make coherent decisions, their fear of team working, their relentless pursuit of self-advancement and their apparent inability to use any kind of technology apart from a mobile phone that you have to shout at. The only reason she can accept it as mere entertainment is because she has experience of real business through her lifetime involvement with Moneypenny – her meeting and knowing the people who are so important to the business, her enjoyment of feeling part of a team, her understanding of how decisions are taken in a considered and pragmatic way.

Worryingly there must be many fourteen year olds who believe that the ridiculously outdated world inhabited by The Apprentice is real, that business is all about dog-eat-dog aggression and pathetic aggrandisement. Is this really what we want the generation that we are relying on to develop the businesses of the future to believe? So while it’s all great to giggle at, the giggles are getting more strained as each series moves further away from reality.

Surely we can get our TV fix of business gamesmanship in a more relevant and exciting way? Real business, and indeed real apprenticeship, is so much more demanding, dynamic and exciting than this dated caricature format suggests. Give us a bit of grit and creativity, a team spirit and the development of individuals, and a bit of ‘real’ TV that draws out some of the sheer talent and opportunity that abounds.

Sir Alan Sugar is surely the only boss to ever use the words ‘you’re fired’. Maybe it’s time for him to hear those words himself… and for the BBC to get a bit more innovative and relevant with its popular business output. I’m sure Vince Cable would agree…

Author: Rachel Clacher is the co-founder of Moneypenny, the UK’s leading telephone answering service. In 2000, Rachel and her brother Ed Reeves pooled their convictions about customer service and teamwork – and Moneypenny began. More