Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Apprentice Can't Be Terminated

A couple of days ago, while flicking through Ravelry’s message boards, I came across a discussion thread about The Apprentice. I don’t have a TV, so I don’t watch The Apprentice. It would be fair to add that, even if I did have a TV, I wouldn’t watch The Apprentice. Or Big Brother. Or Celebrity Big Brother or Dancing with The Stars or any other pseudo-reality show. In fact, I like to think that Big Brother and its ilk are shows only good for uneducated, pig-faced, dim-witted morons who write ‘should of said’ instead of ‘should have said’.

So I read the thread about The Apprentice with second-hand interest which I can muster very well early in the morning when I try to procrastinate two more minutes, just two more, please, clinging to crap, any crap, no matter what crap. The gist of the thread was that this year’s contestants are a bunch of obnoxious idiots only chosen for their egos and not their business capabilities. And there followed comments laced up with quotes from the night before, and so stomach-churning were they, that I’d rather not copy them on here.

Actually, the contestants on The Apprentice are by no means isolated incidents. An isolated incident is a bolt of lightening hitting a person. Neither are they freak occurrences that don’t happen in real life (that’s Pretty Woman or Maid in Manhattan). My real life was infested with such gits to the brim of a hat placed on the head of a ten-foot tall Hulk. Maybe even above that.

There were many managers that never ever said hi or bye; it was uncool to be polite, even at its most basic. There was the one that could not conduct a meeting without swearing every two words, his forehead always pulsating with rage, spraying everyone within spit-each. I’ve never seen anyone whose saliva could travel that far that fast before or since. I always expected him to explode into fucks even when he was laughing, even when he was staring at his computer, at his Facebook page, screen sprayed with a congealed subtle mist, brow as corrugated as the sea in high winds.

There was the other colleague who would always, every single time, cut through what you were saying, just to show her ability to (supposedly) foreshadow your own views. She thought of herself as a mind-reader while she really was no more than a permanently hormonal over-made-up fool who looked like a bulldog with fake lashes chewing on a past-its-sell-by-date wasp. Then there was the guy that would never ever crack a smile, not even a fake one, not even the grimace that people sometimes pull at themselves, when they have realised that they have closed the doc without saving it.

There was the pouting asshole that always used to say ‘shut up please, I’ve got something to say’ to introduce his brain farts (fart being the operative word here). There was the manager that got a call because his son had been taken to hospital and barked down the line that the nanny is with him, so what’s the big deal, I am in a meeting for Christ’s sake, I said only in emergencies, you hear!

The list goes on and on, all thinking themselves as exceptional individuals who consistently deliver on time and to spec, who never ever over-promise and under-deliver, who can paint the room with all of their blue-sky thinking without even needing a brush, future-retroactivating the socialocomotion of the mission critical whose synergistic actionable paradigm shift required their input.

Let me drill that into you: the bunch of morons on The Apprentice are not few and far between, caricatures of a business world that does not really exist. They are real, they are a representation of what happens in boardrooms everywhere and they are not going to go away. They are like Terminators, both as inherently stupid (My database does not encompass the dynamics of human pair bonding) and as consistently blinkered (He'll find her! That’s what he does! That’s all he does! You can’t stop him!). These gits will never stop and I’ve got proof.

A couple of years ago, three youngsters joined my then team on a summer placement. Up until then, I was pretty much unaware that students do that; I had recently been a student myself and if there was one thought never to have crossed my mind it was this: ‘I’ll go on a placement with some multi-million dollar consulting firm working eighteen-hour days seven days a week for five hundred quit and a branded pen for the entire duration of my holiday. Yay!’.

Turns out I am in the minority because I later learnt that there is an increasingly high demand for these summer placements, from undergraduates as relevant to the consulting arena as microbiologists or theologists.
On that morning, they gave a brief eye-watering presentation on who they were and why they were with us, some shining above others as little prissy over-achievers of the 'I learnt three languages and lived in seven countries before I could piss' sort.

People that use blackberries as opposed to eating them, people who switch on the sat-nav to go to the toilet and who use weekend as a verb, as in 'I weekend in the country'. I felt both sad and bitter and I cannot even tell whether I felt more sad for them or myself, knowing that, eventually, these will be the New Breed of Corporate Gits I may find on my path, no matter where I am or what I do. A handful seemed like Perfect Consulting Assholes material and I am sure they'll go very far carried by the unclippable wings of self-importance. Because that’s what they do and we can’t stop them.

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