Years ago, I applied to be on the British TV Reality series The Apprentice. I was in my early twenties and I fancied myself as an Entrepreneur. The application process was quite easy, compiling personal information, career highlights and a bragging section. So, I applied, the result was I didn’t get through. My TV career didn’t quite happen for me as I had hoped. I wonder how things would have turned out if I had been accepted onto the apprentice? Would Sir Alan have said “Dean you’re fired” in the first week or would I have progressed to the final. We will never know. In some ways the application process challenged me to think about what I wanted to do with my life and also what skills I have. Despite not getting through the application was helpful.
The TV show annoys me a little because a lot of the contenders had an unfair advantage in that their backgrounds made it easier for them to excel in business, they had the right start in their business careers because of their background and their family connections. It’s easy to grow a business, if your family have money to help you. I realise that was a sweeping statement but to be honest, the only genuinely self-starters I have ever seen on the The Apprentice was Ruth Badger and Michelle Dewberry. Ruth was a self-made woman who took no-nonsense and got the job done. She is an example of someone who has fought and battled to get where she is, all credit to her. I remember watching her and whilst she didn’t waste time on heirs and graces. She battled with the other contestants who had affluent backgrounds and the right connections. Eventually she came second, to Michelle Dewberry who also came from humble beginnings, working on a checkout at Kwik Save. Michelle has seen developed a consultancy and media business and Ruth runs a sales and marketing consultancy.
Watching The Apprentice has proved to me that people with privileged backgrounds can get a head start in life. but it doesn’t mean that with a little hard work, determination and common sense you cannot make a better future for yourself, whatever your background.
It’s interesting to note, that Sir Alan himself was from humble beginnings who has worked hard and taken risks. He grew up in a Council flat in East London in the 1950’s and started in business selling car aerials out of the back of a van. Today, thousands of people from all backgrounds apply to go on a reality TV programme and fight against others, risking everything, to work for him.