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The Apprentice 2: Why Raj Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/11/2004
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Raj seemed, of all the contestants this season, to have the most personality. However, Donald Trump obviously did not feel he had the most business acumen, as he fired Raj last week. As always, it is now our task to figure out exactly what happened to cause Raj to hear the words, “You’re fired.” Why did Raj lose?
Most of what we will discuss will, of course, come from What ‘Apprentice 2’ Applicants Should Have Learned. However, there is something other than that to discuss as well – something that could lead to a change in those rules for next season.
Before this season began, when I was putting that article together, I originally planned on putting something in about plotting and scheming because I figured people could plan on who they should focus on – as the women’s team did with Stacie, for example. However, upon further deliberations and discussions at the highest levels of RealityNewsOnline, I decided it shouldn’t be in there. After all, unlike Survivor or Big Brother, The Apprentice does not have fellow contestants vote people off. The decisions are made solely by Trump, so all the plotting and scheming in the world might not help you.
The more we watch this season, I think I need to put in at least something about that topic, though. For one thing, like it or not, plotting and scheming did work against Stacie. On the flip side, plotting and scheming has actually hurt several players, as we've seen people bring in others to the Boardroom who didn't belong, just because it was decided that the person should be targeted. Trump did not respond kindly, often specifically noting that he couldn’t figure out why that person was there this time. So I think that there could be a small role for some alliance-building, but there is an even bigger danger of plotting and scheming too much.
Why am I going into this in an article that is supposed to be about Raj? Because Raj was the latest to make this mistake. He and Jennifer decided that Ivana should be targeted because of problems they saw with her overall, and also because the previously-fired contestants who returned in this task also had a grudge against her and would therefore likely go after her in the Boardroom. The problem, of course, was that despite what Jennifer said in her rant directed at Ivana before the Boardroom, Trump & Co. didn’t have any problems with Ivana’s actions this time. Raj brought Ivana in because he thought she would make a good target. Instead, it was seen as a strike against him.
Now that we’ve covered that point, let’s move into the listed rules. The first and most important is to show leadership. Raj had no problems with this one. He often showed leadership even when he wasn’t leading, as in the previous week’s NYPD challenge. And he definitely led in the house-remodeling challenge that got him fired as well. When he went to the Boardroom, he stood up and took responsibility, following the part of the rule that notes, “If you’re going to be blamed for a loss, make sure it’s a loss that you created!”
However, there was one time – one very important time – when Raj took responsibility but didn’t follow his own instincts. Kevin picked a contractor who Raj did not feel was right for the job. But rather than go against his teammate’s recommendation, Raj went along with it, and it did not turn out well. We should note that this wasn’t just Raj saying after the fact that he didn’t like the contractor. In the extra footage on Yahoo, we saw Bradford tell Trump that Raj had told him he didn’t trust the contractor Kevin recommended. This was meant to support the fact that Raj had a good business gut, but Trump correctly pointed out that it didn’t matter if Raj had a good business gut if Raj ignored it.
As the leader, Raj should have said that he didn’t trust the guy and they could have moved on to somebody else. There was always the possibility that the next guy would be just as bad, but as already noted, at least it would have been a loss he created, instead of one he just agreed to against his better judgment.
At other times, Raj did make leadership stands, such as when he decided to knock down one of the walls and make the four-bedroom house into a three-bedroom. It was definitely showing leadership, though I also think it was definitely the wrong decision.
Moving on, the second rule says to stay cool under fire. Raj has always done a good job of this, whether on the challenge or in the Boardroom. He definitely has a great deal of self-confidence and that comes through in everything he does – whether it’s making a decision and standing by it or hitting on the nearest pretty lady. When he was in the Boardroom, Raj calmly and coolly explained what had happened and what he thought the problems were. A good job there.
Raj also did a good job in following the third rule, having a backbone. Both during the NYPD challenge and in the Boardroom that followed, Raj stood up and said he fully backed the militaristic ad campaign. He never wavered or tried to blame somebody else for the idea that he had supported. Similarly, when he led his team to defeat in the house remodeling challenge, Raj made decisions and stood by them – unlike the recently departed Elizabeth.
And Raj similarly did fine with the fourth rule. He was multi-dimensional, taking a variety of roles as the tasks demanded.1 2 Next-->
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