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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart – Why Shawn Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/10/2005
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In just the third episode of Martha Stewart’s version of The Apprentice, Stewart did something that Trump hasn’t done in four seasons – she fired somebody who wasn’t picked by the Project Manager as even being eligible to leave. We’ll address that particular thorny issue in another article, but here we need to take a look at what Shawn did that was so bad that Stewart just couldn’t let her have a free pass. Why did Shawn lose?
Even in a situation as bizarre as this one – or perhaps especially in this type of situation – the answers to these questions can be found in What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned. Let’s see what we can find.
In fact, let’s begin before we even get to the rules, with the very first line of the article: “The Apprentice does not just look for a winner, like on most reality shows, but for somebody to actually get a job. It is … a long job interview.” As with any job interview, there are some things that an applicant really just should not do or say – and Shawn did such things at least twice. Both of those can easily fall into the final rule regarding the use of common sense, so we’ll hold off for now, but it does seem apparent that Shawn forgot the point of going on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, or else Stewart’s henchman Charles was right when he said Shawn never seemed interested in working for Martha so much as becoming a television personality. Either way, she still lost and we’ll move now to the actual rules to see why.
The first rule is to show leadership. While Shawn was never the Project Manager, she often took a leadership role in other ways. In the flower shop challenge, for example, she suggested buying just one type of flower – tulips – after Chuck’s idea to keep things simple. Shawn also brought forth the idea for having girls in Dutch costumes roaming around. Yeah, I didn’t say she took a smart leadership role.
In the third episode, Shawn took something of a leadership role as well. It was her idea to call well-known wedding cake maker Sylvia Weinstock. It was her idea to make the cake pink because of what Sylvia said – an idea she later conveniently forgot she had, I might add.
Taking on these leadership roles was a good idea – if she had been providing, well, good ideas. Unfortunately, she wasn’t.
Shawn did well on the second rule, though, staying cool under fire. I’m sure her time as a TV news reporter came in handy here, as she was likely used to having to perform under stress or with new information coming in. When Project Manager Jeff took Dawn off fairy tale reading duty and handed it to Shawn in the first episode, she accepted and did as good a job as she could with that terrible book.
When she was pressed in the Conference Room after they failed in the third challenge, Shawn similarly stayed quite calm. Indeed, you might say she was very good at “faking it.” Unfortunately, she stayed a little too calm and tried to be funny – and it didn’t come off good at all.
The third rule says to have a backbone, and Shawn didn’t seem to have a problem there, either. When she heard from Sylvia Weinstock what the cake should be like, she told the group to do it. When she thought tulips were the way to go a week earlier, she told the group to do it. Once again, these were not really the best decisions, but at least she stood up for them at the time.
The fourth rule, for a change, didn’t come into play as Shawn didn’t do any scheming or plotting that we saw and Jim was remarkably (and thankfully) quiet. The fifth rule also took a bit of a rest, as Shawn played well with others and stayed professional.
But the sixth rule was certainly a factor. As I mentioned earlier, Shawn apparently forgot – or didn’t care about – the point of this whole exercise. Even if her team had won the wedding cake challenge, bragging about winning and making statements like she did to Charles was not very bright. Indeed, Charles even noted at the time – therefore before knowing who won – that she was overconfident and foolish, not qualities I imagine Stewart is looking for in an apprentice.1 2 Next-->
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