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The Apprentice 5: Why Tarek Lostby David Bloomberg -- 05/08/2006
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Usually when Trump hands out double-eliminations, both are warranted. However, this time he sent home Charmaine, who definitely was to blame for the loss, and Tarek, who just as definitely was not Ė at least no more so than Lee or Michael. But Tarek is just as fired either way, so itís up to us to figure out why Tarek lost.
The way we do this, whether the firing was deserved or not, remains the same. So letís look back at What ĎApprentice 5í Applicants Should Have Learned and dig out some answers.
First and foremost, did Tarek show leadership? Well, Tarek was the very first losing project manager of this season. That didnít bode well, did it? Frankly, Tarek would have probably been gone then except, as this rule notes, project managers who are in that role in the very first task often get a pass. It also helped that Summer gave such a lackluster performance.
But even back then, Trump noted that he was not impressed with Tarek. And through the rest of the season, Trump has continued to be disappointed. Tarek was given multiple chances to stand out, but he failed.
Tarek did lead in one area during this most recent challenge Ė he led Lee down the wrong path. Yes, Charmaine was a fairly horrible project manager, but Tarek could have tried to step up more rather than just making a lot of snide remarks. Instead, he had Lee give Charmaine incorrect information about how well they were doing with flyers, and he spent more time making fun of Charmaine rather than trying to help out. It seemed like he knew they would lose the task and was merely allowing her to fail. As weíve seen before, that is not the kind of person Trump is looking to hire.
The second rule tells players to stay cool under fire. There were a few times over the various challenges where Tarek got annoyed at people and snapped at them because they disagreed with him. But that really wasnít an issue here.
Similarly, the third rule Ė having a backbone Ė wasnít the cause of Tarekís firing. He certainly was able to stand up for himself, and did so whenever he had the opportunity.
That takes us to the fourth rule, which says scheming and plotting donít usually work. Tarek plotted with Lee to throw the blame on Charmaine. What Tarek didnít know was that Lee plotted with Charmaine to do the same to Tarek! So maybe it could be said that scheming worked for Lee, but he was never really in any danger. What we definitely can say is that it most certainly didnít work for Tarek. Yes, Charmaine was fired, but so was he!
Obviously, Tarek and Charmaine were to the point where they simply were not getting along, which is addressed by the fifth rule Ė playing well with others. Tarek certainly did not respect Charmaine, and I canít really say I blame him for that. However, in a situation like this, whether he respects the project manager or not should not come into play Ė he needed to still work with her towards achieving their goal. Instead, he undercut Charmaine, made fun of her, was condescending, etc. This earned him the reputation of being ďimpossible to lead,Ē in Trumpís words.
If Tarek had followed the sixth rule, focusing on the long-term, he would have been better off. He needed to recognize just how shaky his position was with Trump. Considering how many times heíd been warned, itís difficult to understand how he missed it. But anybody who is not in good stead should be doing everything he can to show how valuable he is. Tarek failed to do that. Instead he focused on scoring debating points or winning small battles with Charmaine. Much like Andrea the week before, Tarek lost sight of the reason he was there. Hint: It wasnít to show how incompetent Charmaine was.
The seventh rule was one that contributed significantly to Charmaineís loss because she failed to understand the challenge. I believe Tarek had a better comprehension of what they needed to do, but he didnít really do anything about it. Yes, he pushed Charmaine to have a theme, but that was about it. As noted earlier, he seemed content to let Charmaine be hung out to dry, failing to recognize the possibility of her taking somebody else with her.
What about Tarekís creativity? Well, in his final task, he certainly didnít show any. Even when he pressed Charmaine for a theme, he admitted he didnít have one himself. When he and Lee were sent to put flyers on parked cars, did he have a better idea? If so, he didnít speak up, as far as we know. So while we can point to Charmaine to shoulder the blame for a great deal of the problem with missing creativity, Tarek certainly didnít help any.
The ninth rule says players cannot be one-dimensional. Tarek had opportunities throughout the game to show his capabilities. But almost every time, Trump came away disappointed in him, thinking him to be overrated. Tarek didnít show he could lead and yet didnít show he could follow either. Not much in between there.
Finally, we have the rule that says players should use common sense. Iíve been holding back on the Mensa thing, but I have to say it now. Mensa means you have a high IQ. However, it does not mean you have a lick of common sense. I cannot tell you how many Mensans I have known who have allowed their opinion of their own intelligence to outweigh any common sense they might have had. (Please, Mensans, donít e-mail me about how great you are and how Iím just jealous Ė I had the opportunity to join several times over and turned it down, thank you very much. And I know plenty of other people who did the same, in part for the very reason I just mentioned. Iím sure there are some of you with common sense, but Iíve seen enough to know that IQ and common sense are not at all equivalent.)
Getting back to Tarek, he did many things over the course of the series that showed a lack of common sense. Letís go all the way back to the first episode, where he gave away gift bags. What was the gift? The bag itself. Oy. Whatís worse, he gave away the bags to everybody, whether they got the upgraded membership or not. Well then what was the point? If I had been a customer there, Iíd have said, ďThank you very muchĒ for the bag and walked away. Meanwhile, customers who came in later would receive nothing, even if they did upgrade Ė thus, no incentive to do it right then and there.
Jumping ahead to his last challenge, weíve already addressed how Tarek should have known he was on thin ice with Trump. Common sense should therefore have told him he needed to be impressive. As weíve discussed above, he was anything but.
As recapper Betsy noted, Trump has had it in for Tarek for quite some time, and it was really only a matter of time before Trump fired him. This week was as good as any time, I suppose, though Tarek didnít do anything to particularly deserve it.
Sure, he didnít come up with anything more creative than Charmaine did, but neither did Michael or Lee. He didnít go gangbusters in bringing in clients, but neither did Michael or Lee. The one thing he did differently than Lee was that he failed to disguise his feelings for Charmaine. So Charmaine shot at him in the Boardroom, and he fired back. This singled him out more this time around.
But Tarek didnít really have much going on his side, either. He was not great as a leader. He did not seem to like being led Ė at least not when others disagreed with him. He was not particularly creative. All in all, he was simply not Apprentice material. That is why Tarek lost.
If you havenít already, be sure to check out these other recent Apprentice articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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