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The Apprentice 4 Corner Office and Mailroom Assignments, Episode 1: One, Two, Three, Sweat!by Gil Sery -- 09/28/2005
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Itís the start of another season of The Apprentice. Everyone is on an equal footing as the game begins, but it doesnít take long for some peopleís true colors to be revealed. Who knew how to handle the task and thus got to spend time in the companyís corner office? Who blew the task so badly that they were sentenced to spend a week sorting and delivering mail in the company mailroom? Letís find out.
Cool name for a team. I just hope Bill Gates doesnít sue them for copyright infringement. We didnít really get to see a whole lot of the menís team this week, since there was more drama on the womenís team. That said; letís see what happened.
Mark got his team off on the right foot by winning the advantage of location choice in a close foot race. Brian also helped get the team off to a winning start by helping to pick the location for his team.
Josh seems to be the resident whiner on the team, having complained about Markusí frazzled leadership, and the way he kept asking for feedback from his teammates. For whining, he can spend the week sorting out first-class from priority mail.
Markus, on the other hand, is more complicated. True, he led his team to victory, but his teamís victory was in spite of his leadership, not because of it. He was reticent to accept the Project Manager role, and only did so because he never wants to be seen as shrinking from a challenge. He couldnít decide whether to have six classes or seven and he was way too talkative with Trump on the phone. Someone needs to teach this guy how to get his point across in 30 seconds or less. Yes, I know he wanted to build a rapport with Trump, but he needs to remember that actions speak louder than words. Amy on Season One built a great rapport with Trump by constantly being on the winning team and constantly working hard, so it is possible to build a rapport with Trump without resorting to verbal diarrhea.
The one thing I liked about Markusí performance is that he asked his team for feedback while there was still a chance for him to put the feedback to good use. I understand Joshís opinion about seeing this as a weakness, but by comparing Markus to Trump heís comparing apples to oranges. Trump isnít competing against 17 of his peers for a job. Trump isnít being evaluated on his performance during each task. Also, if Markus wants his team to vote for his exemption, he has to get them on his side, and this is as good a way as any of doing that.
To be honest, Iím really torn. I actually think nobody on the menís team deserves the corner office this week, even though they won. If I had to award it, it would probably go to Mark for getting the team off to a winning start, but that seems like such a little to do to qualify for such a great reward. On the other end, Markus did step up as the first Project Manager and did win, but he floundered as leader, so I think Iíll let him linger somewhere in the middle for another week.
Another cool name. When I was in college, I took a technical writing course where the class was run like a corporation. We had to come up with a name for the corporation, and we eventually settled on Edge Communications, so I can somewhat relate to this name.
Since we saw a lot of the womenís team, itís easier to judge their performances. Most of the women (Felisha, Toral, Rebecca, Marshawn, and Alla) worked as a team, doing market research, helping to come up with the concept, and handing out flyers.
Rebecca seemed to work the hardest. Not only did she leave the rest of her teammates in the dust when running for the helicopter, but also she was a good team player and never caused problems. So Rebecca, the corner office with the view of Central Park is all yours.
The two remaining women made the biggest mistakes on their team, which is really bad considering that one of them was the project manager, Kristi (who looks like a cross between Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars fame, and Reese Witherspoon). Kristi designed the flyer choreographed the workout, and decided to focus on street marketing instead of in-gym marketing. Well, she got one out three right (the choreography).
If she had some teammates focusing on in-gym marketing in addition to street marketing, that would be a different story and a wiser choice, but Iím going on what we saw, and that was that she decided the team should concentrate solely on street marketing. This was a mistake for exact reason that Chris on Team Excel mentioned Ė the people in the gym like coming there, so half the battle (getting people to the gym) is already won.
Perhaps Kristiís worst mistake was the XXX on the flyer. Maybe sheís too much of a goody-two shoes to associate this with pornography, but the rest of her team arenít. Either they didnít say anything to her and only mentioned it to the camera in interviews (something I find hard to believe), or they mentioned it to her and she made an executive decision to ignore it. She claimed in the boardroom thatís not how she designed the flyer, but then she should have done something about it. So for this ďtriple threatĒ of mistakes, Kristi gets to choreograph how the stamps will be applied to letters in the mailroom.
Now we get the fire and brimstone portion of the column, also known as Melissaís antics. About the only thing she did right was get a good solid price while doing market research. However, the fact that she kept insisting that as a Hispanic she knows better than anyone what they should charge, instead of letting it go after her teammates disagreed with her, shows just how ďpostalĒ she can go. As Toral noted, the way Melissa expressed her point of view was not the best way to go about convincing her teammates.
Then there was the fact that she started badmouthing her teammates to Carolyn, and claimed to be doing everything herself, which was not true. Melissa also took the time to take Toral aside and tell her explicitly that she (Melissa) doesnít respect Kristi, without giving an adequate reason. However, she really sealed her fate by telling Trump, George and Carolyn, that she doesnít work well with women because her beauty and brains intimidate them. Right there, she just alienated a large chunk of Trumpís employees, and effectively served notice that she wouldnít be a good fit for any of his companies. For that alone, she belongs in the mailroom where thereís nobody who would be intimidated by her.
Week One Tally:
So whatís the tally after Week One?
Gil Sery is a freelance entertainment journalist who loves watching reality TV. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions on whom you would have picked for the corner office or mailroom.
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