The Apprentice 2 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 4: Zagat's the Way it Crumbles, Cookie-Wiseby Mike DeGeorge -- 10/04/2004
Just in case you're wondering, Heidi "Love Love LOVED" the column last week. Let's hope I can keep her happy…
I've been worried, writing these articles, that maybe the only reason I like Mosaic and have such a seething hatred for Apex is due to some sort of unconscious mysogynistic attitude. So I asked a number of professional women at work who also watch this show, and along with Carolyn, it seems to be unanimous: none of these women deserve to be on the show, let alone win.
We didn't see a whole lot of the men's team, mainly because they worked smoothly while the women were better television.
Kelly and Wes: And the problem with not having much shown of your team is that a couple team members get left out. That means you.
John: You did an exceptional job on the paintings! I'm usually the first to deride modern art (as longtime readers may remember), but those look like something I would hang on my wall. On the chance you don't win, you should definitely open a website to sell some of those. In addition, you managed to turn the "gay table" around. Now, they could have just been reacting badly to Chris, but in any case, smoothing over an unsatisfied customer takes a lot of charm. That's a good thing for a manager to have - ask Bill.
Kevin: As Betsy alluded to in her recap, you automatically became one of my favorites with your defense of Stacie. As you said, and I said in this column last week, none of them had any right to judge her mental state.
And a note to Betsy: I don't know about you, but my columns are SO IMPORTANT that they are capable of travelling backward in time and changing the results of the show. So there.
Pamela: That was really funny, pretending to spill that red drink on the customer with the white coat. Oh, wait, it wasn't. It's funny to do it to your friend, or spouse. It's not funny when the noticeably jumpy customer is going to fill out a form grading you on your service in a few minutes, idiot!
According to the previews, you go over to Apex next week, which in my mind is like throwing an anchor to a drowning man. I've grown to hate your smug attitude over the last four weeks, and am very glad you won't be around to screw up the "good team."
Andy: You were in charge of service, which wasn't very good, by your own admission. Even so, you beat the women in service, not to mention impressed Bill and Carolyn. Maybe it's just because I like you, but very often in your career, you will be forced to perform a task at which you may not be very proficient. It's how you handle it that counts, and I think you handled it well.
Chris: Being in retail sales for a long time, I quite enjoyed your training session with the group. But you have to be careful about your attitude because you come off as very cocky and insufferable. This is the first week I've seen enough of you to make any sort of comment, and it's a negative. Not good, Chris.
Raj: I'm glad you took the reigns as Project Manager, but I wish you would have ceded the title to Chris upon learning of his experience. As it was, it made you look weak when you want to look strong, as it appeared to the viewer that Chris did all the work. That may not have been the case, but that's how it appeared. However, the other argument says that the best managers work behind the scenes, so I've giving you a pass this week based solely on the fact that your team was the proverbial "well-oiled machine."
If you ever need to come up with a slogan, may I suggest, "Apex Corporation: Finding new and original ways to lose every week." I mean, I hear the Cleveland Browns are coming to you for advice on how to lose!
Jennifer M.: You were so quick to blame Elizabeth and come to Stacie's defense… in the suite. Not standing up for her in the boardroom makes you one thing: a hypocrite. I hope you don't take similar ethical stands with your law clients: "Well, I know you're innocent, but I figured it would do more good to say so after the case was over." Even if you are right about Elizabeth…
EDIT: I've gotten a ton of emails about Jennifer's evaluation, claiming she did come to Stacie's defense in the boardroom. I wanted to leave the above intact, but clarify a little.
Perhaps saying "hypocrite" was a little strong, and my example wasn't very good. The fact remains, Jennifer is a lawyer. Had she felt strongly about Stacie, she should have stood up (figuratively) and declared it. She didn't come to Stacie's defense so much as refrain from attacking her. Trump said, numerous times, that "the entire group" was against her. Why did she not correct him? It's possible to correct Trump, if you do it politely.
The problem I have, in short, is that the miniscule argument in the boardroom did not justify her haughty attitude in the suite. It is commendable that she made an effort, but trying to take the high road later on is indefensible.
Elizabeth: Oy. Not to bring an "emotional woman" argument, but is there a reason every time that you're yelled at or disagreed with you turn into an unintelligible blob of goo? If you're frustrated by your team's performance, whining about it isn't going to help. If you're not given the proper resources, do the best job you can do with what you have. If you fail, then you can make the claim that you were doomed to fail from the start. However, crying that you're going to fail before you even try is like a flashing neon "loser" sign above your head.
Ivana: I'm shocked! You actually did a decent job this week! Of course, your main contribution that we saw was trying to prevent the "clumping" of women. It's not much, but compared to your past performance it ranks right up there with sliced bread. Hey, being on the opposite side of the fence as Jennifer C. is bound to make anyone look good.
Maria: Your snipping at Elizabeth in the beginning of the show just proves that you had no idea that you actually were the one to lose the challenge. Failure to take responsibility is, to me, the absolute WORST flaw for a manager to have (aside from committing fraud and such). Why? In order to fix things that go wrong, you need to know what went wrong. It might get you fired, true, but we're not talking about the boardroom, we're talking about the suite. Just look at Rudy Guiliani. In any case, you've YET to show any marketable skill except for bitching and pointing a finger.
Sandy: You were in charge of décor, which got the lowest score on the review. Trump, Bill, and Carolyn obviously thought you belonged in the boardroom, and I agree with them, but don't for a second think you should have been fired over it. Not this season, to be sure, as performance in the task seems to have little correlation with being fired.
I also like how you did not allow your "friendship" with Jen C. to get in your way in the boardroom. Some might call it stabbing someone in the back, but I call it integrity. Just because she liked your décor is no reason to throw the blame on someone else. And I should also point out that you took the credit/blame for the décor, only to be interrupted by Jen (I know, shocking, isn't it?)
Stacy: I really have nothing to say - you did nothing wrong! You did your best to help the team, but were overwhelmed by the incredible negative power of Jennifer C. I can say I might be persuaded to possibly be slightly impressed. We'll see.
Jennifer C.: Nice "simple idea" to go for one of the most complicated menu types on the planet, isn't it? Carolyn said pretty much everything about you that I could possibly say. Making executive decisions is fine, but remember when Bradford did it? He realized his mistake and changed his mind. You stubbornly refused to take any advice, even from Zagat, the entity that would determine your fate! And then you lied about it in the boardroom! For those of you who didn't see the Saturday extended boardroom or the Insider videos, Stacy insisted on asking Zagat to help determine the food type, and they told her that Asian fusion was a horrible idea based on the amount of time they had. And when Stacy told Jen C., she hung up on Stacy. Then she denied the whole thing in the boardroom, where everyone else called her on it. Wonderful leadership. See my advice to Maria about that.
And how about constantly belittling everyone? Calling Stacy "the little one," going on and on about the "fat Jewish women," the almost obsessive need to flip everybody off. Is your self esteem so low that you have to cut down everyone around you? And how do you justify ARGUING WITH THE CUSTOMERS about the décor?
Since you don't seem to get it, I'll spell it out for you: The reason you failed is that you decided to do whatever you wanted instead of trying to determine what would best win you the task. You refused to listen to ANYONE, even in the boardroom when Carolyn and Bill were trying to help you. You consistently LIED about the task - you denied hearing about the Zagat opinion, even though the proof was on tape. You denied, denied, denied, and made up events that didn't happen, such as the "grabbed you by the shoulders" comment to Elizabeth.
You had the wrong kind of food, the wrong décor, the wrong dress for the group, you even took the wrong people into the boardroom and tried to pass the "she's crazy" nonsense twice in two weeks… did you do anything right? You can't mess up so severely and succeed. Or avoid being fired. Twice.
Oh, and one more thing. In Episode Two's boardroom, you said you'd never make the mistake of speaking up again. Yeah, right. Let me repeat and emphasize. Sometimes, you just have to SHUT. THE. HELL. UP. Try it sometime.
Mike DeGeorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and has almost ten years of management experience. He is also Assistant Editor of RNO. Email Mike at email@example.com.
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