The Apprentice 4: Why Jennifer W. Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/07/2005
Donald Trump made it clear that he thought Toral should have been fired after the women’s failure in the techno expo (or, as Jennifer W.’s cake called it, the “Tethno Expo”). But Rebecca wanted no part of that. Unlike Martha Stewart, Trump stuck with one of Rebecca’s choices – and Rebecca managed to get out of the Boardroom in one piece. How did Jennifer W. end up taking the blame? Why did Jennifer W. lose?
As always, we will look at these questions and others in the light of What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned. The explanation is in there, I assure you, so let’s find it.
The first rule says applicants need to show leadership. Jennifer W. did not live up to this role – in fact, I’m not sure I even remember her being on the show over the first two episodes! She had three opportunities to volunteer to be Project Manager, and we didn’t see her even attempt it in any of them.
But it’s possible to show leadership in other ways. As the rule notes, “Trump… will still want to see leadership. You should volunteer for a significant role, step up, take a stand.” Jennifer did end up with a very significant role as the event planner, but she screwed it up – she failed to “step up.” The event was laid out poorly, did not draw people in, had bad food, and even has a misspelling on the cake that nobody noticed until Carolyn. Yikes.
She didn’t do much better in the second rule, staying cool under fire. When Rebecca was asked by Trump after the challenge who the weakest link was, Rebecca didn’t hesitate to name Jennifer W. Jennifer pretty much went into hysterics when she returned to the suite, whining and crying. She’s just lucky she wasn’t on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, because Martha said women in business don’t cry – Jennifer would have been fired for sure. Oh. Wait. Never mind.
Anyway, Jennifer simply couldn’t believe that Rebecca had done that to her. Frankly, it was a ridiculous little tantrum. While we didn’t see her behave that way in the Boardroom, I do think some of it carried over – the look on her face was one that seemed likely to break out in tears at any moment.
Third is to have a backbone. After recovering from her woe-is-me fit, Jennifer did attempt to fight back in the Boardroom. However, her biggest push was to say that seven smart women couldn’t be wrong. Well, Jennifer, I have something to tell you: Yes they can.
Let me go into a little tangent here. I absolutely HATE when people say they must be right because they are with the majority. For one thing, if you are right, then prove it – don’t just rely on other people who share your opinion. For another, history is filled with examples of the vast majority of people “knowing” something and being wrong. Everybody used to “know” that the sun revolved around the Earth. Could all those people have been wrong? Well, yes. A vast majority of people used to “know” that people with darker skin were subhuman. Could all those people have been wrong? Absolutely.
In a more business-related sense, I was in a meeting not too long ago in which I was making a point to my boss’ boss and several other people. I was the only one in the room who was getting it, and faced argument from all five other people in the room, including a lawyer who I was specifically saying was wrong. One of the men in the room told me that if everybody in the room disagrees with me, I must be wrong. From my tangent so far, you can imagine how well I took that comment. To make a long story short, I was right, and by the end of the meeting everybody else came away agreeing with me (if somewhat begrudgingly in a couple cases).
And just looking back at last week’s episode of The Apprentice, it appears Jennifer learned nothing from Chris’ loss. Almost everybody on the men’s team blamed Markus last week and said he should go. But Trump disagreed. So were all those intelligent men wrong? Or was Jennifer?
Getting back on point, Jennifer took a stand, but it was the wrong one. She should not have harped on what everybody else thought, but rather on the fact that one of the comments read to them was that they needed more people helping who knew what they were doing. That wasn’t Jennifer’s job, that was Toral’s, and she blew it. Since Toral wasn’t in the Boardroom, Jennifer should have made the case that the only logical choice for Trump to fire would be Rebecca.
Moving to the fourth rule, we need to look back a couple paragraphs. This rule says that scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. The majority of the women, however, thought that it would, and joined together to target Toral. So much for that. Eventually, people should get it through their heads that this is not Survivor. Alliances can be useful (just ask Toral!), but they should not be relied upon as the sole defense mechanism.
The fifth rule says to play well with others, but stay professional. Jennifer’s problem in this regard was that she was part of the group (a majority, but like I just said above, that doesn’t mean anything) who pushed Toral and Rebecca to the outside. Thus, when Rebecca was Project Manager, it left Jennifer open to possible targeting.
Really, though, Rebecca was the one who seemingly failed here. It came off to just about everybody that Rebecca chose to save Toral based on friendship rather than ability. She called it loyalty, which was a smart thing to do since we all know Trump values loyalty quite highly. In the end, she convinced Trump to give her a pass and place the majority of the blame on Jennifer.
Sixth is the focus on the long-term. I’m not sure that we can really judge Jennifer against this rule, since we didn’t really see that she had an opportunity one way or the other.
But the seventh rule is to understand the challenge, and we can certainly say a few things about this. As already mentioned, Jennifer failed to do her part in this challenge. She needed to understand that success or failure was measured based on the people filling out surveys, and every little thing could be a factor. The look and feel of any event certainly will play into how people rate it, and Trump even noted in the Boardroom that the task was about creating an inviting environment.
Sure, Toral screwed up the TV, but did that totally turn people off? Or was it because they found it a cold environment overall? It’s hard to say since we only heard the final scores. But one thing is certain: When Jennifer claimed in the Boardroom that it wasn’t her food that caused them to lose, she really had no way of knowing. They only lost by 0.2 points! While we don’t know for sure, I have to think that the overall presentation – including the look and feel, food, and lack of warmth – was more important to those two points than whether Toral could get the TV working at one particular station at certain specific times.
The eighth rule tells players to be creative. Was that expo creative? Simply put: No. It looked a bit like something school kids would do. Check that, school kids would have probably been more creative. The women seemed to slap together some things and throw it out there – and Jennifer was supposed to be in charge of setting up the layout.
Ninth is to not be one-dimensional. I’m not sure that Jennifer showed us any dimensions, but I want to take this opportunity to go on another small tangent. Trump indicates that Toral should have been brought to the Boardroom and fired. I disagree. Toral couldn’t figure out how to work a TV. Unless Trump is looking for a personal TV operator, I really don’t think that has much to do with becoming his Apprentice. That is one dimension that really is not terribly important. Instead, I would blame Rebecca or whomever might have been in charge of the electronics portion of the show (if there was anybody else). That person should have made sure everybody knew their part. If Toral couldn’t figure it out, she should have been quickly replaced.
Tangent over (again), so let’s move to the final rule, using common sense. Part of this rule says Project Managers should pay attention to what Trump is telling them in the Boardroom. Rebecca knew full well that Trump wanted her to bring back Toral, but she resisted. Lucky for her, she was able to explain why.
But as we’ve already discussed, Jennifer was unable to fully explain why Rebecca should be fired instead. Common sense says you’d better have a good reason – and “because we say so” isn’t really the best one out there.
She made other common sense errors as well. First, there was the cake. How can anybody let a cake go out in public with a misspelling? Second, there was the layout of the event. Yes, I’ve harped on this already, but even people who don’t have experience in event planning should have known that the layout was horrible – I know I did! And Jennifer supposedly had that experience.
In the end, Trump made the right decision – not just among the women in the Boardroom, but among the whole team. George couldn’t believe Jennifer thought it looked fine. Carolyn thought the women lost because of their poor presentation. Trump thought the women lost because of their poor presentation. Jennifer W. was responsible for planning and setting up the way everything was presented. That is why Jennifer W. lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Apprentice 4 Episode 3 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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