The Apprentice 4: Why Markus Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/10/2005
It’s about time. Markus has been an annoyance for virtually his entire stint on The Apprentice 4. Yet each time he has screwed up, either somebody else screwed up more or his team managed to win in spite of him. Finally, the fickle firing finger of fate found him. But considering that Markus was not a presenter during the class and therefore did not cause people to rate them low, why was he singled out this particular time? Why did Markus lose?
The answers to such questions can always be found in What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned. We just have to look, so let’s get to it.
The first rule, of course, says that applicants should show leadership. Markus was actually the project manager in the first task, but practically had to be forced into it at the time. Then his team won but wouldn’t give him an exemption. Not a stellar start in the leadership arena.
Since then, Markus has been pretty well marginalized through most of the series. I know he tried to use his marginalization to blame others earlier, but I think it was about the only thing they could do. Besides, any good manager knows that sometimes you need to have certain people doing certain jobs in a task, while others perhaps are not so suited for it. I’m not quite sure what Markus might be suited for, other than perhaps blowing up balloons with all his hot air, but it was generally smart to push him off to the side. Obviously, this is not the mark of a wonderful leader.
The second rule says to stay cool under fire. Markus was frequently being fired upon, and in the Boardroom often did indeed stay cool. During the tasks I would say he stayed calm as well, but he rarely seemed able to express his thoughts when put on the spot. I don’t know if this was because of the stress involved or because he’s just a complete screw-up, so I can’t accurately describe it as a failure to stay cool under fire. Maybe just calling it “a failure” is enough.
Third is to have a backbone. Markus sometimes tried to stand up for his ideas, but the problem was that he couldn’t explain them, so often people had no idea what he was talking about. He did defend himself well in the Boardroom – well enough to make it far beyond when I thought he would have gone home. Somehow, until this most recent episode, Markus always was able to express himself better in the Boardroom than anywhere else.
After Markus was fired, he claimed it was a railroad job. First of all, this shows how delusional Markus truly is – as already noted, he could have been legitimately fired weeks ago. Second, though, it shows that while he seems to think he was a victim of plotting and scheming, the truth of the matter is that he actually reinforced the fourth rule about how it doesn’t work very well. Several times, people on his team tried to get rid of him, but it hadn’t worked. Markus was his own worst enemy – he didn’t need anybody else.
That’s not to say he didn’t have other enemies, of course. Markus failed to follow the fifth rule about playing well with others. Take the brainstorming session Alla was running in Markus’ final challenge. The rules were simple: Throw out five ideas. But Markus wouldn’t play. He wanted things his way, period. Not a smart way to convince people you’re a good team player. Even after a couple of talking-tos by the project manager, Markus was simply not going to change. Of course, this was not by any stretch the first time Markus had been a problem child, so it only made things even worse.
Indeed, that shows how a large part of Markus’ problem was that he was not thinking for the long-term. In the very first episode, Donald Trump commented several times that Markus talked too much. It was obvious even then that eventually, this would be the end of him. Well, obvious to most people – not so much to Markus.
Plus, we’ve already talked about how Markus was so often marginalized. Again, this is not a good way to show Trump that you would work well in his organization. Markus needed to step up and show himself to be worthy. Instead, during this task especially, he sat back and did nothing while the others did all the work.
Part of this may have been his plan, as Carolyn mentioned. By not doing anything, he could not be blamed for doing anything poorly. He sat back and contributed nothing, then complained about it afterwards. Somehow, I rather doubt that’s the kind of person Trump wants as the next Apprentice.
It’s difficult to say whether Markus followed the seventh rule, understanding the challenge. He thought they should have talked about time management, but never actually got that across to his teammates. It’s also ironic that a guy who takes up so much time to say so little would be interested in talking about that subject. It would be as out of place as if Adam did a class on sex! Oh. Wait. Never mind.
Similar to the seventh rule, it’s difficult to say if Markus followed the eighth, which says to be creative. Maybe he was creative in his own mind, but he had such a problem conveying it that it really didn’t matter.
The ninth rule says not to be one-dimensional. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out what dimension Markus is even from, so we’re going to have to mark him as a failure here as well.
But Markus’ biggest failure came in the final rule, using common sense. Despite having been warned about the way he acted – by teammates, project managers, and Trump himself – nothing ever sank in for Markus. It may be that, as he said at the end of the episode, Markus felt himself the target of a big conspiracy. But once again, no common sense.
Common sense should have told Markus not to just sit around, even if the group didn’t pick his topic. Sometimes, when the boss makes a decision, you just have to go with it. Then you give it your best effort. Markus didn’t. He moped and complained and couldn’t even answer the simple question put to him asking exactly what he did in the task. Then he gave responses to other questions that clearly exasperated his interviewers. Again, no common sense.
Let’s also remember that Markus thought he did an “outstanding” job in this task. Aside from Trump’s claim that nobody could have done outstanding if they lost (a statement I disagree with), the fact is that there is no way any sane person could classify Markus’ behavior in this task as “outstanding” – unless they meant he was out standing in a field somewhere while the rest of his team did the work.
Markus should have been fired weeks ago, and only stuck around because there were so many other people who were similarly worthy of being sent home. To be honest, I have a hard time believing Markus even did well in the initial interviews, and considering that Trump crowed about hand-picking this group, it forces me to wonder just what Trump thought he saw. I suppose it’s possible Markus kept himself under control if it was only a short period of time, but any discussion of any length likely would have led Markus to be Markus.
With Markus’ behavior, Trump was right to say there was no way he’d fit into the Trump organization. Carolyn was similarly right to describe the way he complained about a task and covered his own arse. Even then, he wasn’t very good at it. Markus blathered on and on without saying anything. He often failed to contribute anything at all to the challenges, especially leadership. All in all, he was a complete waste of space. That is why Markus lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other Apprentice 4 Episode 7 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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