Not getting fired 101: lessons from The Apprentice
We give you advice on how to avoid getting fired, with help from the BBC show
Week 3 of The Apprentice: time for the candidates to take a look in the Louis-Phillipe mirror, flex their mussels, and prove themselves to be the big cheese. Following this week's cross-channel negotiation task, it was Jenny that fell by the wayside. But what can her departure teach us? Allons-y!
How to avoid getting fired
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Lesson #1: Don't rely on ‘what ifs'
"If I'd have been given the manure..."
It's not a phrase you hear often in business – or anywhere else in life, for that matter – but it was Jenny's defence not once but twice: in the boardroom and in her parting words to Vana and Elle. She bemoaned the bad hand she was dealt, but the fact of life is we can't all be given that cushy manure deal to close. Jenny was the only person to finish the task empty-handed and for that she paid the price.
Key take-away: if nothing else, be sure to do the job assigned to you – if it's acquiring manure, acquire manure; if it's mussels, mussels.
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Lesson #2: Have a strategy
"It was a tale of woe"
Karen Brady eloquently described a rather shambolic performance from the girl's team. And following such a performance, it's imperative that the candidates enter the boardroom prepared for the worst.
Knowing that she hadn't managed to close a deal herself, you would hope that Jenny had a game plan if required (indeed, several of the candidates are visibly laying the groundwork for such an escape during – or even before – each task). Regrettably, she had little to offer in response to Vana's claim that she was ‘dead weight'; moreover, highlighting the nobility of letting others go first was never going to endear her to Lord Sugar. It wasn't so much a failure to talk the talk; rather she never walked the walk – or any walk – in the first place.
Key take-away: don't shy away from the limelight – know your strengths and let them shine through. Flying below the radar may work for a while, but true success comes from putting yourself out there, and doing so effectively.
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Lesson #3: To land a deal, you've got to speak to the right people
"Does Chinese do mussels?"
To be fair to Jenny, she didn't voice the question above. But, in a restaurant where she actually might have struck the deal, she took the waitress's word at face value. She'd have been far more likely to secure the required ten kilos of mussels from the manager or the head chef, but in not getting past the ‘gatekeeper' she never really stood a chance.
What's more, her response of ‘is it fundamentally no?' showed little ability to reason around this point, and stood in contrast with the likes of Gary, whose ‘that's the lowest you've ever gone… let's see if we can make history today' elicited a wry smile from the watchful Claude.
Key take-away: people make decisions; to get stuff done you need to speak to the right people. As is often said, it's not what you know but who you know
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It's not all bad…
Coming straight out of university and into The Apprentice is a bit like coming out of a gently simmering pot and into an inferno. Having the confidence to do such a thing – and retaining that confidence while being told you're fired (by Lord Sugar no less) – is an impressive trait. On paper, Jenny has a lot going on for her, and keeping that self-belief should do her wonders.