Melissa Cohen’s exit from BBC’s Apprentice episode 4 is the most dramatic yet.
She dispenses with the usual programme etiquette of shaking hands and hugs when she gets fired. Instead she rounds on her “colleagues” in front of Lord Sugar and accuses them of being “horrible people” for ganging up on her.
Was her response premeditated? Probably. Whatever her motivation in being ungracious in defeat, it certainly didn’t help her cause. The game is over.
From the comfort of our armchairs we can pile on the pressure. To be fair she was truly awful to watch. But this was far-fetched wasn’t it? Escapist entertainment perhaps, nothing like real life?
One thing Mel did achieve was to make us sit up and listen. Ugly as it was, it was certainly unforgettable.
I was impressed how Lord Sugar focused almost entirely on her lack of delivery. She said she was very good at sales. She didn’t deliver. Period.
It takes a cool head not to focus on the outburst, particularly when you are in the thick of it.
In the real world and I suspect here too, Mel’s actions will have an enduring effect. Try as we might to bury corporate unpleasantness, it never really goes away.
The more sensitive types will make a mental note to try and include “her” (or people like her) in the team more, or wonder how to be more up-front with a person like her.
The pressure she was under was monumental. We could reduce this pressure in our workplaces and discover more performance perhaps?
But from Mel’s perspective she simply could not “hear” the feedback she was receiving until it was far too late. It takes real skill in a team manager to make any progress with obduracy like this.
It usually takes quite a disaster to precipitate quite a change. Could this be the time for Melissa? Oh its tough!
By the time of the follow up show on BBC2 she had totally changed her appearance. Maybe just maybe…
See also: next episodes: Alex Epstein: was it unfair dismissal?