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Monday, April 19, 2004

Guilty Pleasure 

Ok - I'll admit it. I am a huge fan of The Apprentice. With my schedule I very seldom got to see the first go-round, but never had a problem finding the re-run some time during the week.

Finally, finally a reality show that I could enjoy. I was beginning to think I was the only person in America that couldn't find a reality show to focus on.

Leave it to Donald Trump. Not that I'm a fan of his, persay. I Just Love This Show. I understand it. I Want To Be On It. More than I can say. Not for anything more than to just say I did it, and for the competition.

I won't bore you with the complete recap. I'll just give a few of my impressions.

Trump seemed surprised that the girls did so well, until intagrated with the guys. My opinion. They mis-used their "advantages" and it got them ahead in the beginning but when they were required to stand up and do the task using just brains, initiative and business sense they allowed the men to intimidate them. (That won't win me any awards from a lot of woman.) unfortunately many young woman make that same mistake. They fall into one of two courts. They either play on their feminitity or they are Omarosa's and played only by their own rules, so focused on being "tough" that they never made connections.

Being a woman in the business world, and trying to make it up the corporate ladder is not rocket science folks. I watched my Mother thrive in a man's world in the late 60's early 70's. I never knew there was a glass ceiling until I hit it myself in the 90's. I'll admit it was discouraging, but I certainly didn't let it stop me.

It's an easy formula. First is to get a good education. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish college so I have to make up for that in other ways. I took many "starting level" positions and just worked my way up. In the steel business, I started as a temporary typing up bill of ladings. That lead to working on a team creating the computer system to replace me. Then they asked me to stay and train the union guys on how to run that computer system. Next thing I know I'm a secretary in the technology department - but I can't type and I don't know the first thing about filing. But I understand the way the mill works, I know the people that do the job and I have proven to be a person that will learn what I need to do the position. The climb continued: helping to create our quality system, calling on processors and eventually moving to Corp and landing an automotive sales position. All that in less than 18 months. Not Bad. I was courted by our international division and had to turn down that position (ex-husband was afraid of any international travel).

When I switched sales gears and went to consumer products believe me when I tell you no one understood that one. Steel to orange juice? My response - sales is sales. OJ vs. Steel, they both turn orange at some point. Still, I had to prove myself all over again. I started out as a temp answering phones. Asked if I could help with a new account they just landed (Wal-mart, nothing major), and built some databases and did some analysis. Next thing I know I'm a full time team member. Then assigned retail execution and told to make it work, no matter what. We did - got Vendor of the year that year. Oh, and did I mention that during that time my boss was promoted and I had to run the whole thing with little supervision. I Loved It. That led to more and more responsibilities and more opportunities to prove myself.

OK - enough bragging. :) My point is that it's all about work. Lots of hard work. It's that way for anyone that truly succeeds. Oh, I'm not adverse to using my "advantages" every now and then. I'm known for skirts above the knees when making cold calls. (not micro mini - just show a little leg). That gets me in the door. When I'm in the door I damn well better know my stuff and have a plan or I just wasted everyone's time. Looks and charm help, but to me they are just the appetizer of a big meal. You better have a darn good main course (know your product/business and be able to think quickly on your feet) or it's a bust.

Anyway - I think Bill was the right choice. He was smooth and charming, but focused on what the end result was. While being a team player, when he was in charge he did a pretty good job of following up on the details. Micro managing is not making sure that what needs to happen happens. Micro managing is trying to do it all yourself.

I'm sad I can't be on the show. I'll watch the next go round. I'll be sitting in my living room, talking to the T.V., telling these young people what they are doing right and wrong. Hmmm - maybe I should hook up a webcam and offer consulting services, live during the show


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