Nearly ten years ago I got an airline job in Belgium. It seemed like a great idea as it was going to help me improve my (practically non-existent) French. In practice, this idea was not as brilliant as I thought. Local citizens and my customers looked down on me – because if one can’t speak French, one clearly must be a loser and a low class being. And so my initial enthusiasm turned into disgust towards the language and everything French (apart from croissants – I do like those).
My stay in Belgium turned out to be depressing rather than educational. I didn’t have the courage to go to my local pub because I’d get some weird looks. Whatever else was happening around was happening in French. I ate in McDonald’s because “Big Mac” sounds the same in any language. There was only so much computer gaming I could do without turning into an odd geeky asocial. I hated exercise. So TV was the most viable pastime. This was before the time of Netflix and Amazon Prime and the only English TV channel I managed to catch was BBC 1. What a life saver!
I watched it all – from Homes Under the Hammer to Songs of Praise, but my all time favourite was the Apprentice. Oh how I loved observing the cocky yet majorly useless candidates making stupid decisions and blaming it on their peers. Fun!
You know, when watching a quiz show, for instance the Chase, from the comfort of your sofa, you perform much better than the contestants. You get all the questions right, take the high offer and victoriously outsmart the chaser. Then you go on and on about how well you’d do if you went on the show, yet everyone (including yourself) knows that you will never ever have the courage to do so.
Similarly, I sat in front of TV and each new Apprentice episode convinced me further that I have a great business mind and would do much better than the contestants. So I took an action. No, I didn’t apply to be Lord Sugar’s business partner. I signed up for an MBA because it appeared that MBA was the degree the most candidates had and were proud of.
So let this be a warning to you – watching TV can inspire you. Oh, and it can also prove to be costly. Now here I am a few years later, £11 thousand poorer (scholarship included), yet with broader horizons and a fancy MBA title, tremendously enjoying this year’s Apprentice. Thanks Lord Sugar 😉