What Reality TV Teaches Us About Work Ethic

Written by Brandy Thomson

CBS’ new reality competition show “The Job” is catching criticism for exploiting the issues of recession and unemployment in the U.S. The show features contestants who compete for mid-level jobs with high-profile employers like Live Nation, Epic Records and Cosmopolitan magazine, according to AOL Jobs.

An article in the New York Post blasted the program, calling it “offensive” because the contestants were being taken advantage of for average, middle-class jobs, and turns the “massive human toll into a spectacle.”

Producer Mark Burnett defended the show, saying it portrays a “kinder approach on television” and does nothing to embarrass contestants like “American Idol” and other high-profile competition shows.

Whether you agree with Burnett or the views from the Post, reality shows that feature career-driven competition are on the rise and can actually be a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. Entertainment blogs like the one on www.cable.tv devote themselves to covering them, and despite the fact that these shows are entertainment, they do offer some insight on the inner-workings of successful CEOs such as Mark Cuban who give many of these contestants a wake-up call during competition.

You’re Always On Stage

Think about your small talk with co-workers. Is it work related? If so, is it positive or are you venting about your job? There’s no harm in blowing off steam, but thoughts that are poisonous can often turn to negative motivation and action.

A Boston Market employee on “Undercover Boss” learned this lesson the hard way when he opened his mouth to (he didn’t know at the time) his CEO. According to The Blaze, the employee who assumed his boss was just another co-worker told him that he “hated customers more than anything in the entire world.” He was fired immediately.

Now, this guy was on stage, as he had cameras in his face recording every word he was saying. So, you have more common sense than to make such a monumental career-killer, but the show underlines a much bigger issue that a lot of us can fall victim to— action reflects attitude.

Check Your Ego at the Door

The New York Post article that criticizes the concept behind “The Job” says the show dangles “the prospect of an unspecified mid-level position in front of desperate contestants, who degrade themselves by telling their most pathetic personal histories in the paradoxical quest to regain some dignity.”

Harsh words, and probably completely unfair. The first episode debuts Feb. 8, but we hardly see the opportunity to start a career a way of exploitation. As said before, these shows are here for ratings and entertainment, but that doesn’t mean they’re void of merit. The problem with issues like the Post is that they assume there is dignity in turning down a chance to move up. Do you think our grandfathers would have turned down a job in their era? Even if you’re on display for the whole nation to see, and maybe laugh at, the recession doesn’t leave us with as much opportunity as we’d like.

About Brandy Thomson
Brandy has been a consultant for moguls and a few celebrities. Now that she’s running her own talent agency, she loves spreading her wisdom online.

What Reality TV Teaches Us About Work Ethic

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