A guest blog by Betsy Bair, The Meetings Group's editorial director: I think a lot of people have been turned off at this point by the TV show, "The Apprentice," but even if you didn’t watch it this season, you may be interested to read this letter I composed to Donald Trump after the season finale.
This season, for the first time, you chose two women as the finalists to work for the Trump organization.
Whether you planned that for ratings (since the last two seasons ended with male finalists and winners, and you didn’t want any more hate mail), or whether you believed they were the two best candidates will forever remain in your and producer Mark Burnett’s hearts and minds.
However, I believe that the two women were the most qualified of the group, and you did end up hiring the best candidate of the two: Kendra.
What galls me, however, are your reasons for almost not hiring her: She cried in the board room when talking about how fantastic her team of three had performed on the final task (to project manage an important event), which clinched her lead. Obviously, it meant a lot to Kendra that she was able to pull a team together and inspire them, especially since they hadn’t gotten along earlier. Hers were tears of pride, joy, and thanks.
So while you valued her ability to lead a team, and you forgave her for crying because "it was a nice cry," you made a big deal out of the fact that she cried at all, saying that you hate it when women cry in business.
Earlier in the season you fired a male hot head, Chris, who cried when he got the finger (that finger you point, you know, when you say "you’re fired!"). You were actually kind to him when he broke down. So why was Kendra taken to task for crying?
I know a lot of successful women, me included, who have cried in front of their bosses over the span of their careers. I dare say there are successful men, too, who have cried, or at least sniffled, in front of their bosses.
Is it a sign of weakness? To you it must be. But, get used to it, Donald. When people are passionate about their work, emotion--and sometimes tears--will enter into the work place. I’ll bet you taught your sons not to cry, too?
I’ll take a Kendra over a man who can’t cry any day.
And, while I’m bashing your male chauvinism, it seemed to me that the projects you offered the winner to oversee--either to manage the Miss Universe Contest, or to remodel a Florida mansion priced at $100 million--paled in comparison to the real estate projects, including managing construction of skycrapers in big cities, that were offered to your male winners in past seasons.
As a gender, females may cry a little more often, but that doesn’t mean we can’t manage with the big boys, er, I mean, strong men. And we can handle the tall buildings, too.
Fondly, oops, I mean Sincerely,