First off, let me just say that I am not a huge fan of reality television. Give me good old fashioned scripted comedies and dramas any day. The exception to this rule is creative, competition shows. Project Runway and Top Chef, anything by Gordon Ramsay, King of the Nerds (that last one may not count) I will watch and thoroughly enjoy. Probably because I am a crafty person myself who loves to cook and when I watch these shows I’m inspired to go out and create things myself and that’s the attraction.
My pet peeve, the thing that sticks in my craw, the thing that really grinds my gears with these shows is the one person, and almost every show and every season has one or more, that utters the infamous words “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win.” Oh how I cringe when they say it and you can see on their smug socially awkward faces that they truly believe they are saying something good or at least admirable about themselves. In their mind they have street smarts, they’ve come through the school of hard knocks and they have earned their world weary cynicism. They believe that ultimately like so many hard-as-nails, independent, titans of industry that have come before, their self-serving attitude will pay off.
I beg to differ, from what I understand, industries like fashion and cooking are very much communities where reputation is important and collaborations are commonplace. The very existence of websites like LinkedIn would support my assertion that networking is indeed important. If the people you are currently competing against were to go on and win or have successful careers in that industry why wouldn’t you want to be friends with them? In fact it is more likely that you won’t win the show. So why not hedge your bets? Instead of coming out the other side with nothing to show for your time and effort. The inference is that a bad attitude will somehow help you in the competition when really all it does is make you look like a douchebag with delusions of grandeur. Not to mention the impression you’re making on the judges who are usually pretty influential and important. Proving that you are a creative and competent team player could lead to a job with one of them at some point down the road. I know that the producers of these shows are always manipulating our perceptions and people are not always how they appear on television. But saying just this one line makes an impression on people. And is that the message you want to put out in the world?
I personally am a fan of the win-win way of looking at things. Because it would be great if you won and made friends along the way. And hey, if you don’t agree with any of this you can tell me in the comments but be warned I didn’t get into blogging to make friends. Oh wait, that’s exactly why I did!