My current guilty pleasures are Design Star on HGTV, Food Network Star on Food Network, and Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef on Fox. I noticed something interesting on Food Network Star program. In that show, contestants jump through a series of cuisine-related tests which they either pass or fail. One contestant left at the end will be given their own show and become absorbed into Food Network as one of The Network's a celebrity chefs.
I capitalized The Network because that is what Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson are called. Mr Tuschman is General Manager/Senior Vice President for Food Network. Ms Fogelson is Food Network and Cooking Channel Senior Vice President Marketing & Brand Strategy. They are the two top executives who sample the food, give feedback to the contestants, and eventually make the ultimate decision: which contestant stays and which one goes.
However at the end of each testing session when the contestants receive feedback, The Network bosses' feedback is often conflicting, unclear, and contradictory.
If you haven't been following this season's show then this won't be as compelling to you, but here I go:
Well, on the latest episode, he was doing a live demonstration, and they planted a heckler to see how he would respond. He did good for the first three heckles from the same guy but by the fourth he made a slightly snarky remark out if frustration. (It was the 4th heckle after all from the same guy after all...) Afterward, they told him to watch the snark. But after all, he is a rebel with a culinary cause. I guess you can say you're a rebel but don't you dare act like it...
When your boss gives you conflicting directions on what is expected it is disorienting. You want to please your boss and when you go forward based on the directions you're given but the rug is pulled out from under you it gets old fast. One of the things I've least enjoyed about this season's Food Network Star is that one aspect alone. I have enjoyed the team approach with the contestants divided into groups with one mentor. I can keep track of the contestants easier and I am also getting to know the mentors. They are Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay, each a long-time star on the network themselves). I like the wholesome quality of the show in that there is no bitterness (aired) between contestants (unlike Hell's Kitchen which is so bad I had to turn it off). I like the food tests and I learn more about different dishes. But The Network, Bob and Susie, give conflicting advice every week. It is becoming insufferable.
If you have a boss who communicates clear expectations and is consistent with his or her follow through (as I do) then you know that it is a blessing. It is good in two ways, it reduces the general stress, and it makes it easier to do a good job.
Ultimately that is why I watch reality tv. I'll never cook any of the things I see on the show and I will never watch any of the show winner's programs. But I like to see how people act. Watching real folks on tv react to a situation where I'm am not personally invested, it's not happening to me or around me, and so I can watch more objectively. I can see clearly how humility shows through (Christine Ha on Masterchef). How unattractive abrasiveness is (Monti Carlo on MasterChef). How ugly profanity is (everyone on Hell's Kitchen). How beautiful self-sacrifice can be (Felix giving blind Christine the salmon, "Because I love her".) And how ultimately self-defeating and inefficient bosses are who give constantly conflicting expectations. I with Bob and Susie would go on a show ... I'd vote them off.