I’m not supposed to say any of this, because it’ll seem like showing off.  I assure you though that I’m not, because I don’t really think I have that much to show off about.

This week on The Apprentice (yes I know), that annual celebration of braggadocio and bullshit over ability and achievement, one particular contestant set himself apart.  We have become accustomed to the outrageous claims of would be Apprenti, but Alex Epstein did something that got right up my hooter.  Forget the details of the task, other than this; he was the losing project leader, and wouldn’t accept responsibility for any errors.  He got fired.  Throughout, Alex described himself as an entrepreneur.  If you take a look at Alex’s website, http://www.alexepstein.co.uk/ you can see how he describes his “Entrepreneurial Journey”.

I have to take him to task on this; and any other pillock who decides that they are an entrepreneur.  Firstly, it’s just not done to describe yourself as such, and secondly, you would surely have had to earn the title in the first place.  Now I’m not a fantastically successfully businessman.  I’ve done alright, I’ve launched four companies, employing up to 50 staff, and at one point had 2,000 temps assembling pc’s for IBM.  I’ve made a few bob, and spent most of it, and I intend making more.  I’m happy to take risks, and I’m not a natural employee.  I know that in business, my first responsibility is to pay the bills, the staff and everything else, and I get to keep what’s left over, whether it’s a lot or a little (or hee haw).

So it really irritates me when jumped up little squirts, who have only ever worked for others, or run a one-man consultancy start describing themselves as entrepreneurs, (as well as gurus, strategists, and business doctors).  Lots of people are businessmen, but only a few take the big risk with their own money and time, and their family’s futures to take a punt on something that most would run away from.  I say put up or shut up.  These self-acclaimed “entrepreneurs” are nothing of the sort, and the very kind of poltroon the rest of us want to steer well clear of.

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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