Magazine article Newsweek

Reality Check: 'Can I Have a Few Weeks off?'; the Lure of Shows like 'Apprentice' Is a Headache for Bosses

Magazine article Newsweek

Reality Check: 'Can I Have a Few Weeks off?'; the Lure of Shows like 'Apprentice' Is a Headache for Bosses

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel McGinn with Keith Naughton

For "The Apprentice" contestants, high drama usually happens in Donald Trump's boardroom. But reality shows can create different conflicts: the kind that erupt when an employee tells the boss she wants weeks off work to canoodle with a dwarf on "The Littlest Groom." Last month Randi Coy was forced to leave her teaching job after taking too much time off to star in "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." Even Trump questions the wisdom of Kwame Jackson, who quit Goldman Sachs for "The Apprentice." "I would not do that," he says.

As work-life conflicts go, this one pales beside requests for, say, maternity leave. Still, with thousands of people applying to these shows annually, many workers apparently contemplate asking for leaves. The question "How can these contestants take months off from a job?" reverberates on fan Web sites. "Survivor," which requires 39 days of filming, counsels contestants on how to ask for time off. …

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