Sharpton, Spike TV make `Job' offer you can't refuse
By Amy Amatangelo
Sunday, November 7, 2004
Bosses everywhere should be afraid.
``I Hate My Job,'' a new reality series from Spike TV, might inspire employees to walk into work and say, ``Take this job and shove it.''
Let's be honest. Many of us have dreamed of uttering two beautiful words: ``I quit.''
The ``network for men'' gives eight lucky guys that chance in ``I Hate My Job,'' debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. Hosted by a surprisingly inspirational Rev. Al Sharpton [related, bio], the eight-episode series gives ordinary, hard-working men a chance to pursue their secret dreams.
It hones in on what keeps all of us showing up to work every day. These men have financial obligations and good jobs with benefits and security. But Josh, a preschool teacher, dreams of becoming a club promoter. Art, the software supply salesman, wants to build custom motorcycles. Most surprisingly, there's Jim, a lawyer at a posh Beverly Hills firm who wants to make people laugh for a living. Part of living your dream is being able to say it out loud. It had to be hard for the Harvard-educated attorney to risk ridicule and tell his colleagues, ``I have this dream to become a stand-up comedian.''
In the premiere, the men audition for Sharpton and life counselor Stephanie Raye with tasks from their desired professions. Jeff, the sheet metal foreman who wants to be an actor, performs a Shakespearean soliloquy, and Frank, who shovels manure and dreams of being the next black supermodel, walks the runway in three outfits.
At the end of the episode, four men are cut from the competition.
``Don't let a bad performance define you,'' Sharpton says. ``Many, many years ago, I gave a bad speech and nobody remembers.''
Even Sharpton's cliches are motivating.
``Life is like a basketball game: You dribble, you take your shots.''
With all the reality shows full of fast cash, quick surgical fixes and backstabbing, the old-fashioned idea behind ``I Hate My Job'' is charming. It's worth it to pursue your dream even if you fail at first.
The stakes are raised in episode two when the four remaining contestants actually must quit their jobs. We won't reveal who makes the cut here, but one of the real strengths of the show is that all the contestants are easy to relate to and worth rooting for. They like their bosses and, despite their loathing of their careers, have some guilt over leaving.
``I don't know how I'm going to tell Marilyn. She's so nice. She's going to be so sad. I don't know if I can do it,'' one finalist says.
``I have a sense of duty and a sense of loyalty. I don't want to feel like I'm walking out on people,'' another says.
Their agony over leaving their financial security and co-workers makes their triumphant moment of quitting that much sweeter.
Smartly edited, well-cast and with the right amount of heart, ``I Hate My Job'' deserves a raise - or a least good ratings.