McJobbed

Dear McDonald’s,

I realize that you’d like to remove all negative connotations surrounding the ample job opportunities that your company provides. But your latest foray against dictionary creators and their inclusion of the word ‘McJob’ seems a bit, shall we say, odd.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘McJob’ as “an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.”

Now, having worked at a McDonald’s in the early 1990′s, let me provide my own assessment of your job compared against the definition that the OED provides.

Unstimulating? This is probably the weakest point of the entire definition, as what’s stimulating for one person may not be stimulating for another. But in my experience, the job itself was rather rote. It was not much of a challenge to set up the store every morning, and running drive-thru quickly became an assembly line operation. The only thing that broke up the monotony of the job was the small percentage of customers who were so friendly that their appearance seemed to equate that of a sighting of a white whale.

Low-paid job? Hell yes. I was single, working 30+ hours at McD’s, and also selling a bit of writing here and there, and doing a paid-performance here and there, and I still required government assistance (food stamps) in order to make ends meet. Working for minimum wage can do that to a person.

As a side note, remember Chris Rock’s take on minimum wage (and I’m paraphrasing here) – “If a company is paying you minimum wage, it means that they want to pay you less, but legally can’t”.

Oh, and benefits? There were some if I were a full time employee, but it was made sure by management that I rarely got 40 hours of work. The same for tuition reimbursement.

Few Prospects? The only prospects provided to most Fast-food workers is to go into fast food management, where a person can then get paid a salary, working additional hours without the 40+ overtime wage that the hourly employees were required to get. However, it should be said that once a person made it into management, benefits would kick in.

Now unless things have changed in the past sixteen years, I can’t see how the OED’s definition is incorrect.

So perhaps it’s the ‘Mc’ part of the word that has you in a fit. But the fact is that your restaurants have led the way in franchising and implementing the idea of globalization into your business strategy. You have more stores than any other service sector companies out there, on the planet. Because of this, it doesn’t take that great of a leap of logic to determine that you are currently the worldwide leader in providing low paying jobs with limited opportunities, and have been for almost a generation now. You may not have invented low paying jobs with limited advancement, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve made the most money off of it.

But what really confuses me is the following line in the Chicago Tribune piece on your recent battles:

McDonald’s executives say the definition is demeaning to its workers.

So let me get this straight – your corporation underpays workers, provides little opportunities for advancement, provides little in the way of health benefits, provides little to no benefits regarding tuition reimbursement, and it’s the dictionary that’s demeaning to workers?

Color me puzzled at your logic.

Love Sincerely,

-Kate


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