McJob
Overview
 
McJob is slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 for a low-paying, low-prestige dead end job
Dead end job
A dead-end job is a job in which there is little or no chance of progressing and succeeding into a higher paid position. Such work is usually unskilled and the phrase usually applies to those working as shelf stackers, cleaners, or other menial jobs where the pay is low, and the hours are long....

 that requires few skills
Skill (labor)
Skill is a measure of a worker's expertise, specialization, wages, and supervisory capacity. Skilled workers are generally more trained, higher paid, and have more responsibilities than unskilled workers....

 and offers very little chance of intracompany advancement. The term McJob comes from the name of the fast-food restaurant McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

, but is used to describe any low-status job — regardless of the employer — where little training
Training
The term training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at institutes of...

 is required, staff turnover
Turnover (employment)
In a human resources context, turnover or staff turnover or labour turnover is the rate at which an employer gains and loses employees. Simple ways to describe it are "how long employees tend to stay" or "the rate of traffic through the revolving door." Turnover is measured for individual companies...

 is high, and workers' activities are tightly regulated by managers
Micromanagement
In business management, micromanagement is a management style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of her or his subordinates or employees...

. Working at a tedious, unappreciated, low paying job, especially one at a fast food restaurant, is also referred to as flipping burgers or slinging hash.
"McJob" was in use at least as early as 1986, according to the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

(OED), which defines it as "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp.
Encyclopedia
McJob is slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 for a low-paying, low-prestige dead end job
Dead end job
A dead-end job is a job in which there is little or no chance of progressing and succeeding into a higher paid position. Such work is usually unskilled and the phrase usually applies to those working as shelf stackers, cleaners, or other menial jobs where the pay is low, and the hours are long....

 that requires few skills
Skill (labor)
Skill is a measure of a worker's expertise, specialization, wages, and supervisory capacity. Skilled workers are generally more trained, higher paid, and have more responsibilities than unskilled workers....

 and offers very little chance of intracompany advancement. The term McJob comes from the name of the fast-food restaurant McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

, but is used to describe any low-status job — regardless of the employer — where little training
Training
The term training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at institutes of...

 is required, staff turnover
Turnover (employment)
In a human resources context, turnover or staff turnover or labour turnover is the rate at which an employer gains and loses employees. Simple ways to describe it are "how long employees tend to stay" or "the rate of traffic through the revolving door." Turnover is measured for individual companies...

 is high, and workers' activities are tightly regulated by managers
Micromanagement
In business management, micromanagement is a management style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of her or his subordinates or employees...

. Working at a tedious, unappreciated, low paying job, especially one at a fast food restaurant, is also referred to as flipping burgers or slinging hash.

History

"McJob" was in use at least as early as 1986, according to the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

(OED), which defines it as "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector." Lack of job security is common.

The term was coined by sociologist Amitai Etzioni
Amitai Etzioni
Amitai Etzioni is a German-Israeli-American sociologist.-Biography:In 1933, Amitai Etzioni was only four years old when the Nazis rose to power in Germany. He was separated from his family but reunited with them by the year 1947...

, and appeared in the Washington Post on August 24, 1986 in the article "McJobs are Bad for Kids".
The term was popularized by Douglas Coupland
Douglas Coupland
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist. His fiction is complemented by recognized works in design and visual art arising from his early formal training. His first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized terms such as McJob and...

's 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, published by St. Martin's Press in 1991, is the first novel by Douglas Coupland. The novel popularized the term Generation X, which refers to Americans and Canadians who reached adulthood in the late 1980s...

, described therein as "a low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one."

The term appears in the 1994 novel Interface
Interface (novel)
Interface is a 1994 novel by Neal Stephenson and George Jewsbury. It was originally sold with the author pseudonym of Stephen Bury, then reissued as being by Bury and J...

(by Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson
Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...

 and George Jewsbury
George Jewsbury
George F. Jewsbury is a historian who has collaborated on several best-selling textbooks in the Civilization: Past & Present series. He joined authors T. Walter Wallbank, Alastair M. Taylor, and Nels M. Bailkey, beginning with the single volume fifth edition...

) to describe in the abstract positions that are briefly held and underpaid. In the 1999 British film Human Traffic
Human Traffic
Human Traffic is a British independent film written and directed by Welsh filmmaker Justin Kerrigan. The film explores themes of coming of age, drug and club cultures, as well as relationships. It includes scenes provoking social commentary and the use of archive footage to provide political...

, one character's work in a generic burger outlet is referred to as a McJob.

There are often wide variations in how workers are actually treated depending on the local franchise owner. Some employees start out in entry-level
Entry-level job
An entry-level job is a job that is normally designed or designated for recent graduates of a given discipline, and does not require prior experience in the field or profession. These may require some on-site training. Many entry-level jobs are part-time, and do not include employee benefits...

 McJobs and later become assistant managers or managers, continuing to work at the same franchise for many years; however this is the exception rather than the norm. McDonald's advertises that its CEO, Jim Skinner
Jim Skinner
James Alan Skinner is an American business executive. He is the President and CEO of McDonald's Corporation. Skinner began his career with McDonald's in 1971 as a restaurant manager trainee in Carpentersville, Illinois.-Biography:...

, began working at the company as a regular restaurant employee, and that 20 of its top 50 managers began work as regular crew members.

According to Jim Cantalupo
Jim Cantalupo
James Richard Cantalupo was an American executive, serving as chairman and chief executive officer of McDonald's Corporation until his sudden death by heart attack at the age of 60.-Life:...

, former CEO
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 of McDonald's, the perception of fast-food work being boring and mindless is inaccurate, and over 1,000 of the men and women who now own McDonald's franchises
Franchising
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

 began behind the counter. Because McDonald's has over 400,000 employees and high turnover, Cantalupo's contention has been criticized as being invalid, working to highlight the exception rather than the rule.

The term "McJob" was added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2003, over the objections of McDonald's. In an open letter to Merriam-Webster, Cantalupo denounced the definition as a "slap in the face" to all restaurant employees, and stated that "a more appropriate definition of a 'McJob' might be 'teaches responsibility.'" Merriam-Webster responded that "[they stood] by the accuracy and appropriateness of [their] definition."

In 2006, McDonald's undertook an advertising campaign in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to challenge the perceptions of the McJob. The campaign, developed by Barkers Advertising and supported by research conducted by Adrian Furnham
Adrian Furnham
Adrian Furnham is a South African-born British organisational and applied psychologist, management expert and Professor of Psychology at University College London...

, professor of psychology at University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

, highlighted the benefits of working for the organization, stating that they were "Not bad for a McJob". So confident were McDonald's of their claims that they ran the campaign on the giant screens of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is a road junction and public space of London's West End in the City of Westminster, built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly...

.

On 20 March 2007, the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported that the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 arm of McDonald's planned a public petition
Petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

 to have the OED's definition of "McJob" changed. Lorraine Homer from McDonald's stated that the company feels the definition is "out of date and inaccurate". McDonald's UK CEO, Peter Beresford, described the term as "demeaning to the hard work and dedication displayed by the 67,000 McDonald's employees throughout the UK". The company would prefer the definition to be rewritten to "reflect a job that is stimulating, rewarding ... and offers skills that last a lifetime."
These comments run counter to the principle that dictionaries simply record linguistic usage rather than judge it, and that dropping the entry for "McJob" would be a precedent for bowdlerising
Thomas Bowdler
Thomas Bowdler was an English physician who published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's work, edited by his sister Harriet, intended to be more appropriate for 19th century women and children than the original....

 definitions of other derogatory terms.

During the aforementioned arguments that broke out when Merriam-Webster
Merriam-Webster
Merriam–Webster, which was originally the G. & C. Merriam Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, is an American company that publishes reference books, especially dictionaries that are descendants of Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language .Merriam-Webster Inc. has been a...

 included "McJob" in its new edition, McDonald's officials implied the company might bring a lawsuit
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 against the dictionary based on this trademark issue, but never did so. McDonald's disputes that its jobs are poor, because the company has been nominated for employee awards that are created by employers. However, this was contradicted in the outcome of the UK McLibel court case, in which the judges ruled that it was fair to say that McDonald's employees worldwide "do badly in terms of pay and conditions".

McJOBS, the trademark

McJOBS (plural, uppercase) was first registered as a trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 by McDonald's on May 16, 1984, as a name and image for "training handicapped persons as restaurant employees". The trademark lapsed in February 1992, and was declared "Canceled" by the United States Patent and Trademark Office
United States Patent and Trademark Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that issues patents to inventors and businesses for their inventions, and trademark registration for product and intellectual property identification.The USPTO is based in Alexandria, Virginia,...

. Following the October 1992 publication of Generation X
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, published by St. Martin's Press in 1991, is the first novel by Douglas Coupland. The novel popularized the term Generation X, which refers to Americans and Canadians who reached adulthood in the late 1980s...

in paperback, McDonald's restored the trademark.

See also

  • Contingent work
    Contingent work
    Contingent work, also sometimes known as casual work, is a neologism which describes a type of employment relationship between an employer and employee...

  • Maxime, McDuff & McDo
    Maxime, McDuff & McDo
    Maxime, McDuff & McDo is a 2002 documentary film by Magnus Isacsson that shows the attempt of unionizing a McDonald's restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.They were successful, but McDonald's quickly shut down the franchise after the union won....

    , a 2002 French documentary about unionization of a McDonald's in Montreal
  • McWords
    McWords
    A McWord is a word containing the prefix Mc-, derived from the first syllable of the name of the McDonald's restaurant chain. Words of this nature are either official marketing terms of the chain , or are neologisms designed to evoke pejorative associations with the restaurant chain or fast food...

  • My Secret Life on the McJob
    My Secret Life on the McJob
    My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons from Behind the Counter Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style is a book by Jerry Newman about low-wage work in fast-food outlets...

    , a 2006 book describing management lessons learned by the author, Jerry Newman, when he worked undercover in several fast food venues
  • Permatemp
    Permatemp
    A permatemp is an employee whose status is somewhere between a temporary employee and a permanent employee. The word is a portmanteau of the words permanent and temporary.There are two types of permatemp employment relationships...

  • Quality Reference Guide

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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