McDonalds Wants To Literally Redefine "McJob"

Webster’s dictionary defines McJob as, “a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement,” a definition that McDonalds’ lobbyists are working overtime to overturn.

The company is leading a “word battle” on behalf of the wider service sector. The object, according to David Fairhurst, a senior vice-president of McDonald’s, is to change the definition of McJob to “reflect a job that is stimulating, rewarding … and offers skills that last a lifetime.”

The Oxford English Dictionary, which specifically notes that McJobs are “unstimulating,” claims that they track the popular usage of words, and do not respond to pressure from interest groups. What do you think? Tell us in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Can McDonald’s Alter the Dictionary? [Time]
(Photo: Tom Simpson)

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  1. asherchang says:

    Maybe they can focus their efforts to redefine the word in the truthiness encyclopedia, http://www.wikiality.com/Main_Page. Cuz seriously, how can lobbyists get an objective dictionary to stop describing the truth?

  2. Spooty says:

    I figured I’d get a jump on this before the McDonald’s-haters swarm in.
    I have no particular love for or beef (ha!) with McDonalds. Some of its employees are dead-end slackers, some are just making a living, and some work hard, try to do a great job, and will succeed and rise in the industry.
    That being said, everyone knows, fairly precisely, what is meant by a “McJob”. It’s a stereotype, bordering on insulting in my book, but it’s a word that many people have used for many years. And it’s a dictionary’s job to record the words people use.
    I think McDonald’s has every right to wage a PR campaign against the word, but I draw the line at pressuring the OED.
    I found that McDonald’s actually has a petition website for this purpose (I won’t give the link here since I don’t support it). But I also read somewhere that the OED is soliciting public input on this issue, but I can’t find the right place to do this. I hope someone else can find this out for us, because I would certainly tell the OED to resist the pressure.

  3. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I will support their wanting to get rid of ‘McJob’ if we can get rid of McMansions!!

  4. The Bigger Unit says:

    Why the hell is “McJob” in the dictionary anyway? It’s a slang term that should be reserved for the likes of urbandictionary.com or something.

    That said, this post was hilarious. McDonald’s wants to change the definition to a job that is “stimulating” (see: “greasy”), and “rewarding” (see: “minimum wage”). That is awesome.

  5. mantari says:

    Well, the job is rewarding, you’ve got to admit that. It’s just the level of reward is all that is in question.

  6. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    @The Nature Boy:
    Slang is fairly common in dictionaries.

    Perhaps McDonalds should focus their attention on changing the work environment that caused this term to enter common usage.

  7. Buran says:

    @The Nature Boy: That would be because dictionaries are there to define words used in everyday language, as they are used by ordinary people. McDonalds doesn’t like how the word is used but that’s their tough luck, and it’s ridiculous to start complaining about this.

    Maybe if they really did make the jobs stimulating and well-paying, that’d change things. But apparently it’s easier to complain.

    Yup, they’re definitely American.

  8. TechnoDestructo says:

    @The Nature Boy:

    Have you ever looked at the Oxford English Dictionary? Just about any slang term which lasts long enough will end up in it.

    Also, “McJob” is used in serious popular articles on employment. It isn’t like hip-hop slang.

  9. roche says:

    McSucks to have a McJob

  10. erikmallinson says:

    Poor Mr. McDonald doesn’t like being insulted for all his hard work. Oh right. There’s just corporate McLawyers and McLobbyists.

    Here’s a better question: Why does McDonalds have lobbyists?

  11. I found that McDonald’s actually has a petition website for this purpose

    Why, so they do. How hugely entertaining.

    I just signed the petition in the name of Upton Sinclair, using a dodgeit.com e-mail address, though they don’t appear to actually be checking to see if the address is valid.

    I cordially invite the rest of you to sign the petition as well, using whichever disposable e-mail address service you like (or an example.whatever address, if they really aren’t checking), and the name of whichever famous trade unionist, Communist or Star Wars character takes your fancy.

    The Commerce Guild demands that dictionary fascists cease oppressing the courageous feeders of the people!

  12. tedyc03 says:

    I think that the Oxford Dictionary has a point. The dictionary should reflect the usage of words through time. Thousands of words are added or removed from dictionaries every single year, if only because our language is forever changing. A good example is the noun and verb Google…which wasn’t even in popular use 5 years ago.

    The reality is that the dictionary reflects language in its present state, and to do anything differently would inevitably destroy the objectivity and the usefulness of that dictionary. Oxford doesn’t make up the definition…it just reflects what people already think.

  13. CRSpartan01 says:

    Ha! Big business has final

  14. MentalDisconnect says:

    Okay, anyone that defends McDonald’s in this- have you worked there? I did. No training, other than the propaganda video- I mean employee orientation video. They heavily emphasized being part of a team. But of course, they let me figure out what to do. On my second day, the owner of that franchise came in and reviewed all of us. I heard him discussing my failings with my supervisor, after just starting. There was no place or time to take a break. It had to be taken in public, on a limited amount of McD food. You had to ask to use the bathroom, and I was criticized for going too much. I was also criticized for taking too much time cleaning, which is what I did when there were no customers. On top of all that, you couldn’t accept tips. A few people offered me cash, or let me keep the change, but I had to tell them to donate it. (There was a donation box going to some fund, I don’t know what it is, but I wish they donated to my having food fund.) After two months of working there, never getting help from managers, and being criticized for taking too many breaks (I had seizures), and failing to get promoted to drive-thru, they pulled me aside for a talk. “We’re getting new cash registers in, I don’t think you can handle it.” I thought about it, prepared to fight for my competence and maybe a promotion. Then I came back to reality. I quit. I turned in my uniform (which I bought, but now someone else gets to use for free), got my last paycheck, and grin knowingly every time I hear “McJob”.

  15. Falconfire says:

    McDonalds should shove it up their McAssses…. If their jobs where not the definition of a McJob there wouldn’t be an issue.

    But the term came from somewhere and that somewhere is the fact that a McDonalds employee is the quintessential example of “a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement”

    We are talking about putting hamburgers on a moving conveyor and taking them off to put them in a bun. If you could train shaved monkeys to not fling their poo they could do this job. Hell I wonder if some already arnt the condition of the hamburgers I get at that grease ball join.

  16. Hawk07 says:

    “A stimulating job” ????

    Think what you want about Midtown Promotions, but that Asian manager guy was right. There’s not a job in McDonalds you can’t teach a person in 10 minutes. Hell, I learned how to make fries at Chick Filet while standing in line. All they do is dump the frozen fries in a trey, push a button on the frier, and wait for the alarm to go off.

  17. Hawk07 says:

    Another thing. To McDonalds and fast food in general’s credit, the reason the jobs are so easy and pretty much anyone can do it is so that there’s consistency in the taste of the food.

  18. thunderstruck says:

    Whatever collective reputation Mac’s might have, they’re not doing it any good by trying something like this.

    Perhaps Burger King will want to change the definition of Whopper next?

    Ludicrous. Shakespeare must be rolling. Leave OED alone.

  19. Herr_Ouino says:

    You may wish to let Mr. Fairhurst precisely what you think of this astroturfing horseshit. Use this helpful “contact me” form on his awful Flash-based web site:

    http://www.dfairhurst.com/index.cfm?area=contact&sub=true

    Christ, how can McDonalds corporate not expect this to backfire?

  20. cgmaetc says:

    If this McBrings a McEnd to McNaming McEverything (McDreamy… I’m lookin’ at you), then I’m all for it!

  21. nequam says:

    Change the job, and the definition will change to reflect it.

  22. Secularsage says:

    You know, I worked at McDonald’s for many years, and I don’t understand all the hate. Sure, it’s a nasty and demeaning job at times, but there are lots of positives as well:

    1) One of the top employers of teenagers.
    2) One of the most common “first jobs.”
    3) Heavily focused on promotion from within the company; many management training opportunities.
    4) When managed properly, values quality, efficiency, customer service, and cleanliness.
    5) Through its franchise program, McDonald’s claims to have made more millionaires than any other company out there. Knowing how profitable these franchises can be and how long the waiting list is, I believe it.

    Incidentally, I got my start as a manager at McDonald’s, and I learned a lot about dealing with people in high stress situations through the job. If I had worked in a retail chain through high school and college, chances are good I would not have had the same opportunities as a part time worker. It wasn’t a glamor job, but it was a GREAT foundation for my business management career.

  23. Secularsage says:

    @MentalDisconnect, I worked at 10 different locations in Illinois (franchises, not corporate), and I’m going to suggest that what you experienced was not the norm. McDoanld’s management training heavily emphasized the need for breaks and for a regimented training system; if the owner operator decided not to put them into place in his locations, it’s because of his failure as a business manager and not the structure of the business.

    McDonald’s gives each store a HUGE “Operations & Procedures” manual that details every part of the operation down to smallest point. Ray Kroc, the father of the corporation, was very insistent that this be the way his franchises were run, and corporate frequently sends people to make sure that the standards are being enforced.

    BTW, I don’t work for McD’s or own stock in them; I just hate seeing a good company get maligned because of the negative stereotypes around it. McD’s isn’t evil; they’re just everywhere. From what I’ve heard, Taco Bell is the absolute WORST quick service restaurant you can work for, and even it varies depending on location and owner.

  24. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Having never worked for McDonald’s, I can’t comment on the working conditions or the company itself. But drafting up a petition to change a word in the dictionary because you don’t like it? That’s McStupid.

    New words get added to the dictionary based on usage. Huge corporations shouldn’t be allowed to buy off encyclopedia and dictionary publishers and get their company shown in a more favorable light just because they used their influence and wealth to do so.

    Sorry, McDonalds…your petition should go in the McDumper.

  25. timmus says:

    The object, according to David Fairhurst, a senior vice-president of McDonald’s, is to change the definition of McJob to “reflect a job that is stimulating, rewarding … and offers skills that last a lifetime.”

    Like, uh, prostitution? Sounds good to me, Mr. Fairhurst.

  26. hn333 says:

    @Hawk07, I worked at Chick Filet too. Not the most stimulating job I ever had, but it was way better than a McD’s job. I would have killed myself if I had a McDoanld job.

  27. Pipes says:

    @ Secularsage: It always just depends on the location! I worked for Taco Bell for almost two years in college and absolutely loved it. My coworkers and managers were awesome, we regularly hung out outside of work. Where else can you go to a waterpark with your GM? The job itself wasn’t the most stimulating, but I did love working the drive-thru (which, during busier periods, can actually be quite challenging, since I had to take orders AND take money).

    Basically, if your managers are dicks, it’ll suck to work there. True of any job, I daresay.

  28. When the word was first published McDonald’s sicced the McLawyers on the Oxford University Press to try and get the word itself removed from the dictionary. I forget the specifics Google it if you want em, but the courts basically told the McLawyers to get the McFlock out of the court room.

    Since the McLawyers scare tactics didn’t work, I guess it’s time for the sweet soothing application of lobbyist money.

  29. strathmeyer says:

    Seriously, can we get McStupid added to the dictionary?

  30. catnapped says:

    Me thinks Ronald is being a McJackass

  31. TedSez says:

    They’re also redefining “McWar” as “McPeace.”

    They got the idea from a book called “Nineteen-Eighty-McFour.”

  32. Erskine says:

    @Secularsage:

    I totally agree with Secularsage.

    I used to work for McDonald’s; So I am really getting a kick out of most of these replies. Some of you guys are very good at making it sound like you know what you are talking about. But trust me…. You don’t. I think you just want to make yourself sound smart, when in reality you don’t know what you are talking about. This is how bad info gets passed around. If you don’t know about the topic….Don’t make yourself sound like you do. Cos some Consumerist posters believe anything they hear.

  33. seanmck211 says:

    Like Erskine and Secularsage, I also work at McDonald’s. I have been working there for one year (started when I turned 14), and it all depends on who your working with. So far, I have gained a lot of skills, and I understand the working world a lot better. I don’t think that McDonald’s should be able to change the dictionary, but people need to learn to get past all of the negative stereotypes surrounding the company.

  34. clarient says:

    If the term were defining ONLY a job at a McDonald’s, then they might have a case.

    However, it’s a slang term used to refer to any number of generic low-level jobs. Just because it has a ‘Mc’ in front of it doesn’t mean McDonald’s has a strangehold on it.

  35. Jasmo says:

    It’s pretty simple: we have prescriptive dictionaries, which tell us how we should speak a language, and descriptive dictionaries, which tell us how we actually do speak a language. The OED is an example of the latter; it reflects language usage. If McDonalds doesn’t like it, well, they have to change the usage of the word in question – the OED is just a big mirror reflecting the english speaking world.

    I’m not making up this prescriptive/descriptive thing: when Websters changed from a prescriptive model to a descriptive model (3rd edition, maybe? I’m not sure which) there was great debate in language and dictionary circles. This is what you learn in library school.

  36. ElizabethD says:

    Dictionaries FTW!

  37. shades_of_blue says:

    Rewarding and stimulating, you say? McDonalds requires all of its managers be reachable 27-7, which obviously requires a cell phone. But McDonalds will not compensate for any work related phone expenses. Your plan, your minutes, your loss. That does not sound very rewarding to me, period. And we all know s**t rolls down hill, so if the managers can’t get Corp to care about them, why would the cook be any more ‘rewarded’?

    McJob, the definition is dead-on and I don’t need Websters to spout such a easily comprehendible definition. Kudos to them, for having the balls to print it in liable and offering McD’s lawyers a place to stick their complaint letters. Next time beat them with a rubber hose.

  38. asherchang says:

    @Jasmo: I thought that Oxford was much more resistant to change than Websters is. And that although dictionaries give you an objective description of a word’s usage, they also document when society doesn’t accept it.

  39. EtherealStrife says:

    That’s not the only thing they’re redefining as part of their de-cheapening of the chain. Say goodbye to the Dollar Menu as we know it. Dollar Menu Plus, Dollar Menu and More, etc. It’s doublespeak week. :- This is all an attempt by McD to change their image, and get it on par with Del Taco, Carl’s, Jack and the rest. Last month’s Angus burger was just the first step. Prepare yourself for new ad campaigns focusing on the excellent job opportunities, community outreach, the family-oriented aspects of the company, and some pretty shocking (-ly good quality) suppliers that McD uses.

  40. lestat730 says:

    Would the majority of McDonald’s employees really say that their job is stimulating, rewarding, and offers skills that last them a lifetime. I have a really hard time believing they do. Sounds more like this is just what the executives want everyone (including themselves) to believe. For those unfortunate to work there as a career (meaning not high school kids) do any of them really get promoted? All I know is I’ve noticed the same managers at our local McDonald’s for years and the employees always look miserable.

  41. citizen008 says:

    McDonald’s is a great place for young people to work. They were my first real job and also where I first had sex. I was 16 and my manager was 20. We had sex after I was there for a few weeks, and then a few days later, I had sex with a coworker. I didnt’ have my job much longer, and I was actually crushed that my manager wanted nothing more to do with me after three days of sex. But just think, if I had not worked there, I might have had to wait until I was 17 or 18 to get laid. And that’s pathetic.

    Plus I stole a great plant from the front area for my first apartment. So I don’t think you guys are considering all the angles.

    Finally, even if Ronald McDonald personally rewrote the entire dictionary with a salt-free french fry, people/customers/exworkers/kids/media would STILL call a shit job a “McJob.” So stop wasting your time, McDonald’s shills in the thread above.

  42. HarryTuttle says:

    Let’s all keep in mind this is the same company that, at the peak of the Reagan era, pushed a PR campaign which claimed their product was “health food.”
    Webster’s, as well as the rest of planet Earth, begged to differ.

  43. gamble says:

    @Secularsage: No job should be “demeaning.” Maybe OED should add that word to their definition.

  44. MatthewT says:

    EtherrealStrife, those campaigns have started. They’re running one where the VP of Something does this little trip through time back to when she started as yer basic uniformed counter worker. I was wondering why McD’s was advertising about how wonderful it is to work there, since it always seemed to me to be the last place that needs to recruit. Now I get it.

  45. Hype-Jersey says:

    Of course McDs wants to change the meaning of the word. The fact of the matter is that jobs at McDs ARE “McJobs.” They treat their people terribly, pay them below living wages and do not offer health insurance to the vast majority of people. The job is not pleasant or stimulating (unless one considers cleaning toilets and squirting mustard “stimulating).

    McDs gets around their crappy treatment of employees by arguing that their jobs are “not meant to be wage-earner jobs.” They seek employees who wish to work part time (up to 39.99 hours per week in most states) on non-fixed schedules. For people who only want to work a few hours a week, this isn’t a big deal. But because employers COMPETE for people like this, McDs can’t get enough “part time” employees. So this forces McDs to work some people full time – or nearly full time. However, they STILL do not give full time employees benefits.

    These conditions just about define the conditions of employee exploitation – non-living wages, no health insurance and schedule changes at the whim of the employer.

    I worked at McDs through the 80s and “worked my way up” to store manager. Their managers are not even paid a decent wage. I remember well how McDs discouraged employee unions. As managers, we were instructed to keep union organizers away from employees. We were instructed to say something like, “I am the representative for my employees.”

    The negative connotation of “McJob” will disappear when “McJobs” disappear. A I see it, in about the time that pigs grow wings.

  46. dagonweb says:

    How difficult is it to automate all processes in Mac Donalds. I think it can be done profitably with technology we have today, in 2007. In other words, Mc Donalds could make a profit by automatizing all sales, cooking and maintainance actions in their restaurants. I gather so far that hasn’t happened because of several reasons; the risk of errors and the loss of prestige when Mac doesn’t have paid staff. But in a few years that will happen. The first fastfood restaurant who decides to jump ship and save a zillion dollars a year by automating will outcompete compeition; the rest will follow within a year. I am positive this will have happened in the rich countries before 2018.

    Dead-end job indeed. Imagine a few millon fast food chain people being laid off. Where are they gonna find new employment?

  47. kenposan says:
  48. bananaphone says:

    Hey, I’d like to put the term “McGurgles” in the dictionary. I always feel a little ill after eating at Mickey D’s

  49. swalve says:

    “Rewarding and stimulating, you say? McDonalds requires all of its managers be reachable 27-7, which obviously requires a cell phone. But McDonalds will not compensate for any work related phone expenses. Your plan, your minutes, your loss. That does not sound very rewarding to me, period. And we all know s**t rolls down hill, so if the managers can’t get Corp to care about them, why would the cook be any more ‘rewarded’?”

    That’s simply not true.

    Most of these commenters have been very unfair to McDonalds. The people who never worked at McDonalds can just shut up. And the people who did and hated it, might I suggest that you had a bad experience, or were perhaps uncooperative? McDonalds Corporation demands excellence from its employees, and rewards them well with promotions, vacations, sabbaticals, etc. It is much less demanding of the franchisees.

    It is really disappointing to see you people being so smug and snarky.

  50. don.n says:

    Having worked a number of McJobs, I would actually have to say McDonalds was the best of them. That is not to say it was enjoyable or stimulating, but it was the most tolerable. It was boring, tedious, and mind-numbing. McDonalds is the WalMart of fast food, and has most of the same pros and cons. I would say the cons outweigh the pros by far, but it could be far worse (TacoBell, or the Dollar Store).

    It didn’t pay well, but it did pay more than minimum wage, even to start with.

    There was never any question about what you should be doing, everything was very structured, and the training was through.

    The grease was nasty, but cleaning was done very frequently, so nothing got really bad.

    The food was (and is) bad for you, but you never had to worry that the food was going bad. Rotation of stock was done religiously, and nothing ever expired on the shelf.

    Those are all things that cannot be said about most of the other McJobs I had.

    McDonalds is focused on efficiency, and all the employee policies served that purpose. Beyond promoting a good work ethic, I don’t see how any of the skills would translate to non-McJobs.

    I hope I never again need a McJob, but if worst came to worst, I’d go back to McDonalds before any other fast food place.

  51. city_country_citizen says:

    I teach college and many of the kids I get don’t have any kind of work ethic, they don’t know how to be ON TIME, and they don’t want to start at the bottom and work their way up. They just want to quickly get a degree so they can make some money. Many think they are entitled to everything and must work for nothing.

    So, I have to partly agree with McDonald’s on this one.

    I used to work bagging groceries, and even though it was repetitive and low paying, it was still rewarding in other ways.

  52. MentalDisconnect says:

    @swalve: Not to get into personal attacks here, but it sounds like you’re being a little smug. I told you I worked there. I’ll agree I had a bad experience that may not be representative- I was so stressed and demeaned working there I became severely depressed and ended up in the hospital because.. well.. anyway. I was never rewarded with anything, and I saw most of the employees struggling with management to give them full time, which they refused. Even getting more hours was difficult. And me being uncooperative? Ha! I have excllent work ethic. I have been highly rated in decent jobs (janitor, vet assistant, science museum customer service). The fact is they treated me like crap, and a lot of my unhappiness is that I had no relationship with my coworkers (very few spoke English- I’m not sterotyping here, it was true) and management, from what I’ve heard from other commenters, did not follow the rules of the McDonald’s franchises. I’m sorry for my wrath here, but I get agitated when people suggest McDonald’s is great and wonderful and I was just a horrible employee and need to shut up. It was minimum wage and did not teach me work ethic or anything like that- I already had that. Other jobs gave me a much better experience.
    The place seemed to be filled with the desperate. A middle aged woman who was laid off, couldn’t find any other work, fighting with management for full time hours. My manager had been working there since he was fifteen and planned to go to college or do something else but his mom stole all his money so he stayed at McDonald’s because it’s all he knew. A few of our regulars had severe mental disorders and probably eating at McDonald’s every day was the best they could afford. I guess it’s good McDonald’s was there for them, but if McDonald’s pretends they are anything other than a last resort, then they are lying to themselves! You can call me a McD’s hater, but those of you who love it, give me a good solid reason! I’ve been there… I’ve seen it.
    [/rant]

  53. stenk says:

    To have a McJob is to be a McSlave!

  54. Jasmo says:

    @asherchang: Yeah the OED is much more conservative – so much that it’s based on citations of usage from publications – so no examples of publication, no entry. In other words, it has to have been used somewhere else before they’ll enter it in the OED. for example, the citations for our word in question here are:

    “1986 Washington Post (Nexis) 24 Aug. C1 (heading) The fast-food factories: McJobs are bad for kids. 1991 D. COUPLAND Generation X I. i. 5 Dag..was bored and cranky after eight hours of working his McJob (‘Low pay, low prestige, low benefits, low future’). 1993 Albuquerque (New Mexico) Jrnl. 4 Apr. C3/2 So many bright and ambitious young people are wasting what should be their apprentice years in low-wage, low-skilled jobs, what are called ‘McJobs’. 1995 Face Jan. 91/2 Up to the beginning of this year he was painting houses for a living. Name a McJob and Beck has probably done it.”

    That’s the citation list from the OED online (thank you sf public library)

  55. Jasmo says:

    Oh Snappy day! Another citation from the OED, under the etmyology heading for McJob lists this little nugget:

    “1985 Los Angeles Times (Nexis) 29 July II. 6/1 For instance, the McDonald’s fast-food chain recently began a training program for the handicapped in the San Fernando Valley called McJobs. McDonald’s has hired a dozen people after the two 10-week training programs held so far.”

  56. PizzaNazi75 says:

    Anyone, and i mean anyone who has ever worked at McDonald’s knows how crappy it is. From store manager down to lobby girl. Nobody is given respect. You are made to do things for a wage that would be considered below slave labor. They do not follow all the labor laws, health laws, immigration laws, and im sure other laws. McDonald’s is a huge reason why our society is like it is. Low – paying jobs to unskilled workers, and once they have stolen that person’s spirit and they quit well quess what? Susie just turned 16 and will do your job for a while now, till we take her soul. McDonald’s, as for all the rest of them, retail, convienent stores, all likes, are evil enities. You know when people say the ‘Man’ is keeping me down. These are the men. Nobody should defend mcdonalds. They can take there McJob and shove it.

  57. shades_of_blue says:

    @swalve:

    Not true? My ex-brother-in-law was [and probably still is] manager of a 24/7 McDonalds, so I know for a fact that corporate does not cover any phone expenses and does in fact, require their managers to be reachable at anytime of day. This may not be true with every regional McDonalds restaurants, but it sure is in my state.

    So if you’re going call BS on my words, or tell me I’m smug, go jump in a lake.

  58. acambras says:

    Consumerist ran a post on the whole McJob issue a couple of months ago. Today I’d like to echo one of the commenters who commented on that post:

    McFuck ‘Em.

  59. hollerhither says:

    McDonald’s is undertaking a very cynical promotion to improve its public image by using the dictionary, designed to merely report use of language, as a springboard. People may not like the *concept* of a “McJob” but if the word’s in use they need to know what it means. Don’t blame the dictionary for reporting public perception of a less-than-stellar brand and operation; maybe DO something about it to improve your brand in the public’s mind.

  60. bbbici says:

    I think McJob should come to mean any job that could quite easily be done by a robot once the supply of cheap human labour runs out.

  61. aikoto says:

    This is SO funny and so deserved. How dare McDonalds argue against a term that has developed because of their own corporate culture? As a previous commenter said, if they don’t like it, maybe they should change their workplace standards.

  62. Orangeboxman says:

    I have a master’s degree, but I work full-time at McDonalds for minimum wage, and I like it.

    I have worked other jobs where I have been offered more money, but have inevitably found myself back at McDonalds full-time, by my own choice.

    If my own McJob is any indicator of what a McJob really is, then I think I can define ‘McJob’ in the following positive ways, at least in comparison to my other nonMcJobs.

    A McJob is a job where people do their jobs and let you do yours. A McJob is a job where people work for every hour they get paid and where they get paid for every hour they work. A McJob is a job where no one gets bitten by the boss’s dog or punctured with used medical sharps. A McJob is a job where directions, goals and expectations are unambiguous, and where the opportunity to advance is completely contingent upon how well you meet clearly stated goals and expectations according to clearly stated directions. A McJob is a job where whether or not you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing in the way that you’re supposed to be doing it is so important that there is effectively no possibility for people to personally judge each other by demographic variables. A McJob is a job where the benefits you get are the benefits you pay for. A McJob is a job where the shirts that get destroyed belong to the company, and where the work that destroys the shirts is technically part of the same class code that your employer is assuming applies to you when they pay their workers comp insurance. A McJob is a job where the boss never calls you a ‘fag’, throws wadded paper at you or swats you with the back of his/her hand. A McJob is a job where what you get paid per hour is commensurate with the skills you provide to the employer. A McJob is a job where, because they (rightly) do not give a f*** about your M.A., or what special skills you may have; where your supervisors will not treat you brain like some kind of grab bag into which to dip freely at any time for anything there they may be able to use for personal advantage. If you work at a McJob, your student loans may go into default just the way they would have if you’d stayed at your other jobs, but you at least won’t be subsidizing your employer by offering advanced skills at below cost.

    I could probably continue, but I think I’ve probably made my point.

    I understand that there are people who might like to use the idea that working at McDonalds is undesireable to obliquely disparage McDonalds because they have some other problem with McDonalds, but that’s a commentary I’ll mostly have to save for a later discussion if it comes up. Until then, let it suffice to say that McDonalds continues to succeed because it continues to meet the demands of consumers. If you don’t like something about how McDonalds does things, maybe you should blame the consumers.

    Other than not paying very much, I find there is NOTHING that routinely comes up to dislike about working at McDonalds, other than the personalities of the customers. But that’s exactly what makes it ‘work’, anyway. I at least don’t get calls from the customers at 4AM angrily demanding that I help them figure out where they left their food after I handed it to them.

    As for the low pay, I like to think that I get paid what consumers demand that I get paid. Again:
    big deal. Blame the consumers. They still gripe about the prices going up, but they sure didn’t do much to stop the City of San Francisco from raising my minimum wage to $9.14 per hour, which explains the price increases. Let ‘em complain. They keep coming back anyway and, so far, I get to keep my McJob.

  63. voodooKobra says:

    If it’s in popular use, it belongs in the dictionary. Since everyone refers to searching on the internet for something as “googling” it, the verb “google” is in the dictionary.

    Same thing applies to McJob. A McJob is a cesspool in the realm of employment. If McDonalds really wants to literally redefine it, they should make the jobs better instead of trying to harass the people who write dictionaries.

  64. Anonymous says:

    There are something like 12-13K McD’s in the USA. Some are owned by the corporation, many are franchises. The franchisees have great latitude in overseeing their own operations … and corporate visits aren’t so frequent as one might think. The corporate boys would need to be in about 41 restaurants *per day* just to visit each store once a year.

    So, a great deal of variation exists because of franchisees; one, whom I’ve worked for, tends to be an exceptional slave-driver and profiteer. Another, in the next city up the freeway, is a multi-millionaire and the nicest guy you could know. In contrast to the other guy, his employees are trusted more completely, seem to have better training and better attitudes. I believe, strongly, that the *character* of the franchisee affects the character of the operation.

    The same is true of the managers, and really GOOD ones are probably rare … most talented individuals don’t stay with the company that long. There are of course many exceptions; but with so many employees, they are certainly not the rule.

    Expanding the “character” axiom above, indeed the *entire corporation’s character* is based, perhaps more than it knows, on the character of Ray Kroc. Anyone ever read “Grinding it Out?” Quite revealing… one swing manager I worked for noted that she was not very surprised how things worked in McDLand, given Mr. Kroc’s priorities and behaviors.

    So, in some cities/stores, a “McJob” isn’t such a bad thing. In others, it’s definitely earned its reputation and definition. Until the corporate people make *every location* as spiffy as the home office’s display unit, they’re going to have negative PR … the only thing they’re really concerned about is *how much*. Having “McJob” in the OED apparently crosses the threshold of acceptability.