McJob: (page 5)
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.
And I think that last bit is the sinker.
Anyhow, it appears McDonald's is outraged that the job of burger flipper/ burger warmer is not held in the highest of esteem.
Read about it here.
Apparently unaware of how the English language works, McDonalds has started an effort to convince those they see as the "owners" of language that they've not given the term "McJob" a fair shake and seen the word the way their corporate decision makers would like the world to see the term "McJob". Oddly, these chroniclers of the language seem to go with how billions of English-speaking people use the term. What to do when you're an enormous corporation and you can't buy your way out of your sorry reputation as an employer.
From the article:
The Oxford English Dictionary, considered by many wordsmiths as the gold standard for the English language, is one of those that will be targeted. It defines the noun as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector."
I get freaked out by Newspeak at the best of times, but when you get the feeling a corporation is considering doing something pretty vile to try to demolish an image that's been somewhat fairly earned... I dunno. Kind of freaky. Rather than cowboy up and address the issue, is it really that much better to publicly take on the Dictionary?
Somehow, this generates images in my head of the burger wars from the mostly not-discussed Frank Miller comic "Give Me Liberty" in which the US goes to war to protect fast food cows in the Amazon.
I don't want for anyone to misconstrue this particular rant for some sort of disrespect for the hard working burgermeisters who prepare my fast food. The League has not worked fast food, but... We DID work at Chuck E. Cheese, which is mediocre, slowly produced food delivered in a temple in which all pizza eating worshippers must halt eating and conversation in reverence to a mechanical gigantic mouse in a hat. We swept up pizza crusts, handed out tokens to kids when the machine "ate" their token, oversaw the ball crawl*, and polished the vertical bars on the mini-carousel. I've slung records at the Camelot and pimped Tinkerbell shirts at the Disney Store. There is such a thing as a job where the downers (usually created by inept or negative management) greatly outweigh the $4.75 an hour. In two of these three jobs I was asked to wear an ill-fitting and humiliating uniform (we actually requested silver jumpsuits to wear when I worked at UT. Request denied). And had managers that, on a good day, were indifferent to me at best.
I had no skills, no experience, no future within the organization, and was constantly reminded of as much. If not for school and the promise of becoming a middle-class wage slave, I might have given in to the gripping despair that one can only find when told to keep glass doors clean in a restuarant full of children who've been handling pizza, tokens, tickets, and wiping snot on their own palms. For $4.25 or whatever minimum wage was in 1990.
But I also lived with my parents, and/or was earning supplemental money while in school which my folks generously assisted with. I am not an eighteen year old kid living in Goober Springs, Alabama where options are McDonalds or tending to my Uncle's Used Tire Emporium. So when that kid hears "McJob", I have no idea what he or she must think. But I hope to God that with the power of television and our educational system, Buddy McBarnes from Goober Springs at least knows that there may be more opportunity available than what ends when you pass the Exxon and it's all trees again along the freeway.
Thusly, mad respect for folks in the service industry, but I also know that the bright-eyed promising student is far and few between who says "I want to spend my life earning minimum wage and microwaving McMuffins."
Curiously, the CEO of McDonald's from a few years back was once a burger pimp, himself. Here's an article from when someone died and Bell took over.
Bell began his career with the fast-food chain at age 15 as a part-time crew member at a McDonald's restaurant in Sydney, Australia.
He became the company's youngest store manager in Australia at 19, a vice president at 27 and a member of the McDonald's Australia board of directors by the time was 29 years old.
"This is an absolutely right choice," said S&P's Milton. "Cantalupo relied on Bell a lot for crafting the turnaround. This is someone who has been with the company for a significant period of time."
That's awesome. I bet Bell's staff is made up entirely of the crew he started with at that Australian McDonald's**. What happened to you, Bell? You used to be from the street, dawg! You knew what it was to flip a burger and clean up some kids' barf from the McDonaldland Playscape!*** You sold out, Bell. You sold out.
Minimum wage isn't really the thrust of the phrase "McJob". A McJob is more about the drudgery of many jobs that's cropped up since the Industrial Revolution as people become cogs in an assembly line, whether that be McDonalds employees leaping into action when the frier makes that awful "WHEEEEEEEEEEET! WHEEEEEEEEEEEET!" noise. Or whether that person is wearing a tie, sitting in a cube where they can't be seen, anyway, and calling people to donate to the Austin Policemen's Charity (the tie makes you all professional-like).
There's something far more frightening about the white-collar McJob. It's a job intended to mark time, is mostly insulting to the intelligence, and can usually be identified by how often the manager insists that they are a professional of some sort and how unnecessarily cumbersome the tasks assigned to wage slave actually are. Usually because nobody ever bothered to ask the employees how to improve the processes they do all day, which the executives have never actually performed. But they DO pay well enough, these jobs... and there's not necessarily the same sense of temporary employment that pervades when one is loaned their pants and told they must return them when they quit. And, of course, in the white-collr McJob, you are surrounded by lots of other people all doing the same job, many of whom have been their for years and never once considered a promotion.
What's curious is that McDonalds is going after the dictionary in the same manner they go after our elected officials whenever it's suggested the minimum wage see an increase. As I recall, in order to try to dodge out of some legislation or other that might effect the bottomline, McDonald's attempted to reassign their employees from the food-prep category to some sort of assembly line technician. I can't find it now, but in my commute in PHX, I recall hearing the story on NPR.
Perhaps if McDonalds paid a bit better, perhaps if the drudgery of the position wasn't punctuted only with being shouted at by furious managers and customers... McDonalds might be able to actually convince those of us who've used the term "McJob" without blinking for fifteen years to drop the term if their employees did not always look miserable and their turnover wasn't well known as one of the highest turnover positions in any industry. (As someone who has managed part time employees, turn over is a huge time killer and makes managers grumpy.)
*some new parents read this blog. I beseech of thee, if you care at all for your health or the health and safety of your children... do not let your child enter a public ball crawl. New parents don't want to think about this, but little kids are germ factories. Not only are they perpetually ill, they also have no concept of hygiene, and will wipe their nose with their hands and then leap into the ball crawl. It is IMPOSSIBLE to clean the balls in the ball crawl. And dozens and dozens of kids pass through a ball crawl each day, leaving their trail of germs on everything.
Also, while your child may be an angel, other kids are irresponsible horrors with no respect for their safety or that of anyone else. So expect for your kid to get a shin to the back of the head.
And last, but not least... and i can't believe I have to share this, but I speak from experience... Ball crawls are not a good place for infants. Do not toss your infant into the ball crawl in the high hopes that the disgruntled 16 year old watching the crawl will watch your kid while you pound back a cool Coors 16 oz'er. The ball crawl is about 3 feet deep. Your infant could easily disappear and not be found again until the semi-annual ball-crawl vaccuuming. Also, the note about the shin to the back of the head? Kids like to jump off the walls, pretending to be their favorite luchador, often in the direction of your infant's still unfused skull.
When considering the ball crawl, just.... don't.
**I know they eat beef in Australia, but what else is on the menu? Filet 'o Platypus? Koala Nuggets? Ah, it's funny to make fun of Australians. FACT: They're all reprehensible savages****.
***Why is it that really low-paying jobs often require the removal of vomit? I do recall that one of the reasons I was not liked (and I hadn't thought about this in a while) at the Disney Store was that when I was informed that some kid had tossed her cookies in the store, on carpet, I declared "I am not paid enough to clean up barf. At least not without that pink, granular stuff." Apparently not wanting to clean up barf makes you "not a team player". But, you know what... they weren't paying for benefits or nuthin'. I was supposed to shift from fixing the stuffed anaimal arrangements to scooping up vomit.
Other people's barf is super gross, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect some sort of special compensation for cleaning it up. If we all worked together and refused to clean up barf for minimum wage, just imagine the utopia we'd all be living in.
****This is not an actual fact. I've met a few Australians, and while I get tired of hearing about how they find my slection of knife completely substandard, our friends from down under couldn't be a more decent people. In fact, if you'd like to point to anyone as an utter savage, it's Canadians, who, FACT: eat babies*****.
*****It is mostly not-true that Candians eat babies. At least not Canadian babies, or there would be no actual Canadians. I suspect some Canadians of cannibalism, but can prove nothing. They probably clean up barf for a shiny dime, too.******
******I feel sort of bad about that. That may have gone too far.