From Academic Kids

McJob is slang for a low-pay, low-prestige job that requires few skills. The term comes from the fast-food restaurant McDonald's, but applies to any low-status job where little training is required and workers' activities are tightly regulated by managers. Most perceived McJobs are in the service industry, particularly fast food, copy shops, and retail sales.

The term was in use at least as early as 1986, according to the Oxford English Dictionary [1] (, and was popularized in 1991 in Douglas Coupland's novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture as one of the margin definitions. It was described 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". (Coupland, p. 5)Template:Ref

The term is used to emphasize the claim that many desirable middle-class jobs are being eliminated, either due to productivity gains (often the result of automation) or due to the shifting of operations to second- or third-world countries where labor costs are cheaper. For example, manufacturing, call-center, accounting, and computer programming jobs are not as abundant in developed countries as they used to be, as firms have looked abroad to meet these needs, frustrating many people who used to work in these industries. Such displaced workers often spent many years gaining specialized education, training, and experience, and are relucant to start over in a new industry at the bottom rung. Many older workers may have no choice but to take a "McJob", because employers generally prefer to hire recent graduates for entry-level positions.

According to Jim Cantalupo, former CEO 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 started life in the working world behind the counter serving customers. Since McDonald's has over 400,000 employees, Cantalupo's contention has been questioned as being invalid, working more to highlight the exception rather than the rule.

Others oppose the implicit criticism of service work inherent in the word McJob, arguing that a solution such as automation of these jobs would be condemned by those with the same political perspective as those who coined the term. It is argued that capital will often be attracted to those markets with lower costs in the absence of artificial barriers such as government controls. While some condemn this as globalization, others argue that this process ensures that prosperity is shared to new communities and people rather monopolizing wealth in white, English speaking markets. The emergence of a rapidly growing information technology industry in India and its attendant prosperity is one example cited.

The word McJob was added to the world's best-selling hardcover dictionary Merriam-Webster in late 2003 [2] ( despite the objections of McDonald's.

McJOBS, the trademark

McJOBS (plural, uppercase) was first registered as a trademark 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 'Dead' by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Following the publication of Generation X in paperback in October 1992, McDonald's restored the trademark.


See also

fr:McJob ru:Макджоб de:McJobs


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