Political Correctness Gone Mad: Changing the Definition of a McJob

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Driving to a client this morning, I couldn’t but help to laugh at one particular news item. Apparently, McDonalds is starting a petition to ge the dictionary definition of ‘McJobs’ changed. McDonalds feels that the dictionary emphasis on an “unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects” is demeaning for its hard-working staff.

McJobs as a word has been around for over 20 years. It has entered common parlance as meaning just what the Dictionary says, an “unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects”. It is a word that has all the sticking power that Chip & Dan Heath describe in their excellent book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

As a big fan of McDonalds McCafe coffee shop, I often visit my local McDonalds for a Latte Macchiato while I read an article. As I watch the service experience unfold around me, I see a lot of exactly what the McJob description describes. The jobs are unstimulating, low-paid and they don’t appear to have many prospects. That isn’t to say that they are easy. But they are McJobs. And I wouldn’t want to do one. And as so many of the McDonalds staff faces change continuously, (various estimates put annual staff turnover at between 60 and 300%), I assume that they don’t like doing them either.

Rather than engage in this political correctness gone mad, perhaps McDonalds should concentrate on improving the engagement that staff have with their McJobs through improving the jobs themselves and putting more into staff training. They are starting to do this in the UK by training staff to get portable NVQ qualifications in food industry management. But that doesn’t change the core nature of their McJobs.

McDonalds acknowledged the definition of a McJob themself in last year’s slogan, “McProspects – over half of our executive team started in our restaurants. Not bad for a McJob.”

What do you think? Is this political correctness gone mad? Or is McDonalds hard done by?

Post a comment and get the conversation going.

Graham Hill

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