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Working at Fast Food Restaurants Essay

In the essay “Working at McDonald’s” , the author Amitai Etzioni argues that working at McDonald’s or any fast food restaurant does not teach the necessary skills or habits required to succeed in a professional job. He writes that people that work at these fast food places never get to practice entrepreneurship, self discipline, self supervision, or self scheduling. Etzioni compares the job at these places as robots working in an assembly line. According to his research two thirds of high school students have part-time jobs. He continues to say that at first giving a teen a job can be a good thing because it gives them an opportunity to have work experience and eventually they would become independent from their parents, but that is not necessarily true.

Working at fast food restaurants are providing teens with money that they believe is enough to get them by in life which causes an increase in school drop outs. With so many dropouts, these students are stuck in a world of low job skills that prevents them from being college-bound students and achieving their goals and dreams. The author believes that teen jobs are affecting the student’s school attendance, schoolwork, and even misinterpret the value of the dollar. In this paper, I will present 3 different conflicting viewpoints on working in fast food places. The three different viewpoints are people who are against working in these places, those who are for it, and those who believe that it is only necessary to a certain extent.

First Viewpoint
Those who are against working at fast food places believe that they are bad for teens and are preventing them from continuing on to better jobs. They are preventing teens from learning the skills and knowledge needed in order to move on forward to bigger and better things. Teens that have a job and go to school at the same time have to learn how to manage and balance two different things at the same time. “Fast-food chains are popular employers but can require young staff to work up to three midnight shifts a week; a schedule that can leave those with a 7.30am school start short on study time and sleep”(Balancing Home, Work, and Homework, 5). Most of these times, a teen cannot keep an equal balance between both, which results in poor school performance.

Working at a fast food restaurant does not require certified skills taught in colleges or trade schools. Lower paying jobs like fast food industries are not considered a career with a lot of potential to move up. With so many people working minimum wage jobs, people are abandoning their careers just because that job is paying off the bills for now. Fast food wages are not enough to cover living costs for your entire life. Those working in these jobs are not working middle-class jobs, but more like lower-class. This also affects the economy categorizing it as a lower status instead of raising its status. It fails to reduce poverty and affects everyone in the economy negatively.

Second Viewpoint
Working a fast food job can be a positive thing. Some people rely on these minimum wage jobs because it is their only source of income. “One of the most surprising findings is that more than two-thirds of the fast-food workers were over age 20, and 68% are the main earners in their families, and more are parents raising a child than teenagers living with their parents” (The Harsh Price Americans Pay for Fast-Food Jobs, 1). With that being said, these fast food places are helping families out by providing some source of income, even if it is a minimum wage job.

College students are also working in fast food restaurants in order to pay off loans or pay bills while they are in school. They also help out students who have little or no work experience by providing them with a job that they can put on their resume. Working at places like McDonald’s show that you are able to work in a fast paced environment. Some of these fast food places actually pay a decent amount like In-N-Out.

In-N-Out, the family-owned chain started in 1948, is the only company in the rankings to pay more than $10 an hour. Vice President Carl Van Fleet said the company’s founders believed it was critical to treat employees with respect and compensate them well. In-N-Out restaurant workers today earn $10.50 an hour when they are hired. “And that is just a start,” Van Fleet said. “Our associates can earn raises quickly from there.”(1) These hire wages can help cover better living costs and help gain skills that become attractive to future employees.

Third Viewpoint
Some people are neither for nor against working in fast food places. They believe these low paying jobs are necessary at some point of a person’s life. For example, a person barely starting off in the work industry and has little or no experience. This is a temporary job for them until they find a better, higher paying job and at the same time she is getting work experience. These low paying jobs are not a permanent fix, the provide guidance and money. In an article called “Do You Want a Career With That?” talks about a girl who had recently had a baby. “She worked at a restaurant close to her home and was able to make regular trips back to help her partner with her son. ‘It was my first real job (and) I really liked it,’ said Steed, who now has an office job at the University of Manitoba” (1 of 2). It temporarily helped her with the costs of the baby while she worked on getting a better job for her new family.

Working at these lower wage jobs are opportunities while you make a career out of yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere, in most cases that means working at fast food restaurants for a portion of your school career. The skills and life lessons that teens learn in early work situations can inspire them to get a better education.

Personal Response
I personally believe that working at a minimum wage job like McDonald’s is a good start in order to gain work experience. It is also a good when it comes to helping pay off things such as loans until you get your degree. My opinion has remained the same throughout the research of the essay. I see it as an opportunity to gain some work experience and while I prepare myself for a better paying job. I have also learned many things that I did not know from doing this research. I learned that not only are there too many people working minimum wage jobs, too many people are dropping out of school because they believe that job will support them all throughout their life.

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