In the essay, “Working at McDonald’s,” Amitai Etzioni talks about his belief that working, especially at fast food chain restaurants can be bad for teenagers. Working, for teenagers under some circumstances can be bad for them but sometimes its good depending on the daily schedule of whomever is working. If the teen is still in school, working is bound to affect their involvement and attendance in negative ways. Though it’s true that while working you gain on the job experience, Etzioni believes it can’t really help if it comes at the cost of education while teens think the opposite. Fast food jobs do have an advantage earning money while also learning how to manage the money they make. It boils down to whether or not risks outweigh the benefits when working jobs like this which all depends on the current situation of the teen.
To begin, the Etzioni writes how he believes jobs don’t go well with keeping up schoolwork and can get in the way of attendance. This is the same for nearly all extracurricular activities most are after school so it’s likely to get in the way. When I was in high school I had a friend John who tried to juggle a job, schoolwork and a football altogether but in the end he chose to give up football because he couldn’t make it to any of the practices. The author also takes into account that if students don’t have enough time to study their grades will drop without question. It comes down to the decision of which activity to give up to make room for work. More than half the time students will abandon the sport to find more study time like in my friend John’s case.
Second, the author addresses the problem that I think has two sides to the coin. He believes that jobs generally don’t give any training that would help outside of the work they would be currently doing. This is true because most of the skills taught in fast food restaurants are for the simple things like running the register or working the fryer. Many of the jobs themselves could be done as good or better by a nine-year-old because of how simple the work is. Most aspects of this type of job wouldn’t help anyone in the future much less a teenager. Once they no longer work there anymore, the skill is useless unless they still plan on working in the same type of job.
There are a couple of things that can be learned from a fast food job that might help with other jobs the future. If you’ve ever been to a McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant and had a bad worker serving you, you might have gotten a little annoyed. Work ethic is very important at a fast food place or any workplace for that matter. In other jobs, if you are not quick and efficient, you might not make it very far in your work. Also, workers learn how to work with different types of people this helps them in later experiences in a work force. Getting an impatient customer is a good example, when presented with a problem like this it helps prepare you for other situations like it in the future. This is not always easy but will serve as great experience for jobs in the future.
Lastly, Etzioni explains that working doesn’t teach teens how to manage their money. This however is where I disagree, the best thing about having a job as a teen is that you learn the value of a dollar from your own mistakes. Having money and working for that money helps teens to understand that money isn’t free and shouldn’t be wasted. When teenagers want to buy something they’ll simply go buy it only to find later that they could have gotten it at half price had they waited on a sale. Also teens will try to rent things they want from “pay later” businesses like rent a center instead of buying it when they have the money to do so just to learn that not only is it more expensive this way but if they miss a payment the rightful owners could repossess it at any time. Often times this could lead to debt, but if they are lucky their parents might help them out.
“Students who worked at least 25 hours per week while in school, their unemployment rate four years later was half of the seniors who did work.” This means that most of those that began in fast food jobs stayed in that area of work or simply became unemployed. There are plenty of pros and cons to working at an early age, while it could interfere with school it can also help teens develop a good work ethic and learn from their mistakes. If they don’t get the chance to make these mistakes before they move away, the consequences could be alot more devastating. The question the author wants the reader to consider in all this is, can the risk worth the reward?
Courtney from Study Moose
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