McJobs Are Bad for Kids

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 4 January 2017

McJobs Are Bad for Kids

I thought Amitai Etzioni’s article: The Fast-Food Factories: McJobs are Bad for Kids,” was both accurate and convincing. His assertion that fast food jobs, “impart few skills useful in later life,” and “skew the values of teenagers,” is correct. At first blush, these jobs seem idea for teaching young people responsibility and self-discipline. But, when examining issues the author mentions as negatives such as; hours worked, appropriate supervision, job training, opportunity for advancement, responsible behaviors, and affects on academics; fast food employment does appear to have a negative effect on teens.

The number of hours worked usually equate to how much money you make. If hours worked is not tempered with other responsibilities, such as school activities and adequate rest, teenagers will suffer the negative effects. Teenagers working in fast food establishments often have hour’s restrictions of 40 hours per week. Because many fast food establishments are open late, and require cleanup and tally-up after hours, many teens can work very long shifts. It was not surprising to learn that teens working a thirty-hour week may do so in two to three days. The author references an informal high school yearbook survey wherein seniors acknowledged that their jobs interfered with their school work; a definite negative trade-off.

As in any business, fast food establishments must have appropriate management of the processes to maintain consistency of the product and enforce safety practices. In many fast food establishments to be a supervisor you must be an adult, defined as eighteen years of age, and complete supervisory courses provided by the employer. Though teenagers were not officially supervisors, in some establishments, supervisory duties are many times assigned to and accomplished by them. And, sometimes, as the author states, there is not an adult on the premises.

Each of the fast food establishments requires training, to some degree. Because many of the tasks are simple and repetitive, the vast majority of this training given is informal and on the job. This training can last from a few minutes to a few days. Additionally, the trainers, many times, are other teens. Further, the future benefit of the skills learned in these simple and repetitive tasks is questionable.

Advancement in many fast food establishments does not exist or is very limited. Advancement usually means assignment to other work stations within the restaurant and little or no advance in pay or technical expertise. Designated career paths, leading to management positions are not the norm and were not available to the teens interviewed for this paper.

Many people think that teens that work will benefit from learning to be responsible. They also think they will develop a strong work ethic which will benefit them throughout their working life. In actuality the benefits of responsible behavior and ethical work habit are seldom acquired. Punctuality though is considered important. Those teens that are chronically late are disciplined or dismissed. Responsibility seems to be limited to punctuality. Staying on task and using time wisely is not important to teens in the fast food industry. Employee theft is also very problematic. Money is sometimes stolen but the majority of theft involves teens stealing food for themselves and friends. Poor supervision, or no supervision, allows this unethical behavior to develop and become an established norm.

Academics are not addressed so consequently are not important in the fast food industry. Long and/or late work hours that may interfere with schoolwork are not considered. Programs that monitor grades to ascertain if work is interfering with education were not found. Some teens say “they don’t care if you have homework, graduate or want to pursue further education” (According to Max Greenwood). Additionally, many teens working in fast food are high school dropouts. This further establishes the environment that doesn’t support doing your best, seeking advancement, and furthering your education.

Prior to reading this article and doing research, I didn’t agree with Etzioni, that teenagers’ working fast food is bad. To validate Etzioni’s claims, I interviewed individuals who worked fast food as teens. These individuals reaffirmed that working fast food did not provide appropriate supervision, worked long hours, received little training, didn’t have appropriate supervision, and it affected academics negatively.

Etzioni, Amitai. “Chapter 6: Arguing A Position.” The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing 9th Ed Short Edition I-cite. N.p.: Bedford/st Martins, 2010. 280-83. Print.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 4 January 2017

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