McJob Meaning and History
Jaap de Jonge, Management Consultant, NetherlandsMeaning of the Term McJob
A 'McJob' is slang for a low-paying, low-prestige, dead end job that requires few skills and offers very little chance of intracompany advancement. The term 'McJob' comes from the name of the fast-food restaurant McDonald's, but is used to describe any low-status job — regardless of the employer — where little training is required, staff turnover is high, and workers' activities are tightly regulated by managers. Working at a tedious, unappreciated, low paying job, especially one at a fast food restaurant, is also referred to as 'flipping burgers' or 'slinging hash'.
History of the Term McJob
The term was coined by sociologist Amitai Etzioni, and appeared in the Washington Post on August 24, 1986 in the article "McJobs are Bad for Kids". The term was popularized by Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, described therein 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."