McDonald's Has a Beef With the OED


March 20, 2007— -- McDonald's U.K. has launched a campaign to get British dictionary publishers to revise their definitions of "McJob."

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a "McJob" is "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector."

"It's the complete opposite to that," Amanda Pierce, McDonald's spokesperson and employee of 15 years, told ABC News. "It's stimulating, rewarding and offers a wide range of opportunities. All the skills I have learned at McDonald's will last me a lifetime," Pierce said.

Pierce, who started on the shop floor of McDonald's and now works for the McDonald's U.K. head office, is a shining example of the career path that the American fast food chain can offer its U.K. employees. "The McJob isn't what you think it is," she said.

In May, McDonald's will begin offering its employees the opportunity to sign a petition to turn the expression into something more positive in the hopes of changing the way people see McDonald's jobs. The company will gather as many signatures as possible before submitting the request to dictionary publishing houses.

It has a hard task ahead, as McJob has entered not only the dictionary but the British and American vocabulary. On both sides of the Atlantic, it means a low-paying job with few prospects. First used in the United States in the 1980s, the word was popularized by Douglas Coupland's 1991 book "Generation X."

Today, McDonald's jobs are often considered decent gigs for high school dropouts or temporary jobs for students paying off loans. And at home, parents warn their children: If you don't study hard, you'll end up working at McDonald's.

But the McDonald's publicity machine is trying to work the Mc-expression to its advantage. Last year, as part of its employer-branding strategy to woo the best staff, it displayed posters with the slogan "McProspects -- over half of our executive team started in our restaurants. Not bad for a McJob."

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