They’re Not McJobs, They’re McCareers

mcdonalds, big mac,

Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business

The recent economic recession has had effects on seemingly every nation in the world, and the much-heralded recovery still appears to be some way off.There are very few respected forecasters who are prepared to pinpoint when things will get better, so we all need to be ready for some continuing difficulties in the next few years.

Amid all the rather impersonal news reports about companies facing financial problems, it’s easy to forget that behind the headlines there are heart-breaking tales of individuals and families facing hardship in the wake of redundancies. It seems that holding onto a job is more important these days than building a career path within a single organisation.

In recent years, many people have been quick to point to jobs in fast food restaurants as the epitome of dead-end positions that go nowhere. There is a common concept that such establishments only employ people who have little or no chance of career progression, who lack academic qualifications and who don’t have the wherewithal to find a job anywhere else.

Inaccurate generalizations

This is a somewhat blinkered attitude, and in many cases it’s also way off the mark. While the industry often accepts new employees who have little in the way of qualifications, there is a clearly defined career path for those that have the talent and the drive to progress. The slightly patronizing image of an industry littered with meaningless ‘McJobs’ is an inaccurate one. Entry level jobs within the fast food industry are generally low-paid, of course, but a significant proportion of new employees will have progressed beyond this stage within a relatively short time, so it’s important to remember that hope is always there for many individuals.

This isn’t always the case in other sectors, so the glass can often be seen as half full and not half empty. Many fast food businesses are franchises, and a number of them are presumed to be poor at staff development. However, such organisations generally have a focused training programme that is designed to ensure employees know what’s expected of them at each stage of their progression. Many non-franchise companies could actually learn a great deal from these schemes in the future.

Opportunities for progression

The stereotype of so-called burger-flipping jobs has continued to show the industry in a negative light, but many employees have found to their delight that there are opportunities to get away from the more mundane tasks. And those that sneer about this sector should also be considering how dull it can be to be in a data entry position in one of the country’s virtual offices or to be driving up and down the highways of the nation on a daily basis.

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