No! McDonald’s Is Gonna Ruin the Kiddies!
In the essay, “Working at McDonald’s,” Amitai Etzioni shares his strong belief that working, especially at McDonald’s type restaurants, is bad for teenagers. I would agree that working is not a good thing for teenagers under some circumstances but at other times it is good. First, jobs affect school involvement and attendance in bad ways. Second, jobs often provide “on the job experience,” but much of the time the experience taught is useless. Third, fast food jobs may provide a disadvantaged status. Fast food jobs can also provide an advantaged status. Finally, workers can learn to manage their money by making mistakes with money before they get into the Real World.
First, the author writes that jobs conflict with school activities and get in the way of school attendance. This is a totally true statement. Nearly all extra curricular and work activities take place after school. Something I have seen on several occasions is a person will get a job and want to continue playing their sport. After a while their grades will drop and they will have no time to study. The decision they will have to make is which activity to give up. More than half the time they will abandon the sport to find more study time. However, as soon as they quit the sport, their bosses will try to have them work more hours, they will give in, and the problem becomes worse than it was before.
Second, Mr. Etzioni addresses an issue that I believe has two sides that can be argued. He believes that jobs generally don’t provide any kind of training that will be helpful in the future. This may be true because many of the skills taught can be learned in a very short time. Many of the jobs could be done as good or better by a ten-year-old because all it requires is someone to press buttons. This part of the job won’t help anyone in the future. Once they quit, that skill goes with it.
However, there are two things that are learned at a fast food place that can be helpful in the future. If you have ever been to a McDonald’s and had a really slow inefficient worker waiting on you, you probably got a little upset. Efficiency is very important at a fast food place. In the real world, if you are not quick and efficient, you’re not going to make it very far. Also, workers learn many people skills that can be helpful to them in later experiences in the work force. For example, if a person orders something wrong by accident, leaves, and then returns demanding a new sandwich, the employee must try to calm the person down and fix the problem without losing the business money or getting the customer more upset than they already are. This is not always easy and can serve as excellent experience for future jobs.
Third, Mr. Etzioni states in his essay that fast food jobs provide a disadvantaged status for workers in the future. This I believe is only true if you look at this issue from one side. Mr. Etzioni said that 80 percent of the people working in fast food work more than 30 hours per week, and 58 percent of high school seniors say working affects their school work. From that perspective they are at a disadvantage. If a student is working more than 30 hours per week, they don’t have time for extra curricular activities which play a big role in what college they get accepted at. Also if their grades drop as a result of work they will have a harder time getting into college and the way to a good job is through college.
However, the problem with this is that it doesn’t take into account two very important things. Working a job well can give you some big advantages in looking for another job. The worker’s boss often times will give a great referral so the worker can get a higher paying job somewhere else. This extra money can be used to pay for college in the future. Furthermore, college scholarship applications often ask for a list of jobs you have worked in the past. If you were a manager at McDonald’s, that could be that extra push needed to give a scholarship.
Finally, Mr. Etzioni explains that working jobs doesn’t teach teens good money habits. First of all, I don’t believe it is McDonald’s job to teach kids how to use their money. One of the biggest advantages to having money at that age is that they can completely mess up and it won’t affect them in a dangerous way. Having money to spend can teach kids to spend their money wisely. The first several times they see something they want they will buy and find out later when it goes on sale that they messed up. Also teens try to borrow money all the time to get what they want quick. Often times they will end up in debt, but lucky for them they’re young enough that their parents can bail them out. If they don’t have the chance to make these mistakes before they move away, the consequences could be much more devastating.
In conclusion, I agree with Mr. Etzioni’s essay in some ways and disagree in other ways. Kids need to be involved with school and working fast food jobs gets in the way of that. A fast food job teaches both useful skills as well as useless skills. Workers will often times gain a disadvantaged status from working during school, but if they can keep up their grades it can help them in finding new jobs or getting into schools. And finally, having a job can help kids learn good money habits through their mistakes.
What do you think? Should kids work fast food?
(9 paragraphs, 985 words, 3 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font)