Summary and Critical Response of “Working at McDonald’s by Etzioni Amitai”

In working at “McDonalds”, Etzioni Amitai contends that the place is not suitable for teenagers. He attests that teenage working at McDonald’s deprives teenagers of their quality time in school. On the one hand, the job may seem beneficial in bringing up self-reliant individuals, however, the long-term impact lies from the fact that the jobs do not teach students enough skills that would be essential in their later life; they encourage school absenteeism or minimize attendance; and concurrently affect the teenagers’ values such as opinions concerning dollar worth.

Amitai considers McDonald’s and other fast-foods restaurants type of jobs unfit for teen students due to several reasons. First, teenage jobs are highly structured such that the extensive activities in the job area do not create time for innovation, school involvement, and primary rearrangement. Thus, the future is deprived of innovation and creativity. Moreover, teenagers are only taught how to operate particular things such as machines and not taught how to acquire the skills to do so. While studies show that these teenagers may find it easier to get jobs (subsistent-income jobs) four years later as compared to seniors, their long-term career and marketable skills are likely to be jeopardized especially when they do not have the grades to get them to college. All in all, Etzioni finds youth employment a social problem as it encourages flee from school and school responsibilities, rapid pleasure, poor financial management and an easy way to an entrepreneurial feature of grown-up life. Therefore, parents should help students balance their job and school responsibility or let them delve into schooling.

Critical Response

In his essay, Etzioni demystifies his conviction that working particularly at McDonald and other related restaurants are unfit for teenagers. This may be true to some extent, but under certain situations, it may be suitable. Etzioni is correct by outlining his reasons as to why fast-food restaurants are unsuitable for teenagers. To begin with, these jobs influence school attendance and involvement. Secondly, the experience encountered at restaurants is many times a waste of time. Aside from that, working at McDonald and other fast-food restaurants may be a learning experience for teenage students to manage their finances before getting into the real world.

First and foremost, Etzioni’s arguments are correct where he writes that teenage jobs prohibit schools’ attendance and responsibilities. Almost all work doings and extra-curricular activities are undertaken after school program. It has occurred in several circumstances that a teenager may get a job and still want to keep their sport. With time, they would lack sufficient time to study leading to their poor grades. As they adjust their time for studies by dropping the sports activity, their employer may want them to work more hours, which they are likely to accede to. Eventually, the social problem becomes brim (Schlosser, 2012).

Additionally, Etzioni is convinced that teenage jobs may not give teenagers the skills that would be useful in the long-run. However, this argument has two sides of a coin. Despite the fact that the skills provided may be helpful only for a short time and dropped once the teenager quits the job, some attributes taught can be useful in the future. For instance, due to the high structure of work at fast-food restaurants, efficiency and quick qualities are needed. These attributes are of course useful in the long-term life of a teenager given the complex nature of the world. Besides, challenges encountered at the fast-food restaurants including McDonald, such as one wrongly ordering something, leaves and then comes back to order another, the teenager employee would learn to make the consumer still for him to correct the problem without upsetting the consumer and losing the restaurant’s profits. The attribute of patience is something that would be essential in one’s long-term life and other later jobs (Schlosser, 2012).

Another crucial feature that Etzioni looks only on one side of the coin is where he posits that working long hours in the fast-food restaurants may lead to poor grades and may not allow the students to join colleges of their preference. Besides, the senior students may be disadvantaged after school in finding jobs. However, Etzioni does not consider the fact that after the long-hours jobs, the students’ employers are likely to write impressive referrals for students to get quality and well-paying jobs. The profits from the well-paying jobs may be utilized in paying for college in the future. Besides, numerous scholarships may ask for job experience from applicants and McDonald experience would be instrumental in getting the scholarship.

Furthermore, Etzioni holds, “…but large amounts seem to flow to pay for an early introduction into the tritest aspects of American consumerism: flimsy punk clothes, trinkets and whatever else is in the last fast-moving teen craze.” By this, Etzioni suggests that the fast-food restaurant jobs teaches student’s bad financial habits. This may only be the implication of having money at their hands while in young-age, however, financial management or money habits are not the responsibilities of McDonald in the first place. On the contrary, having money for their effort would teach teens to spend money shrewdly. When they run to spend on ‘unimportant’ things, they, later on, realize that their mistakes mess them up. Besides, teenagers tend to solicit money to spend, once they are in debt, they realize the importance of putting on unnecessary costs to pay debts. Thus, McDonald’s and other related restaurants teach students to have good money behaviors in the long-run. Besides, people learn from mistakes.

In conclusion, despite outlining the implications of working at fast-food restaurants, Etzioni was not all-inclusive when it comes to the advantages brought by teenage jobs in preparation for their future real life. He relied more on the con side at the expense of the pro side. It would be more comprehensive if he would highlight both the bright and dark picture of why or why not teen students should work at fast-food restaurants.

 

Reference
Schlosser, E. (2012). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.