"McJob" redux

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Mar 20 16:18:12 UTC 2007

McDonald's is up in arms (again) about the dictionary definition of
"McJob". In 2003 they complained about Merriam-Webster's definition,
and now it's the OED's turn.

Financial Times, Mar. 19, 2007

McDonald's seeks to redefine 'McJob'

McDonald's, home to the McMuffin and the McNugget, is fed up with
being home to the McJob.
The UK arm of the fast food chain is starting a campaign to get
British dictionary publishers to revise their definitions of the word
"McJob", a term the Oxford English Dictionary describes as "an
unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by
the expansion of the service sector".
The word first emerged in the US in the 1980s to describe low-skilled
jobs in the fast food industry but was popularised by the Canadian
writer Douglas Coupland, in his 1991 novel Generation X. It appeared
in the online version of the OED in March 2001. McDonald's plans a
"high-profile public petition" this year to get it changed.
"We believe that it is out of date, out of touch with reality and most
importantly it is insulting to those talented, committed, hard-working
people who serve the public every day," wrote David Fairhurst, chief
people officer in northern Europe for McDonald's, in a letter seen by
the Financial Times seeking support for the petition. "It's time the
dictionary definition of "McJob" changed to reflect a job that is
stimulating, rewarding and offers genuine opportunities for career
progression and skills that last a lifetime."

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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