McDonald's campaigns to change OED's McJob definition

LONDON - McDonald's is lobbying the Oxford English Dictionary to change its entry for McJob, the term popularised by 'Generation X - Tales for an Accelerated Culture' author Douglas Coupland to describe low wage, limited prospects, service industry work.

The fast food giant, which last year launched a recruitment campaign dubbed McOpportunity to attract management trainees, said the current definition of McJob is "out of touch with reality" and "insulting" to the company's staff.

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

McDonald's already owns the copyright for McJobs, but is likely to encounter strong difficulties shaking off the negative connotations of the term, which have been used by McDonald's critics since the mid-1980s to deride its working practices.

The campaign comes before the UK release of 'Fast Food Nation', the film directed by 'Slackers' director Richard Linklater and based on writer Eric Schlosser's book, on May 4, which takes a close look at the health, environmental and social impacts of the fast food industry.

McDonald's has now started a petition that will aim to gain support for changing the dictionary definition of McJob to reflect what it describes as the company's good career opportunities.

David Fairhurst, chief people officer northern Europe for McDonald's, said: "We believe that it is out of date, out of touch with reality and most importantly it is insulting to those talented, hard-working people who serve the public every day.

"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."

In April last year, McDonald's launched its McOpportunity recruitment scheme, under the slogan "not bad for a McJob", which displayed in 1,200 of its UK restaurants, highlighting the benefits of working "McFlexible hours".

In response to McDonald's petition, the OED said it always monitored changes in word usage and that these were reflected "according to evidence".