“Working at McDonald’s,”  by Amitai Etzioni

Summary and Critical Response


In ”Working at McDonald’s,” Amitai Etzioni argues that early employment starting from high school may become disadvantageous for youngsters in future. The writer is inclined to believe that such job opportunities may hinder their studies, professional development and improvement, thus, granting them skills that they might not need at a well-paid job, if they had a chance to get one.

Etzioni begins the discussion by explaining that teenagers are only able to gain a limited number of skills with early part time jobs, while these skills are still not enough to merit a good and healthy lifestyle for the teenagers in their future years. Etzioni asserts these jobs as highly un-educational as being much routinized. Moreover, Etzioni points out as to how the work at such jobs only leads to disturbance in the homework and school courses that such teenagers undertake. It is also imperative to know that such teenagers do not learn much about life as they should have learnt according to older traditions. In fact, such teenagers, according to Etzioni, become incapable of creativity and reinvention since they are designed to follow orders like robots.


Critical Response

When it comes to the critical response, it is worth noting that much of what Etzioni points out is quite true to the core. In real life, it is hard for a teenager working at McDonald’s to earn high wages in high jobs as the teenager more than likely is to drop out of school and work at low income wages for the rest of his life, usually turning towards the deviant acts of society, such as heists and other sorts of crime. It is also quite apparent that many of the teenagers who work at McDonald’s and similar fast food restaurants lack skills and creativity since they are made to follow the same routine every day, and every hour. According to Etzioni, this allows teenagers to act more like dull and non-creative individuals rather than innovative and creative individuals, which is true in real life as well.

Etzioni is also quite critical of how she relates the teenagers who work at fast food restaurants with their particular jobs in the future, relating them to lower wages jobs, which is actually true in real life as well. I have seen numerous people working at low level jobs with their past job experiences being sufficient and exemplary in fast food restaurants. Somehow, Etzioni makes sense when she says that while the wages of the teenage jobs are relatively nicely paid, the jobs themselves are disadvantageous as they mess with the children’s schooling and their chances of gaining educational dominance in their careers, which would have obviously increased the chances of such people gaining high jobs.

When it comes to Etzioni’s critique of how consumerism becomes the habit of most teenagers, unlike in the past days, this statement is right again as most teenagers dwell into following trends and fashion, often wasting much of their earned money when they should have utilized it in more profitable and creative ways. Since it is clear that innovation and creativity escapes the minds of such teenagers, it is not surprising to say as to how quickly such teenagers are able to direct their life into the wrath of consumerism rather than into the fruits of entrepreneurship. To conclude, according to Amitai Etzioni, the writer is inclined to be in favor of an idea that teenagers should study and learn rather than work part-time as eventually they will have the time to gain a job pursuant to acquired skills and knowledge.