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“Working at McDonald’s” Article by Amitai Etzioni

Article Summary

In “Working at McDonald’s,” Amitai Etzioni argues that jobs for teenagers in the fast-food industry are highly uneducational and harmful to the future of young people in many ways. According to the author, the jobs that teenagers obtain right after school are often seen as a good first experience concerning adult life, the worth of money, and responsibilities. However, in reality, such jobs are destructive because, first of all, they disrupt the attendance of school and thus produce a negative impact on the academic success of the youth. Secondly, these jobs are highly routinized and extremely low-skill. Differently put, the skills young people can learn working in fast food chains take time to master and are practically useless in the long run.

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Finally, such jobs tend to suck the youngsters in the world of the low-skill professions providing no opportunities for growth and development and offering no career ladders. Moreover, fast food chains have an extremely structured workflow that completely restricts any kind of creativity or initiative, thus enforcing a wrong kind of leadership and hierarchy and teaching blind obedience to the teenagers working there. In addition, long shifts and after-hours contribute to the exhaustion of the workers, and low salaries make them believe that their labor is worth very little.

Critical Response

In his article “Working at McDonald’s,” Amitai Etzioni made several very interesting and important points that resonated with my own ideas concerning part- and full-time jobs done by teenagers.

First of all, since the types of work that can be entrusted to teenagers without any qualifications are most often very low-skill, the youths’ working experience is likely to place them at the bottom levels of various career fields. Discussing the benefits of early working experiences, many point out that internships and practice could start the young people off in their preferred careers and provide them with chances to grow in those directions in the future (“Teenagers and part-time jobs: benefits, drawbacks, and tips,” 2010).

However, in reality, very few teenagers have a clear vision of their desired future careers when they are in high-school, whereas their intention to earn money for personal expenses is very strong. As a result, many teenagers end up getting unofficial part-time jobs (such as babysitting or yard cleaning), and the others go to low-skill spheres of labor such as fast-food chains (“Teenagers and part-time jobs: benefits, drawbacks, and tips,” 2010).

Practically, the teenagers’ earnings can definitely help relieve their parents from some of the financial burdens; however, at the same time, part- and full-time work often disrupts the academic lives of teenagers, increasing their absenteeism at schools, preventing them from attending extracurricular activities, and weakening their academic performance (Korotkykh, 2012).

In addition to the educators speaking against employment for teenagers, psychologists argue that teenage and adolescence are the important developmental periods when young people should stay free from burdens of adult life and responsibilities in order to avoid getting overworked and stressed out or developing flawed values (Mortimer, 2010).

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Overall, there exists a substantial body of research focused on the exploration of the influence of jobs on the lives of teenagers and young people; the researchers have mixed opinions and find both positive and negative factors impacting working youngsters. Apart from the financial gains, the main argument supporting adolescent work is based on the feeling of satisfaction due to having adult roles and responsibilities and learning useful professional skills such as teamwork, performance under the leadership, coping with unexpected workplace situations, customer service, and communication (Mortimer, 2010; “Teenagers and part-time jobs: benefits, drawbacks, and tips,” 2010).

Additionally, it is argued that the teenagers who are employed tend to have less free time to engage in antisocial behaviors and develop harmful habits (“Teenagers and part-time jobs: benefits, drawbacks, and tips,” 2010).

At the same time, the negative aspects of adolescent employment are much more impactful. For instance, teenagers holding full-time jobs (over 30 hours per week) have a tendency to drop out of schools and fail to pursue further education, thus limiting their future employment and income opportunities and, basically, binding themselves to low-skill labor for the rest of their lives (Mortimer, 2010).

Moreover, as specified in “Working at McDonald’s,” low-skill jobs done by teenagers result in the popularization of flawed and impractical perceptions of work and professional dynamics among young people; such perceptions are likely to harm the careers of the youths in the future, as the habits acquired in the low-skill fields are useless or sometimes even unwanted in high-skill careers and workplaces. Finally, work during school years is extremely distracting in relation to the academic lives of teenagers and may produce a negative impact on their performance at school, thus jeopardizing their future careers.

Summing up all the arguments mentioned above, one could easily notice that adolescent employment does more harm than good to the future growth and development of young people and limits their future career opportunities instead of preparing them for successful adult life.


Korotkykh, P. (2012). Advantages and disadvantages of part-time jobs for students. Web.

Mortimer, J. T. (2010). The benefits and risks of adolescent employment. Prevention Research, 17(2), 8-11.

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Teenagers and part-time jobs: benefits, drawbacks, and tips. (2010). Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 15). “Working at McDonald’s” Article by Amitai Etzioni.

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"“Working at McDonald’s” Article by Amitai Etzioni." StudyCorgi, 15 May 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "“Working at McDonald’s” Article by Amitai Etzioni." May 15, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "“Working at McDonald’s” Article by Amitai Etzioni." May 15, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "“Working at McDonald’s” Article by Amitai Etzioni." May 15, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) '“Working at McDonald’s” Article by Amitai Etzioni'. 15 May.

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