5 Reasons A Job With McDonald’s Is A Good Career Starter

Today’s job market is still teetering between bad and worse. For today’s youth specifically, finding good work is still difficult. The labor force is certainly shifting from traditional full-time work to more contract or part-time work. This shift is causing volatility in labor market in comparison to decades prior. In addition, reduced manufacturing in America has caused most Americans, both young and old, to oversaturate the service job market, which consequently includes most of the part-time work.

More and more baby boomers are settling in part-time service jobs to help pay bills or avoid a dismal retirement, and this influx in the part-time job market doesn’t help today’s youth find the types of jobs that pay dividends in the future. With the exception of a few types of part-time jobs, some which can’t even be mentioned, most part-time work doesn’t typically pay well.

The irony is that people only get part-time jobs to help pay the bills. This oversaturated job market now leaves today’s youth with very few options and in some cases, pitiful jobs. Then again, if all benefits were examined more closely, perhaps most of the pitiful jobs might not be so pitiful after all.

For part-time workers, the least considered benefit is personal development. For most part-time workers, convenience, flexibility, and pay are what they consider to be the most attractive benefits of a part-time job. However, convenience, flexibility, and pay generally don’t impact your personal development. Perhaps this approach to acquiring a new part-time job needs some re-thinking. Most wealthy business people have one thing in common – they don’t waste time on something that doesn’t give back.

So why work at a job because it’s convenient? Convenience is a personal development killer. Convenience is for customers, not workers, managers, or executives.  Flexibility might be worth considering, but that only depends on what else workers do with their “extra” time. If your part-time job allows you to be flexible so that you can go to school to earn a living – then by all means, certainly consider it as a legitimate benefit. If you’re using flexibility to party every night, then you should re-think how you assess the benefits of your part-time job.

Pay can be a great benefit, but it’s typically difficult to find a part-time job that pays very well unless it’s contract or professional work. If choosing between one part-time job and another comes down to pennies on the dollar, then it’s not likely worth making the switch. When it comes down to it, pay only really matters when it’s significant.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food franchise, which employs thousands of part-time workers, is currently under scrutiny as 27,000 current and former employees filed a class action lawsuit claiming that McDonald’s illegally underpaid them. The lawsuits were filed in California, Michigan, and New York, with workers claiming that managers of the restaurants applied unethical tactics to avoid paying workers their full pay.

Although this seems like it might not be the best time to consider working at McDonald’s, specifically if it’s for the money, believe it or not, there are other reasons to consider. When it comes to personal development, perhaps today’s youth can consider jobs that pay dividends down the road. Look at the successes of others who once donned the golden arches’ uniform, such as former governor Joe Kernan, female artist Pink, former Chief of Staff Andy Card, and current Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos – all have developed into consummate professionals.

If you can’t get anything out of your part-time job other than some flexible hours and decent pay, then maybe you’re not looking hard enough or just wasting your time. The part-time job can be much underappreciated, but also so critical in the early development of one’s career. Perhaps employers and employees should pay closer attention to what they offer. Here are five reasons someone might want to consider starting their career at McDonald’s.

5 It Provides Quality Training

Typical McDonald’s training is far more effective than most fast food franchises. There are three elements of the training that are critical to McDonald’s: service, quality, and operations. Customer service training is far superior to that of other part-time employers, and despite the few times many of us have been served by a teenager with an attitude problem, generally speaking, you’re greeted with a smile – ok, maybe just a smirk.

No need to dispute the quality of the food, we’re all aware of the type of food, but let’s look at quality from a different angle all together. Let’s look at the consistency in quality as opposed to the nutritional value of the food. The consistent taste and quality that McDonald’s delivers on a global scale can be attributed to the level of training McDonald’s workers receive.

Finally, operations, where efficiency and effectiveness go on full charge. Granted, cutting work hours or misleading employees is not condoned, but also necessary. Generally speaking, McDonald’s has been effective at managing store operations at all levels and young workers get to witness it well before most MBA students read about it in a textbook.

4 You'll Gain An Understanding Of Hierarchy And Teamwork

The understanding of business structure, operations, hierarchy, and teamwork are all critical and prevalent at all levels of employment at McDonald’s. It doesn’t matter if you’re cleaning toilets, dressing burgers, or salting fries; McDonald’s is all about structure (who does what), hierarchy (who leads what), and teamwork (work together or fail).

By the time a McDonald’s employee leaves McDonald’s, they will be equipped to work in teams, work for a manager or a few, and understand that their role in executing is critical to the over-arching strategy of an organization.

3 You Learn Accountability

The best part of any well-trained and structured job is that employees cannot escape accountability. Instead, they are trained to take it head on. When employees are accountable for their actions (either productive or counter-productive), they promote a transparent work environment that allows mistakes to happen and teams to move on.

McDonald’s is like that by design and also by sheer chaos ($6.5 million burgers are sold per day). With 75 trios being sold every 75 seconds, there’s no time to point fingers – suck it up and move on.

2 It Demands Good Work Ethic

Work ethic is fancy talk for 'trying hard.' There’s no need to be fancy. Working hard is simply applying more effort, even when you feel it’s no longer possible. Believe it or not, work ethic is the critical reason why people succeed in achieving their goals. Outside of luck, it would be difficult to find someone successful who hasn’t at some point applied themselves so extensively.

Some employees can probably coast while working at McDonald’s, but generally speaking, McDonald’s employees are hustlers. They are multi-taskers and achievers collaborating to deliver the same McDonald’s experience time and time again. Some of them had these qualities before they even started working at McDonald’s. But most of them actually develop these skills, and the one competency that helps kickoff this journey in personal development is work ethic. Working at McDonald’s teaches employees to work hard, the one competency they should value the rest of their lives.

1 It Can Suck

Just like any other job, working at McDonald’s can be a struggle. But a little a struggle can help motivate anyone to push forward. Without struggle, achievement is merely assumed and not earned. Many successful people have developed their careers while at McDonald’s or after they left.

In the end, all that really matters is what you get out of it. If that ends up being a miserable stay in a stressful, unrewarding environment, you'll at least have gained that experience, learned from it, and be ready to tackle your next challenge. Surely it will be more forgiving than Ronald.

More in Companies