HR Strange But True!
December 03, 2003

Dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster is standing by its decision to add the word "McJob" to its latest Collegiate Dictionary.

The dictionary defines "McJob" as "a low paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement."

The inclusion drew the ire of the world's largest fast-food chain, with Chairman and Chief Executive Jim Cantalupo going so far as to send an open letter of complaint to Merriam-Webster. He said the definition "is not only an inaccurate description of restaurant employment, it's also a slap in the face to the 12 million men and women who work hard every day in America's 900,000 restaurants."

Cantalupo took issue with the notion that work in the fast-food outlets is a dead-end job, noting that more than 1,000 people who own McDonald's franchises got their training serving customers behind the counter. Even McDonald's President and Chief Operating Officer Charlie Bell began that way, he added.

"In fact, McDonald's trains more young people than America's armed forces," Cantalupo said.

Merriam-Webster responded by issuing a statement that essentially said: Nice try.

"For more than 17 years, 'McJob' has been used as we are defining it in a broad range of publications, including The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Publishers Weekly, Rolling Stone, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, Ms., Harper's, The New Republic, Utne Reader, The Vancouver Sun," the publisher said.

It added that "words qualify for inclusion in the dictionary because they are widely and commonly used in a broad range of carefully edited sources."

Source: Reuters, via USA Today

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