An unflattering definition for “McJob”—included in the most recent edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary—has upset the McDonald’s corporation.
The dictionary, which claims to be “America’s best-selling desk dictionary,” defines a McJob as “a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.”
Other dictionaries, including the American Heritage Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary and Webster’s Dictionary, include and similarly define “McJob,” according to a recent Associated Press article.
For example, the American Heritage Dictionary defined “McJob” in its fourth edition as “a job, usually in the retail or service sector, that is low paying, often temporary, and offers minimal or no benefits or opportunity for promotion.”
But this latest entry in Merriam-Webster’s popular tome prompted serious attention from McDonald’s chairman and CEO Jim Cantalupo.
“I take exception to Merriam-Webster’s decision to include the term ‘McJob’ in the most recent edition of its dictionary,” Cantalupo said in a press release.
Cantalupo also wrote an open letter to Merriam-Webster’s. It was published in the Nov. 3 edition of Nation’s Restaurant News (and included in Cantalupo’s release).
The definition in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Cantalupo wrote, “is not only an inaccurate description of restaurant employment but 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 then argued for the integrity of restaurant employees and provided examples of senior executives who started with a “McJob.” He also pointed out that McDonald’s owns a trademark for McJOBS, which refers to a program training mentally and physically challenged people and placing them in the workforce.
“In the interest of accuracy and fairness and to serve readers better,” Cantalupo concluded, “we are confident Merriam-Webster will eliminate its inaccurate definition of restaurant employment in the next edition and on its Internet site right now.”
Merriam-Webster’s is standing by its word, according to Reuters, saying that “for more than 17 years ‘McJob’ has been used as we are defining it in a broad range of publications.”