October 10, 2004

A dot-com to McDonald's? Say it isn't so!

While scanning through the stuff on Dr. Jerz' weblogs, I came across a web page that I remembered him discussing with us in class... A guy who used to be a CEO at a dot-com organization ended up working at McDonald's instead.

Dr. Jerz' link to this site really gave me something to think about. Why? Because I work at McDonald's right now, and I have a hard time imagining a professional businessman flipping hamburgers or ringing up at the registers.

It seems peculiar that someone who used to be near the "top of the heap," would choose to subject himself to the McDonald's demoralization; I can affirm his claims that the pay is pathetic and the tasks are a pain.

He says he graduated from the University of Iowa, and yet he ended up no better off than a college freshman who only has time to work on the weekends and once in a while during the week; well, okay, a little better off salary-wise, but not by much.

It kind of makes me wonder about the value of a college education; I mean, I certainly hope that once I graduate and I get that superior job that I'm striving for that I never have to come back to the grill assembly line to toss together a Big Mac.

He claims that he took the job in order to "get back in touch with the real world," and I'm sure that's exactly what McDonald's did for him. Most of the people I (and probably he) work with are far from the "bankers, lawyers, internet freaks, corporate wonks, and other people" that he mentions. In fact, most of them are adults just below or just over the age of 20, which puts most of them in college, like me.

I wonder if he is getting a nostalgic feeling. Nah, the overwhelming stench of mixed sweat and grease is probably getting to his head even now.

Posted by ChrisU at October 10, 2004 02:59 AM

Money being what it is, it's value cannot be overlooked. Atleast not in the present day life that we lead. True that the condition is unfortunate. Which isnt to say that I disagree with you. I feel that we place much more importance on money and we forget about everything else that life has to offer, including relationships. Personally, I've been through times with money and without, and as such it really makes no difference to me as long as I have enough to pay off my bills. Ultimately, we learn that it doesn't matter what people think of our situation as long as we're happy with what we're doing. By the same token, people are responsible for the choices they make and their consequences.

Education - well, that's a horse of a different color. I'll have to agree that the best ticket out of any unwanted economic situation is probably education. It never hurts to add qualifications. It's what we do with them that matters. Skills inscribed on engraved paper really aren't much help if they aren't put to use. Look around you - the most successful people out there are the ones who chose to walk the extra ten miles to make sure life would get slightly better than it was yesterday. It's all about the choices we make.

Posted by: Neha at October 11, 2004 04:38 PM

Yeah, I'm a freshman alright, Neha... And I understand your point about skills being skills.

In truth, I don't look down on my McDonald's job in the context of where I am at my life right now, because a beginner in the world of work like me is of course only going to be able to get the beginner jobs. I just look down on the work itself, in general, because it makes you feel like nothing more than another cog in the machine.

However, I know some people at the restaurant where I work that are much older that I am and once had aspirations similar to those I have; I don't look down on them for working at McDonald's either, but I sometimes wonder why they chose to stick with M&J (our corporate head), as opposed to going the "extra mile" in college for a better job. Did they discover that McDonald's was the workplace they enjoyed the most? Did they find nowhere to go to apply once they graduated from college? Did they simply lose motivation and drop out? These are questions that I should probably put to them; however, I don't want to offend them, so I probably never will.

You see, I am almost completely disillusioned with the value of money and the "comforts" it provides. I have grown up hearing things such as "you *need* a college education to succeed," "why pay more when you can pay less," "money makes the world go 'round," etc. I simply feel that those who make these kinds of statements are hypocritical or contradictory... I honestly wonder what they would do if they had to go without a paycheck for a week or two... Would their world implode? They allow money and financial concerns to dominate their lives, and I just cannot agree with that kind of attitude.

Now, time and again when discussing this with my parents and others, I have been told that I merely feel this way because I am "too young" and I do not "understand the value of a dollar." No, no, no... I understand the value perfectly. If you want a cheeseburger at McDonald's in the US, you must have a green piece of paper with a printed face upon it for exchange... Otherwise McDonald's has no obligation to feed you, you do not deserve to eat, and you will probably not eat. There is something inherently wrong with that, in my opinion. There is something inherently wrong with currency being used to decide who is happy and healthy and who is not. There is something inherently wrong with placing a price tag on such services as saving someone's life in a hospital... Of course, many argue that the reason behind the price is that those operations require funds to perform (equipment, staff, etc.). But if there were no currency to begin with, then that equipment, those doctors' services, and everything else that go along with them would be free anyways.

Anyways, I have kind of gone off at a weird angle, so I'll stop it here. Suffice to say, that I feel our world would be better off without currency. Yes, there are plenty of arguments to defend its worth, but I think that all of them could be countered in some manner (not that I would be able to do it, but I still believe it to be possible).

Maybe sometime in the future I'll post a blog entry that analyzes my thoughts on this in more depth.

Posted by: ChrisU at October 10, 2004 08:49 PM

Chris, are you a freshman? If you are, then this is a great time to think about the rest of your life. Too many students who graduate on time think about the next step on the day after. I honestly think that no one should get into anything they aren't passionate about, because that makes planning the rest of their lives a lot more easier. It all depends on how marketable you can make yourself. Don't look down on your MCDonald's job. Someday you'll probably be sitting in your employers office, telling him/her that you've developed team skills. Skills are skills, regardless of where they come from.

Posted by: Neha at October 10, 2004 08:08 PM
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