Working and Maintaining Positive Life Goals

Lokesh Thammabathula

Engl 3000-04

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Instructor Georgie Ziff

Date: 10/21/16

Position Essay First Draft

Finding work to occupy a teenager’s free time is essential for their growth and goes a long way in shaping their values and priorities. Teenagers often find part time jobs while in high school in order to learn, earn and be productive. It is fair to say that the exposure to the employment environment at an early age imparts a kind of intelligence and responsibility that cannot be taught at school, contrary to Etzioni’s claims that working employed jobs exposes teenagers to dangers of dropping out of school and losing focus about life.

The value of work at McDonald’s may not be prestigious but is good enough for teenagers who cannot seek full time employment. The job is good for various reasons including the fact that the teenager assists the parents in these tough economic times. According to Etzioni, there is no mention of what positive the jobs have on the teenagers. The teenagers grow responsible after working for a few months as they can handle some bills on their own. They also become responsible citizens as they learn how to handle their time by way of attending school and work during their free time.

The issue of teens dropping out of school in order to keep working cannot be blamed on the fast food chain jobs. The environment is not very conducive for professional growth but is a motivation to seek better employment in the future. This is not the fault of these workplaces because a teen brought up with the right values knows the importance of education as well as work. They will learn how to strike a balance between work and school on their own and with a little help from the parents (Etzioni 318). They will, in time find that working at McDonald’s is not a career but a job to hold just to get by.

The wastage of money by teenagers as they work for McDonald’s cannot be blamed on the type of job they hold, it is attributed to the personality of the individual teenager. It is unfair for Etzioni to insist that working a McDonald’s job encourages bad spending habits. . This further goes to show that the trends are in no way related to the teens working at a McDonald’s restaurant (Etzioni 318). A former McDonald’s employee was positive about the job. He insists that the job taught him responsibility and that beyond the sneers that meet McDonald’s workers, the shifts are excellent (Parkinson). From a student’s perspective, the shifts make it easy to manage school work while at the same time earning some money on the side. 

The money that teenagers earn at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant is not much but enough to cater for their needs as they do not require to pay rent and their tuition fees, contrary to what Etzioni feels about teenagers working at these employment places. Etzioni finds that most of the teenagers waste their money trying to build themselves a status. Once again, this kind of behavior cannot be pinned on the type of job offered at a McDonald’s food restaurant. It is not a problem as some of the teens who work save the money for their college fees, buy a car, and many other good things, while some waste it on irrelevant undertakings like liquor and hard drugs (Etzioni 318). What happens is that the teens who waste their money are trying to compensate for something else that is in no way related to the kind of job they hold. Being a sociologist, Etzioni should have known that these types behavior could be a result of low self-esteem and any money they get, is used trying to do things to things that help them fit in what they feel is their status of choice. This is attributed to the confidence they have been brought up with and has nothing to do with the kind of job they hold (Etzioni 318). Teens spending money on what is trendy without having to rely on their parents makes them have better confidence in themselves and to some extent makes them more responsible and reliable (Etzioni 318). One teenager wrote an article about her experience at McDonald’s as a worker. She learnt expensive life lessons that only being stuck at a McDonald’s restaurant would offer, humility and empathy (Norquay).

Obtaining work during the high school years means that teenagers have less time to indulge in negative social activities contrary to Etzioni’s arguments that they encourage bad behavior among them. Working a McDoanld’s job gives an individual important experiences that are necessary for facilitating future employment as well as entrepreneurial undertakings. Etzioni’s sentiments about a McDonald’s job are biased to the negatives while not considering that there are people who do not have many options in acquiring part time jobs to supplement what their schools teach (Etzioni 316). The likelihood that a teenager who has worked at McDonald’s will leave school and make it a permanent employment should be minimal. The less money earned at a first job is supposed to motivate the teenagers to complete school and get better paying jobs. Etzioni has no mention of this in his article, where he only shows that the poverty levels remain present in the lives of the teenagers way past their teenage years (317). The lack of role models in form of older and experienced supervisors at these work stations leaves the teenagers without ambition to be better, according to Etzioni. However, this is a chance for these young people to find out what they are good at on their own rather than be forced to replicate the lives of their role models and in the process miss their chances of being unique. Etzioni’s claims may hold water for a selected few teenagers who lose out on learning points where they would acquire skills on ethics and proper work etiquette by being under supervision as they work (Etzioni 318).  At the same time Etzioni may be right about teenagers being exposed to a life of luxuries without guidance and limits because they do not depend on their parents and, therefore, cannot be controlled or guided. This point again goes back to the kind of parenting of the individual as this behavior can only be noted in a few of the teenagers. 

Etzioni’s essay reminds me of a job that is really not very different from the McDonald’s food restaurants. He would probably find it similar to the McDonald’s job. In the real sense however, the job was good and I got to buy myself a car with the savings while my colleagues paid their college fees I worked at a shoes store and the shifts were long and the supervision was only done by surveillance cameras placed at random around the store. The only monitoring mechanism was the volume of sales. 

The type of job one does before college and how it affects their lives is fully dependent on the individual and their upbringing. Etzioni’s essay focusses only on the negatives of the job whereas, the problems arising in the teenagers working the job have underlying issues like low self-esteem, poverty, and absentee parents. They deal with their problems and the money they earn only but these are not the causes of their issues.

Works Cited

Etzioni, Amitai. “Working at McDonald’s.” Bauer, Stephanie. Reading Critically, Writing Well. 2011. 316-319.

Norquay, Kate. “What I learnt from Four years working at McDonalds.” 28 November 2015. Medium. 21 October 2016.

Parkinson, Justin. “What’s it really like to work at McDonald’s.” 15 April 2015. BBC NEWS. 21 October 2015.

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