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McJob was in use at least as early as 1986, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines it as "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector." [1] The term "McJob" was added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2003,[2] over the objections of McDonald's.

The term was coined by sociologist Amitai Etzioni, and appeared in the Washington Post on August 24, 1986 in the article "McJobs are Bad for Kids". [3][4] The term was popularized by Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, described therein as "a low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one."[5] In the novel, the term is not used in reference to McDonald's; Andy, the narrator, uses it only once, in reference to the bartending job held by his friend Dag.[5]



  1. "Merriam-Webster: 'McJob' is here to stay". The Associated Press. November 11, 2003.
  2. [1]
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  4. [3]
  5. 5.0 5.1 Coupland, Douglas. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. St Martin's Press, 1991. p. 5 ISBN 0-312-05436-X Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "coupland" defined multiple times with different content

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