Tuesday, November 13, 2012

McDonald's magic

Recently, a new teacher joined our Primary (the children's organization) at church. He's a Filipino in his 20s (ish), and he works in the UAE at McDonald's. When he told the kids that he worked at McDonald's, he instantly became the most popular adult in the room. The "woooooooowwwwww!" from the awe-struck children was almost audible.

Imagine if a 20s (ish) man worked at McDonald's in the US. I don't think the impression would be quite so magical. Well, maybe it still would be, for the kids. But here, at least according to anecdotal research, McDonald's is a real job that provides a work visa and housing and benefits and possibly even free transportation to and from work. McDonald's employees here are generally (but not always) chipper and really excited about working there, and serving you. It's almost unnerving. Same goes for places like Cinnabon or Burger King or any other restaurant that's kind of meh, in-between employment in the US. Here, it's a real job and it's a great deal for people looking to come here for work.

Anyway, just part of the paradigm here.


Susanne said...

THAT is interesting...hmm

Suzanne Bubnash said...

If we (US) fall over the fiscal cliff I keep reading about, McDonalds-type jobs might take on a higher status around here.

Katie Lewis said...

It is pretty funny that it's so trashy in the US and so classy (from what I hear) basically everywhere outside the US. Guess it just goes to show that you're always least appreciated by those who know you best. Well, that sounds mean and depressing. I don't mean it that way.

sarah said...

I have a friend that was a McDonald's manager in his early 20's and that seemed like a pretty good job considering he was manager over people older than him. And he made quite a good salary if I remember correctly. That's probably the only time I've thought it was cool to work there though..

Bridget said...

I'm sure management, etc. would be a fine job in the US. But this guy is just a regular old worker there, in one of the dumpier emirates, even, and it's still a great job. It's so crazy to think that since Emiratis can't (not enough of them??) or won't (more likely) work at places like that, they have to import labor.

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

I was an assistant manager in Wisconsin and Oregon from 19-20. I think it took about two weeks after I finished training to be promoted. The pay was okay, but once you get into management, the benefits (I am only talking in the US since that is where I was) were pretty awesome.

I don't think customers realize how much more even front-line employees get working for a corporately owned, rather than a franchised, store. If the stores in UAE are corporate owned, I would imagine that they would still be under the "prevailing wage" policy that McD's uses to keep from having workers unionize. When I was working that meant that whatever the prevailing wage (including benefits, etc.) plus 2-5% is what new hires are paid. In places like Oregon where the minimum wage is high, this usually means a dime or so over minimum wage to start. In Wisconsin where minimum wage was whatever the federal minimum wage was, it meant new hires were paid at least $.50-75 during training, and raises came pretty quickly, even without promotion, so that by 18 months most part-time employees were at $1.25-1.50 over minimum wage and full-time employees were at least $2.00 over.

I also got lucky when I moved to Oregon because they figured my hourly pay based on how much over the base pay I was making, rather than the actual wage. When I left Wisconsin I was only making $.25 over minimum wage, but since I had been making $2.75 over Wisconsin base, I got $2.75 over Oregon base when we moved.

I am sure I have bored you to years by now, but it isn't surprising to me that if there is a tight job market there that corporate stores would import and pay their employees more than just survival wages. Franchises are a lot more variable about wages and benefits here, so I would assume that would be true in other parts of the world. Either way, I am glad you got a new member of the branch that the kids look up to!


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