Earlier this year I dropped my daughter off to her first shift at KFC. She is in Year 9, and this is her first paid job. Like myself, both my siblings, my wife and her 3 sisters, this was how we got our start into paid employment – working at KFC. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily meet the McJob definition 100% – it isn’t McDonalds, the general image remains intact. That image is, working at a dead end fast food job will get you no-where, but I disagree and disagree strongly. The skills and values learnt during my time at my very own ‘McJob’ made me the person I am today, and gave me the skills I have to share in business.

Let me explain….

I got my job as a 15 year old with the sole purpose to earn cash, lets face it, and this is the main motivation. I stayed while completing high and senior high school, then university, and then for another 17 years. This was initially a temporary job until I secured a ‘real job’ which never eventuated. I grew within the system, learnt management, above store management, moved around the country and eventually moved into other brands across the globe in more senior positions earning a healthy 6 figure income.

This business taught me how to manage a team, read and understand financials, present results and be accountable for developing plans around results good and bad, understand marketing, development, human resources, franchising, and supply chain to name a few. Tell me a job where so many skills are taught in such diverse areas!

After 23 years within the industry I left and started my coaching business.

It was only after doing this, and becoming engaged with small business owners did I truly understand and appreciate what I had actually been taught. A majority of the people I meet cannot understand, let alone have a profit and loss report. They fail to manage their teams with any process, can’t work out how to price or cost their goods and generally fail to plan or execute strategy. It is scary. The skills that my ‘McJob’ taught me as a 20 year old Store Manager exceeded what I see daily from experienced business owners with many years under their belt!

The beauty of the industry of the ‘McJob’ sector is they are big, very big and have the resources, the systems and processes and the training to develop people. They are usually franchised so consistency is key. It’s competitive so business awareness and immediate action is also key. They hold you to account from an early age and develop the skills of teamwork and the concept of a culture within a business.

As I sat and watched my daughter walk in to continue the family tradition in the business, a sense of nostalgia came over me, but also one of hope. The hope that she manages to stay there as long as she needs to for her purpose, but while there, that she too develops lifelong skills that will help her in whatever industry she chooses to pursue.

So next time you hear that someone is working at Maccas, KFC, Domino’s etc, you should feel jealous of the head start they will get from those who don’t and hopefully those skills move into the business world of the future that they may one day run.

Tony is an experienced Business Coach and Strategic Advisor to small to medium businesses.With 23 years experience with the world’s largest franchised restaurant chain - Yum Resturants, he left to help business owners build systems, process and planning into their model.

FOOTNOTE: He has recently has been 'lured' back into the franchising world and about to embark on another Middle Eastern adventure.