Why should we value emotional labour?
Many jobs require workers to manage their emotional expressions with others. Flight attendants are expected to smile and be friendly even in stressful situations, carers are expected to show empathy and warmth, whereas bouncers and prison guards might need to be stern or aggressive. This management of emotions as part of a job is called ‘emotional labour’. It is something many people perform on top of the physical and mental labour involved in their work. Psychologists have shown that faking emotions at work, and suppressing real feelings, can cause stress, exhaustion and burnout. These efforts can be invisible, and that sometimes allows employers to exploit them. Nastaran Tavakoli-Far speaks to sociologists, psychologist, economists and bartenders and asks why we should value emotional labour.