Harmeen Khalid

If you are a part of some organization, you are probably a victim of emotional labor. You have to suppress your emotions and display those emotions that are expected at your workplace. So what is the end result? You are in vain.

After a day’s hard work, you returned home quiet stressed and unhappy. The boss was giving you a tough time. He shouted at you today because of the file you emailed to the wrong designation on the coordinators orders. It was not your fault but you silently had to bear the consequences. Despite all the drama, you had to control that rage inside of you and if you had the audacity to show it, then be prepared for loosing that job. Emotional labor is the regulation of one’s displayed emotions counteracting to the actual feelings being experienced. In this case, hiding your true raging emotions from your boss requires mental labor and stress hence the name emotional labor. You might have a job which requires managing emotions as part of the job description like the customer service representative where it is necessary to avoid negative emotions while dealing with the customers. Such jobs are required to show a high degree of tolerance towards customer attitudes.
Emotional labor can greatly affect your performance which can result in, emotional burn out and dissonance affecting your outcome poorly. The current requirements of organizations to avoid liberating your true internal feelings can be cumbersome and very demanding. People often emotionally struggle specially in the form of respect and conformity to the higher authorities. Your boss can take out his anger at you and it might make you helpless and in fear of losing the job. In the process you will have to control your inner emotions which can cause you a lower self-esteem. This can lead to internalizing your feelings and building upon them leading to depression paired with many problems associated back home.

So what is the impact of emotional labor?

Emotional labor can deprive a person of human qualities and make them feel alone and isolated. It can deprive you of using your employee skills at its full potential. Jobs that require emotional labor have been observed to cause dissonance and burnout than the jobs that do not require emotional labor. Low job satisfaction, low self-esteem, health problems and depression can also spring up due to a job which demands tremendous regulation of your emotions. Men are known to internalize their feelings due to the ego element that coexist amongst them. They are naturally good at surface acting and not revealing emotions hence they can naturally cope up with emotional labor. Women on the other hand are more expressive than men in terms of emotions. They are emotional creatures due to which, women have been mostly dominating the services sector because of their empathetic nature.

How can we manage emotional labor?

Emotional labor can be easily counteracted if the management is well aware of its consequences. However, if that is not the case, you too can manage your stress by getting support through counseling services that are often provided at the work place or by visiting a mental health care provider. Marsith is a mental health care platform that can help you through counselling and by teaching you the right coping skills.

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