I ran across this article about how some occupations, e.g. customer service, demand workers display a certain emotional state, whether they actually feel it or not. This subject has come up in some other threads, generating discussion of real vs. false displays of emotion and how it is received by the customer. This article looks at the effect on the employee. In a way, it states the obvious: faking it is work, and taxing work, especially if done for prolonged periods.
The findings should give employers pause about just how much they can fairly expect in terms of "emotional labor" -- the requirement to display certain emotions or feelings toward customers, clients and others at work.
"[Employees] could smile because they genuinely like their customers or they are simply happy, and in that case they are not engaging in what we call 'emotional labor' because they are not faking," explained lead researcher David Wagner, Ph.D. of Singapore Management University, in an email to the Huffington Post. "When they put on that happy face but don’t really feel it -- that’s when we start to have problems."But on a more fundamental level, Pugh thought the research was important because it accurately describes emotional labor as the difficult, draining work it is.
"The big point of all of this work on 'emotional labor' -- being friendly and pleasant and upbeat as part of your job -- is that it is work," wrote Pugh to HuffPost. "It is hard, and it drains people just like physical or mental labor might. But it is often unrecognized as 'real' work, so people don't appreciate the difficult nature of this kind of 'labor.'"