Bringing emotional labor to your work

Emotional labor was first coined in 1983 by Arlie Hochschild in her book The Managed Heart.

Today, it is often used to mean the invisible tasks that are done (particularly by women) that go unnoticed, unappreciated.

The original definition, however, was bringing the right feelings to a job. In other words, bringing emotional labor to make connections. To delight someone when you are not in the mood. It is the chef who at the moment doesn’t want to make moussaka but does it with care and love anyway because that’s what the customer ordered. It’s the flight attendant that extends a helping hand to a first-time flyer. It’s the person at the DMV who carries a calming presence in a stressful situation.

It’s a choice. To show up and be passionate about your work, regardless of what the work is. The best jobs in the world still involve work that we would prefer to skip. What then will you do when you don’t want to be there?

That posture, I believe, carries over into other facets of our lives. Are you a passionate person or are you waiting to find work you can be passionate about?