Many jobs that oblige employees to deal directly with the customers necessitate such employees to learn how to manage emotions to enable them meet organizational expectations. People who work in service-oriented jobs include airhostesses, receptionists, waiters, tour guides, counselors, and dancers, among others. Such people often face circumstances that demand them to control their emotions as they come face-to-face with their customers. The emotional style of handling the service is deemed as part of the surface. Emotional labor is vital in earning an accolade from clients or enabling businesses to maintain their reputation.
Emotional labor involves regulation of feelings that create a facial or physical display of individuals within their working environment. According to Hochschild, emotional labor is an effort applied by an individual to suppress feeling to maintain an outward expression that portrays a normal state of mind in the eyes of others (7). Emotional labor necessitates a person to manage a variety of feeling to meet the needs of a particular service. Facing angry and demanding customers can be challenging to some employees, and the challenge comes when one is compelled to hide real emotions, even when customers are offering negative feedback.
Businesspersons have embraced the concept of emotional labor as a means to attain competitive advantage while labor unions have exploited emotional labor for financial gains. Flight attendants offer the best example of a profession that involves emotional labor. Airline companies are evaluated based on the quality of services that their personnel offer customers (Hochschild 6). A flight attendant can evaluate his/her service by observing customers’ response. Deep acting is part of duty among flight attendants where flight attendants are required to remain jovial as they attend passengers. Deep acting boosts job performance in addition to reducing burnout. Reputational rankings necessitate firms to institute tactics that would enhance their competitive advantages (Fombrun and Shanley 234).
Emotional labor can be equated to a profession where professionals seem to know how to make other people’s lives better, but remain the persons they have always been. Professionals may be expected to think objectively concerning matters that they themselves would find it agonizing to approach if they were in the same situation as their clients (Hughes 656). It is quite unfair to ask priests to bless themselves just because they sanctify others. A teacher is normally involved in teaching children good manners, but as a parent, the same teacher may fail to instill discipline in his children. Emotional labor only comes into action when an employee wants to achieve goals set by the employer, or when a businessperson wants to win the hearts of his clients through the services.
Most entertaining joints employ dancers to entertain their guests and clients as they enjoy their meals and drinks. Dancers are required to participate in emotional labor because their interactions with customers are infrequent, complex, and often saturated with fantasy. Dancers are supposed to turn on clients with their performances and, at the same time, ensure that they are not acting against the employers’ rules. According to Ronai and Ellis, table dancers should strive to remain charming and sexy to keep customers glued to their seats, in addition to being excellent in reading other people’s characters (272). They should be able to handle their own negative feelings towards customers, as their employers demand them to keep entertaining customers to maintain their jobs.
Most customers in clubs prefer the dancers to interact with them; hence, seduction rhetoric is part of the dancers’ tactic to spend more time in the club. Dancers should always be attractive on stage to draw more audience from revelers. Dancers’ work is normally exhaustive, as they are sometimes compelled to wear high-heeled shoes that make them uncomfortable, but they are supposed to remain confident in their actions. Although disobeying rules that prohibit direct sexual stimulation enables dancers to earn more money, dancers are warned to be cautious of undercover officers who are out to catch managers who flout club rules.
Dancers also play the role of friends and companion to people who visit clubs. Most men usually go to clubs to look for a companion who they can chat with after an exhausting day at work. Dancers have to keep customers busy by talking to them in a friendly manner, regardless of whether customers are violent or not. Once a customer accepts an offer from the dancer, the dancer is expected to ask the customer to order something, thus, facilitating in spending (Ronai and Ellis 282). The most suitable way of dealing with customers is to put a smiling face, and treat them with respect. Emotional labor applies when the dancer is already tired after dancing, and the customer is quite irritating.
In conclusion, emotion labor enables individuals to portray emotions they do not really feel and to remain calm even when their subjects annoy them. Emotional labor is a necessity in service jobs where customers rate their favorite companies based on the level of treatment. In most cases, dancers are compelled to employ deep acting tactics to suppress negative reactions that they may be harboring. Club owners expect dancers to maintain their smiling faces to attract customers, even when they receive negative feedback from troublesome customers. Organizations should be aware of impacts of emotional labor so that they can offer appropriate support to their employees.
Fombrun, Charles, and Mark Shanley. “What’s in a name? Reputation building and corporate strategy.” Academy of management Journal 33.2 (1990): 233-258.
Hochschild, Arlie R. The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 1983. Print.
Hughes, Everett C. “Professions.” Daedalus 92.4 (1963): 655-668.
Ronai, Carol Rambo and Carolyn Ellis. “Turn-ons for Money: Interactional Strategies of the Table Dancer.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 18.3 (1989): 271-298.