SOC327 2017 Tut6 – Thu 1030

We all know what its like to feel the wrong thing at the wrong time. Boredom when you’re meant to be interested (or at least look interested) in that lecture, anxiety when you’re meant to be happy with friends, tiredness when you’re playing with children, and frustration and stress at work. We all know what it means to feel the wrong thing, and then have to pretend – or display – a different feeling, or even somehow make ourselves feel something altogether different. We call this ‘emotion management.’

But how do we manage our emotions? When should we manage them? Should we always try to think happy thoughts – is sadness just bad and troublesome? Or are there social rules about how and when we should do this? Arlie Hochschild suggests that society has ‘feeling rules’ about how we are allowed to feel in given situations – particularly at work – and that these rules impact differently on men and women, with women still doing the bulk of the ‘emotional labour’ involved in care jobs in most countries.

Do you manage your emotions most of the time at work? Or in other areas of life? Does your gender affect this?

#S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Thu1030

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17 Comments

  1. In the past when I worked as a server, I definitely feel as though managing my emotions was a huge part of the job. In America, servers rely on tips from the customers for their income so you have to make sure you are making a good impression on the people you are serving – smiling all the time, being enthusiastic, energetic and having an overall cheery disposition. For many this is hard to begin with, and for me it was always especially hard on the days when I would be working long shifts, when I felt tired or run down, or if I was distracted by something that was going on in my personal life. Both the men and women servers that I’ve worked with have all been expected to act in this way – so, in this context gender was not a factor, and the emotional expectations of both men and women were the same. I believe this to be true in most job positions that deal with service and sales (I have experience working in both). With this being said, on the contrary, I also believe that the expectations for women to act in this way are higher than they are for men in a general sense (but that does not mean that men are not subjective to this same type of ’emotional work’ as women). What I mean by this is that there is a stereotype that is associated with the way a woman should act in an everyday general setting where we are expected to be more bright, cheery and thoughtful. We are expected to “perform”. Men, in the general sense, are not subjected to this same type of everyday expectation. It seems as though it is normal to expect a man to be uninterested, less compassionate and less thoughtful than a woman, and when we come across one that exceeds these expectations it seems as though we have hit the jackpot!

  2. I feel that in today’s society we are all expected to act certain ways in every situation we are faced with.
    I know personally from working within various customer service positions that it expected of you to smile and treat your customers with a respect that they deserve, yet, you as the person serving them are not treated with the respect that you deserve.
    When working within a team environment personalities can clash, which can make it hard to like and get along with everyone, so you smile and grin and bare your differences and bottle up the motions you are feeling. These emotions can then manifest into other emotions and before you know it you are lashing out at loved ones.
    Personally, I’d say, your gender is effected by this in ways of whats expected by you in certain work related roles.. I also feels this is why females find it more challenging to work in male dominated roles.

  3. I feel that in today’s society we are all expected to act certain ways in every situation we are faced with.
    I know personally from working within various customer service positions that it expected of you to smile and treat your customers with a respect that they deserve, yet, you as the person serving them are not treated with the respect that you deserve.
    When working within a team environment personalities can clash, which can make it hard to like and get along with everyone, so you smile and grin and bare your differences and bottle up the motions you are feeling. These emotions can then manifest into other emotions and before you know it you are lashing out at loved ones.
    Personally, I’d say, your gender is effected by this in ways of whats expected by you in certain work related roles.. I also feels this is why females find it more challenging to work in male dominated roles.
    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Thu1030

  4. Serving in the military, I found the concepts of emotional labour and feeling rules applied in a completely different way. Framed by this masculine culture, the primary feeling rule was apathy; I could not appear rattled by the catcalls, stereotypical judgements or boorish behaviour. This required deep acting to the extent of dispensing with what were considered feminine aspects, with the hope of becoming ‘one of the boys’; I can do the job as well as them, I’m no different and I don’t need (or want) special consideration. Should I fall out of character, rule reminders came generally in the form of chastisement; for example, complaining about something was rebuked with the phrase ‘Harden the f*** up!’ Physical settings also reinforced my performance – women were outnumbered 20 or 30 to 1, men leaving porn magazines lying around, putting posters on the walls and sharing pornographic videos or emails openly.

  5. Serving in the military, I found the concepts of emotional labour and feeling rules applied in a completely different way. Framed by this masculine culture, the primary feeling rule was apathy; I could not appear rattled by the catcalls, stereotypical judgements or boorish behaviour. This required deep acting to the extent of dispensing with what were considered feminine aspects, with the hope of becoming ‘one of the boys’; I can do the job as well as them, I’m no different and I don’t need (or want) special consideration. Should I fall out of character, rule reminders came generally in the form of chastisement; for example, complaining about something was rebuked with the phrase ‘Harden the f*** up!’ Physical settings also reinforced my performance – women were outnumbered 20 or 30 to 1, men leaving porn magazines lying around, putting posters on the walls and sharing pornographic videos or emails openly.
    #SOC327UOW17 #Tut6 #Thu1030

  6. Fundamentally, we have been conditioned to hide our feelings and emotions behind ‘closed doors.’ In regards to males, this is highly evident as they are more capable to bundle up their emotions and toss them aside in order for it to not affect how they are perceived or how they function within society. Living with four university male friends, I have always been so impressed by how they are so stable and continuously can keep up with their university life, social life and work life in comparison to me. I constantly need a ‘mental’ break; say by sleeping in or just have time to myself, but none of them seem to enjoy this kind of break, and are constantly on the move.
    In this case, I believe that males tend to not think deeply into their emotions as significantly as females do. Some would disagree, but from those surrounding me, females tend to express their emotions in a much more intense way and more so than males who tend to not show their reaction in full swing, whether this being just because they purely react differently to females, or they just react in private.
    #SOC327UOW17 #tut6 #thu1030

  7. @rpatulny Ironically, women are seen as more emotional and yet their emotions are what sustain and maintain male strength #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Thurs1030
    It seems as though women are often disregarded as being more ‘emotional’ and yet it is this ‘emotionality’, or rather heightened ‘emotional intelligence’, that provides them with the power and responsibility of maintaining the male ego. It often feels as though the man depends on the woman to continuously ‘recharge his emotional battery’. However, these roles are gendered. It appears as though in certain relationships, or social circumstances, the masculine feminine-essence must be compensated for by the feminine masculine-essence. Emotional work is necessary, and if a man is to participate within this form of work then he automatically assumes ‘feminine’ pronouns; he is considered to be ‘adorable’ or a ‘sweetheart’.

  8. I agree with Hochschild (1983) that we attenuate our actions by what is considered to be a norm in that particular situation. I think it’s easier to disguise our emotions than to change them to accommodate external pressures. I definitely defer to Hochschild’s ‘feeling rules’ when I’m in an employment situation, to the extent that I have a different, customer service voice that I use on work phone calls. I’m not sure how much my gender has to do with this. I certainly put on what I consider a professional air when calling clients to ask for money, and I don’t think I would do that if I were a man.

  9. Having worked in hospitality for the past three years (and counting), I have definitely learnt to manage my emotions whilst at work. Each time I arrive to work, I feel as though I subconsciously put on a mask that fits the requirements of the desires of the employer. Being told to smile is very commonplace.
    This being said, I enjoy my job, so I don’t necessarily feel bad about putting on this ‘mask’ at the workplace. I feel as though it is just an expectation within customer service, which I am okay with (to an extent).

    Outside of work, where issues that affect my emotion are more likely to be something involving me (opposed to a situation in a restaurant), I find that I feel as though I must manage my emotions. It isn’t something that may always be necessary, but as I live in a house with three of my (male) friends, I often try to manage my emotions with my own masculinity in mind.
    I do not often open up to my male roommates despite them being some of my best friends, and they are somewhat the same.

    On the other hand, when I am at my girlfriend’s house (a house with four girls and one guy), I have noticed that they are a lot more open, more frequently.

    This is something that I have noticed within my circle and am not entirely sure how it is in the bigger picture, however, I do believe that males generally hide their emotions more often than women as a way of protecting their image.
    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Thur1030

  10. I often find myself engaging in a process of emotion management to inhibit feelings in order to make them appropriate for the workplace and to maintain a professional demeanour. In my current position, I can occasionally feel nervous when there is an angry or disgruntled customer on the phone. As a result, I engage in various techniques of emotion work, such as what Hochschild (1979) refers to as cognitive and bodily techniques. For example, the bodily techniques I sometimes use are trying to slow my breathing to change physical symptoms associated with the nervousness. Additionally, I may engage in cognitive techniques, such as finding something positive about the situation to change my thinking and make me look at the situation in a different way and therefore evoke more positive emotions.

  11. There is a particular stigma around expressing emotions in public. There are also a lot of rules around when and how people are allowed to express a particular emotion. For example, when someone is crying in the street it makes you assume the worst, something really terrible must have happened to express such an emotion in public. In contrast, if someone was crying at home, they might have just had a bad day. This is particularly true with men and as discussed the ‘covering up’ of emotions can be detrimental to mens health.

  12. I find this blog interesting in that the term ’emotional labour’ and ‘care jobs’ is raised in the same sentence. I worked in the aged care sector for 5 years as a care worker and now I work in disabilities as a support worker. The ratio of female staff to male staff is very highly evident with only a very small percentage being male. Both roles were/are physically demanding, but emotionally demanding as well. “Professional boundaries” in regard to emotional and friendship restrictions are high on the list in these sectors to safe guard both clients and staff. Both sectors have a high turnover of staff due to emotional burnout. It is highly encouraged to recognise your “red flags” when becoming emotionally exhausted in the job and to take leave when needed.
    So to be in an emotionally taxing job as well living a busy and stressful life as a sole parent who studies full time as well, management of my emotions is crucial. I couldn’t agree more with Hochschild when he states that we assess the “appropriateness of a feeling by making a comparison between feeling and situation.” As a woman and to do my job well in all aspects of my life I have to constantly delegate or assign emotions to where they correctly belong, keeping everything in context, if I didn’t I would not feel in control of my life.

  13. It can be argued that emotion management isn’t a new phenomenon. From a young age we are taught to react to social situations in the correct manner and present ourselves as being ‘put together’. In my experience working two jobs, I know I am expected to treat both my work colleagues and interviewees or customers kindly by exerting positive emotions within the workplace regardless of whether I genuinely feel happy or not. This proved difficult quite recently, when a family member died and I continued to work, knowing that I was expected to present myself as cheerful to avoid burdening others with my sadness.

    These days, our work environments continuously demand us to present our joyful nature to others, ensuring quality customer service. Of course, this emotion management can also occur during our day-to-day interaction with those around us. This is exactly what is portrayed in the animated film ‘Inside Out’ (2015) when Riley’s inner and personified sadness is essentially told to stay out of the way, so as not to embarrass the young girl in front of her classmates. This resonates with Arlie Hochschild’s work ‘The Presentation of Emotion’ (1979, p. 3) which suggests that “feeling is a kind of pre-script to action” and that “It is internal behaviour that we engage in that prepares us to act externally.”

    Being a young male, I do tend to repress feelings of sadness and put them to the side, even outside of the workplace. I think this also relates to Hochschild’s argument that both males and females “manage our emotions through deep acting.” This being said, the recent evidence which suggests that ‘feeling rules,’ which determine how we are allowed to feel in given situations impact women more heavily than men proves that there is a clear gender divide in emotional labour which should be recognised.

  14. I think that society definitely has ‘feeling rules’ as Hochschild suggests. Are they helpful, though? Sometimes, but generally no. I believe that the more ‘feeling rules’ there are, the more restrained we become and the more likely an outburst is to occur. I don’t think we should be happy all the time and refuse to feel sadness, disgust or anger and there needs to be places and ways we can express these feelings. If this doesn’t happen, issues arise as an individual may not be able to cope for very long with excess pent up emotions. How we show how we feel really depends on context and what is on the line if we show the emotion. I.E loss of job if an individual shows extreme anger in the workplace. In our current society, it is necessary that we must ask ourselves: what are the benefits and what are the consequences of showing this emotion?

    #SOC327UOW17 #tut6 #thu1030

  15. We are socially conditioned to be pleasant and welcoming always when interacting with others. Being in hospitality, customer service always relies on being cheerful and welcoming to customers 110% of the time. It would have social consequences and probably a possibility of unemployment if we did not hide our feelings. I would think your gender is impacted by this depending on the environments you are in, including your work environment for the emotional rules you need to abide by.

  16. I believe our emotions and feelings are shaped by our surrounding environment. In given situations, we are meant to be acting in certain ways. We are expected to have predetermined feelings. However, we feel what we feel. Our feelings are part of us and we need to learn how to accept ourselves. But the important thing is to change how our emotions affect our behaviour. We need to explain our reasoning to others and let them know why we feel that way. Our emotions are not tied to our rationale, and we cannot take a logical approach to an emotional destination.
    I was grown up in a different society with different culture. Since I have moved to Australia I have found myself so many times having wrong feelings in given situations. Basically, people’s reaction to my feelings makes me think that I have the wrong emotions. This despite the fact that I never thought and felt like my emotions are wrong when I was in my country. So, I believe there is no such thing as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ emotions. Society’s expectations create right and wrong emotions.
    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Thu1030

  17. I believe in society, we have an unspoken rule about what emotions get shown where. More specifically, being visibly angry and/or sad. We see this also being gender specific in some areas of life, men are more likely to be less open about sad feelings surrounded by a group of friends, than women. Women are expected to let go of emotions and have a shoulder to cry on, while for men they are taught to ‘suck it up’ and move on.

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