Emotional Labor

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  • Topic: Emotion, Emotional labor, Arlie Russell Hochschild
  • Pages : 4 (1478 words )
  • Download(s) : 141
  • Published : April 3, 2013
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Part of the problem with finding a job these days is due to an overabundance of qualified workers. The word "qualified" holds a different meaning now than it did in the past, and to understand this, we need not look further than the kinds of jobs most of us end up doing here in America. We are no longer a nation of builders, but a nation of servers. By this I mean the products of our labor are largely non-physical in nature. They are emotional -- the products that result from the interaction between human beings. Indeed, we may work in the exchange of physical products, but it is the job of the service laborer to attach emotional value to them. Beyond those required for everyday sustenance, the actual material worth of any product is considerably inconsequential compared to its potential emotional value. A decorative chair built overseas and sold at IKEA will probably not be of better quality than one built by a skilled craftsperson, but if the IKEA chair looks as though it's been built by a skilled craftsperson and is marketed effectively, consumers will believe that they are getting a high-end product at a great price. which in turn leads to greater sales. As we all know, getting a deal on something of adequate quality is often more desirable than paying full price for high quality. There's a reason why McDonald's has sold billions of burgers, after all. The point here is that the qualifications of the skilled laborer have been devalued as a result of outsourcing, and to fill the void once occupied by skilled laborers, we have shifted our economy and workforce towards creating emotional value for products that have very little material value to begin with. So what kind of person is qualified to work in this service-based, emotionally driven economy? Practically everyone. Every human being is skilled in the manipulation of emotion in one way or another, as it is something we learn how to do almost immediately upon birth. By the time we reach the age when we...
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