Monday, February 4, 2013

Be Happy... Or Else

"Emotional labor," according to sociologist Arlie Hochschild in a 1983 book The Managed Heart, may be a growing trend. 

The first article linked above from The New Republic observes the phenomenon at work in a chi-chi chain bistro "Pret A Manger" (French, "ready to eat"). Counter-workers are required to glow, exude happiness, sell their infectious happiness, along with the upscale sandwiches and lattes. Those who try to organize unions, or who fail to chirp sweetly and seductively, are fired. 

The second article from The Wall Street Journal outlines a use for Big Data (the collection and massaging of millions of little tidbits of information) that seems to be derived from Homeland Security's efforts to monitor the entire worldwide web for potential terrorists, basing findings on the appearance of key words. Sentences and syntax in employee writing are machine-interpreted, compared, cross-compared--from communications both within the company, and on social media platforms (off-duty communication). If the computer detects a certain pattern that suggests you're a "disgruntled" worker, you can be fired.

Now, it's always been the case that if you're a grumpy Gus or Griselda, you'll be among the first to be laid off in a tough economy. But this economy doesn't look like it's going to improve in the foreseeable future (the high numbers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average notwithstanding), get ready to smile until your teeth hurt, or suffer the consequences.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.