Friday, June 4, 2010

Essay #3

This are my introduction and body paragraphs. Still working on conclusion.

“Five employees at Safeway Stores Inc. in California filed a lawsuit over the company's ''Superior Service'' rules that require employees to smile, make prolonged eye contact and speak to each and every customer. The plaintiffs said the policy encouraged sexual harassment by some male customers”. This citation is from The Ottawa Citizen’s article called “Worker burnout, a smiling matter: Emotional labor has business costs” written by Carla D’Nan Bass. Who could think that smiling as part of you job’s responsibilities may lead you to problems with law? I wonder if there are any other surprises and unexpected traps people who perform emotional labor can face with.

For the last two decades or so, when our economy made huge shift from industrial to service economy, we are more and more often hear about emotional labor. Not everyone understands this term and not everyone knows where it came from. In 1983 sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild published her book “The Managed heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling” where she gave the definition and explanation of an emotional labor based on her observation and research of flight attendant’s job. While the observation she noticed that flight attendant not only doing a physical labor by pushing a heavy meal cart and mental labor by organizing emergency evacuations, but they are doing something else such as creating safe and pleasant place to be by managing their emotions and smiling no matter what. As Hochschild said in her book: “in the course of doing physical and mental labor, she [flight attendant] is also doing something more, something I define as emotional labor. This labor requires one to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others” (Hochschild,7) and also:”the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and body display” (Hochschild,7). On the first sight emotional labor has no difficulties, risks or side effects. How difficult it could be to smile, to be nice and polite? People would think that there are more possibilities to hurt yourself with a metal meal cart or get injured during emergency evacuation. But several scientist’ studies showed that there are problems for people who perform emotional labor, in other words induce or suppress their felling and emotions in order to satisfy customers, month after month. Problems such as physical, mental and social might accrue.

The same article from The Ottawa Citizen author referred to a research made by Alicia Grandey, an assistant professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Penn State University, about the effects of emotional labor on workers in service economy. During the research had been discovered that constantly suppress emotions:” can overwork cardiovascular and nervous systems and weaken the immune system” (D’Nan Bass, 1). Every system in our body is connected to each other and affects each other. The myth that our emotions are produced by our soul is really just a myth. Emotions produce by our brain, transport by our nerves and show by our facial and body muscles. As any mechanical system it can be burn out or even broken because of the overuse. Like it was said early all systems in our body are connected, so weakening nervous system will lead to weakening others such as cardiovascular and immune system. And that is making people be more perceptive to very real physical illnesses started from flu and cold and finished with heart attack or stroke.

According to another research made by senior lecturer doctor Charmine Hartel from University of Queensland, Australia and her research partners:”emotional labor can have a significant impact on psychological well-being with some people turning to drugs, alcohol and even committing suicide” says Ella Riggert in her article “Blues hit happy workers hardest” published in Courier Mail, Australia. Suppressing or faking your emotions lead to the stress for a lot of people. And different people deal with stress in different ways. Some people go to a gym or karate studio, doing yoga or jugging, go away on vacation (if they have an opportunity). But, unfortunately, not everyone deal with a stress this way. Some people are looking for relief in other ways such as smoking, drinking, abusing prescribed medication and using street drugs.

Besides physical and psychological, emotional labor has a great impact on social and personal life of the workers who involve in service industries. “People who are forced to be nice or constantly happy in their jobs are often depressed, sad and angry in their personal lives” states E. Riggert. Dr. Hartel supports this statement by saying:”if people don’t have emotional outlets at work then they go someplace else like home. It impacts on people’s social lives, society at large and they tend to let go at another people who are unrelated to the tension”(Riggert, 1). In this case the families and friends the ones who suffering. The relationships with them might be ruined. Studs Terkel in his book “Working”, which is a collection of interviews with people of different profession including face-to-face and voice-to voice professions, gives an interview with Sharon Atkins, a receptionist. She answering to the phone all day long with a nice smiling voice and she said: “I never answer the phone at home. It carries over. Even when my mother calls, I don’t talk to her very long”(Turkel,30). It is good if families understand why its happening. Why person you love and care about acting distantly and limiting yours conversations and interactions. But a lot of family’s members might be not that understandable and feel neglected, especially children. How can you explain your children that mammy or daddy was smile all day long so now there are no more smiles for them?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Post# 7: step 3

My question is "Does emotional labor have side effects?" What kind of trouble can you get yourself in if your job requires to smile all day?

I plan to use next sources:
1. Hochshild, Arlie "The Managed Heart"
It's a book, where Hochshild try to ask and answer questions: What is emotional labor? What do we do when we manage emotions? What are the cost and benefits of managing emotions in private life and at work?
2. Terkel, Studs "Working"
It's a book with collection of interviews. Interviews with people of different professions, including those who perform an emotional labor such as Terry Mason, Airline stewardess. Smile is the first job requirement for Terry's position. She talks about how she and her co-workers manage their emotions at work.
3. "Worker burnout a smiling matter: 'Emotional labour' has business costs",The Ottawa Citizen, April 26, 2000,by Carla D'Nan Bass.
The article is about Alicia Grandey's (an assistant professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Penn State University) research of emotional labor's side effects such as stress, burnout,overwork cardiovascular system and weaken the immune system.
4. "BLUES HIT HAPPY WORKERS HARDEST", Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia), February 18, 1999, by RIGGERT E.
The article is about Dr.Charmine Hartel's (senior lecturer in psychology from University of Queensland) research of emotional labor and negative effects it has on worker's psychological well-being.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Post # 6: interview from Terkel

I choose two interview from Terkel: Pat Zimmerman, alternative school teacher and Dolores Dante, waitress.
Pat Zimmerman is a teacher in an alternative school for kids, who is normal in general sense, except that fact, that they are from poor families in a poor neighborhood. As he said:"This community has experience its war on poverty and hasn't changed. The kids now don't believe in politics. They don't believe things get better for them. There's feeling of hopeless and despair"(490). This interview looks to me as in illustration for the Paul Krugman's "Confronting Inequality", where he talks about the circle and rising inequality: born rich - be rich, born poor - be poor. And if people don't want to break the first circle (everyone wants to stay rich), because of increasing inequality poor people UNABLE to break the second circle. So, these kids from the poor neighborhood don't believe in, which we were talking during this semester, "class mobility". They don't believe that they can do better then their parents, majority of whom "are on welfare...They screw up...". But pat is trying to do something for these kids. He is trying to show them that they can do better. They can finish school. They can get stable full-time job. May be they will not become "doctors or lawyers. It's not because they don't know. It's that they have no expectations". So, Pat is trying to restore those expectation in these kids.
Pat also talk about the satisfaction from his work. He doesn't make a lot of money, but he thinks that the money is not that important. The satisfaction from work itself and the results of his work which is changing kid's lives for better is more important. As he said: "I run into people who say how much they admire what I do. It's embarrassing. I don't make any judgments about my work, whether it's great or worthless. It's just what I do best.It's the only job I want to do"(493).
Personally, I admire his work. Not everyone want to do or able to do the same kind of work!

My second choice of the interview is Dolores Dante, "just" waitress. I choose this one, probably, because currently I am a waitress myself and I understand, feel and experience everything what she is talking about! Long hours on your feet with heavy trays. Complicated relationship with other staff because of competition and a "war" for better customer, and a jealousy when you got one. Your boss, who wants you be the best, but not better than he is. And of course customers! They are nice, mean, generous, greedy,friendly, arrogant, moody and so on, and so on. And it's part of your job to know how to handle each and everyone of them! And its, actually, seams more important how you smile and treat your customer than how you place a plate in front of him. As we see in a shot fragment from the movie "Office space" manager said to the waitress:" customer can get his hamburger anywhere. So we need to create the atmosphere".
Even that the interview with Dolores was taking about 30 years ago, I must say: nothing changed! Waitressing is still a hard physical labor combine with a hard emotional labor. Or maybe it's an emotional labor in a first place and a physical labor after that? Another question just came to me: why you are so tied in the end of the shift: because you were on your feet for 8 hours, caring a heavy tray or because you were smiling and pretending to be happy for 8 hours? What is more exhausted: physical or emotional labor?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Post#5: interview with Daisy Kinard

I admit that I choose this interview with Daisy Kinard made by Richard Lieberman on August 9, 1978, because it was the easiest one. Clear, informative, a lot of details about Daisy's life and her family. I think that interviewer was trying to figure out why Daisy moved from South to North. Why did she move North, and choose New York in particular. Did she like it? If that was what she expected? But beside answers for those questions we can get additional information about social problems in America in 40's such as minimum wage, hard physical labor for men, women and teenagers, lack of education, racism and discrimination of African-Americans.
So, Daisy Kinard at the moment when interview was taking was about 54-55 years old. I assumed it: she said that she finished high school in 1941,she must be about 17 then, so she suppose to be about 55 in 1978. She gown up in North Carolina. She is an African-American women. Again, she didn't say that directly, but she is talking about walking to school almost 2 miles because: "there would be two buses for white children coming along... the black bus would always broke down". So, the segregation between black and white was pretty strict: black and white kids couldn't use the same bus. And they also, probably, had separate schools for white and black kids. In the same time Daisy pointed out that in other states the situation is better:"education was a hard thing for us in the south. Having a chance to come north just to try to get an education was an asset." From history we know that the Civil rights movement more developed and successful in the north states such as New York. Daisy gave an example of less discrimination in New York than in other places:"white people speak to you, and they treat you nice. And they riding the same train!.."
Before Daisy left her home town she worked some very hard physical jobs with a minimum wage at a tobacco factory, tobacco and potato fields full of tobacco worms and rattlesnakes. Those jobs were "a frightening experience" for Daisy:" you work ten or twelve hours a day. Every night I went to bed burning from the sun. I could hardly sleep from working in the sun so many hours".
Daisy's parents were very supportive about her wish to move to NY. First, her father planed to send her to college, but something didn't work out and everyone were very disappointed. But later they decided that Daisy still need to go somewhere to look for the better life. And because her aunt were already in Brooklyn, NY, daisy came to live with her. At first sight New York was a great disappointment for Daisy:'' rats,roaches, dirty buildings. I cried many dark nights". But she adjusted herself and her expectations. She ended up in La Guardia and she said:"here I am in LaGuardia and this a great fulfillment of mine".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post#4: part of my draft about inequality

The American' society two or three hundred years ago, the same as the society today, was divided on classes, but without strong boundaries between them. In his article “Confronting Inequality” Paul Krugman, who teaches economics at Princeton and writes an op-ed column in New York Times, said: “Ever since America’s founding, our idea of ourselves has been that of a nation without sharp class distinctions – not a leveled society of perfect equality, but one in which the gap between the economic elite and the typical citizen isn’t an unbridgeable chasm” (p.323). So, anyone could “build the bridge” from class to class. The class mobility was pretty high because the gap between classes wasn’t that big. Today, unfortunately, the gap between classes looks more like Grand Canyon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post# 3: conection between Mike and Rich Kids...

First, I was confused: what type of connection might be between Mike and Rich Kids; person, who do not want to lose 25 cents/hour of his salary "cause it's $10 a week" and people who talk about million/billion numbers... But when read Mike's interview second time I realize that, yes, Mike and Rich Kids live financially ex-trimly different lives, but there are common feelings they share about it: they are bored, tied of this life, and have no goal, no plans for their future.
Of course, it seems more fun to be bored with parties then with hard job; and its probably feels more secure if you don't know what you want to do in the future because you have too much money, then if you don't know what to do because you have no money. But the bottom line: they are not happy. They don't satisfied with their lives and they don't know how to change it.
Actually, Mike already kind of give up: he wants pretty much nothing for himself - beer on the couch in the end of the day, beer in the bar in the end of the week and "homework" time-to-time. One good thing, he still has hope for his son.
On the other hand Jamie Johnson made the film "Born Rich" because he was trying to find the answer: what to do with his life? with all those money? how to find sense and meaning in life? how other Rich Kids handle it? what they will to do with their lives? who do they want to be?

As I remember no one couldn't answer those questions...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bonus Post :article about The Health Bill

Ok, before I can answer the questions in the bonus post I need couple more days just to understand the article! While reading the article I realize that I have a little bit a weak knowledge of American history, so I will take some time and will research few facts which were mentioned, like:

1) "The pretax incomes of the wealthy have soared since the late 1970s, while their tax rates have fallen more than rates for the middle class and poor." - Is it really?

2) "the age of Reagan."- What does that mean?

3) "The laissez-faire revolution that Mr. Reagan started did not cause these trends. But its policies — tax cuts, light regulation, a patchwork safety net — have contributed to them." - What are all those "policies"?

4)"what is the proper balance between the market and the government?" - Is there suppose to be a balance? What kind of balance is it?