If you’ve ever met me in real life, I hope that you’ve seen the version of me that’s always laughing. Apparently that me, is the one everyone loves to see in photographs (yah, I’m looking at you adidas runners lol).
But if you really know me, or at least have met me on a number of occasions, chances are that there will be a time where I’m not my usual laughing self. I remember back in my office job, my manager told me that being “emotional” was something that was frowned upon in management.
But as far as I was concerned, I was just being authentic. I literally cannot hide how I’m feeling; it’ll always be written all over my face and quite frankly I refuse to have to pretend to be any other way than how I’m really feeling.
In my last lecture (I’ve just started my Masters in Management with Business Innovation) we were talking about managing customers and the way marketing has changed so the focus is now very much on the customer. The last area we touched on was one of “emotional labour”.
The example of Pret employees came up again and again and that’s mainly because it’s been well documented in the past the expectations they have / had on their employees to demonstrate certain behaviours. I mean, who’s ever gone into Pret and had a bad customer service experience?!
This conversation made me realise that there is more substance to my thoughts than I probably realised when I always say “it’s exhausting being happy”. I spent more than three years not so long ago in a retail role where I had to make a choice to be happy every time I stepped onto the shop floor and when presented with an array of human beings throughout my shift, that happiness and energy needed to be unwavering.
When blogging first came about, it seems it really was an open forum for people to honestly and openly share their opinions. Then social media came about and Instagram especially seems to be the platform that breeds inauthenticity and causes a heap of issues.
To be honest, there have been times when I’ve scrolled through Instagram reading everyones “confessions” about what they have overcome to get to where they are today and it’s made me feel insecure that I don’t perceive myself to have had any major issues in my life to share. Yes, you read that.
Does that make me less relatable? …Do you watch X Factor? …I feel like when they pick people to take through to the show they must sit in a board room with the contestant and be like “C’mon, there must have been something really bad that happened to you in your life?!”… everyone just seems to have an emotional backstory that pulls on your heartstrings, right?!
And listening to The Mental Health Podcast which launched on World Mental Health Day, where Bethan and Laureen are talking about mental health issues being common rather than normal.
With times changing, and with people like Bethan and Laureen being so open about their own struggles it’s meant that many others feel comfortable to share their own experiences too hence why it seems that more and more people have been touched in some way by a mental health illness (1 in 4 is the stat). Anyway, go check out their podcast…
The point I was getting at is that, with the change in society, with the way that social media is, I feel that maybe blogging has become an emotionally laborious task. “Emotional labor refers to the process by which workers are expected to manage their feelings in accordance with organizationally defined rules and guidelines.” (The Sociology of Emotional Labor, Amy S. Wharton).
Although I think these rules and guidelines are somewhat unwritten in blogging, I do still think they are there and the more that blogging is professionalised the more these will play a part in who we are to the world.
Especially with the increase of live broadcasting on platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories etc. The result of all this emotional labour?! …Burnout. And if it’s not happened to you, we all know a Blogger who has gotten to the point where they consider (or do) packing it all in…
Someone once told me that “inside your head is a scary place; you shouldn’t go there alone” …and that is advice that I have openly and actively passed on to others when the time has been right. So this post is me doing just that… a few random thoughts in my head seemed to come together and it makes me wonder if other people see things in a similar way or if anyone has their own experience of what I am rambling on about.
Who knows, maybe I’ll end up doing my dissertation on a similar topic… but either way, it’s one that got me thinking and I hope it’s done the same for you…