The Work That’s Left For People Is All About Heart


The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

Jamz196 | Flickr

The term “emotional labor” was invented by sociologist Arlie Hochschild to describe the ways workers, particularly women, are expected to put on a happy face in the workplace and for customers. In the future, though, expect to see the phrase “emotional labor” repurposed to describe all the socially skilled, interpersonally intensive jobs that will thrive in an AI-driven world, where anything that can be automated will be (Livia Gershon in Aeon).

Today’s job market is already seeing “growing real-world demand for workers with empathy and a talent for making other people feel at ease.” Salaries haven’t caught up yet — we still underpay people whose jobs involve caring for others — but they will. Meanwhile, we need to rethink how we measure productivity, because right now it fails to account for any kind of “emotional labor.”

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