Being made to smile at work: A new occupational hazard?

For hundreds of thousands of working people a well-honed smile is a critical part of their job description.

Almost every service business insists that its staff learn to smile broadly at all times.

For youngsters whose first jobs are typically with service sector employers, the first day of training is often spent developing the perfect, customer-luring smile.

The question is: has anyone ever considered that making smiling a part of the contract of employment could be damaging in someway?

Well, an article The Times this weekend considers just that.

It is put forward that complusory smiling at work can lead to:

- an inability for workers to turn false smiles off
- employees losing the ability to regulate their own emotions, leading to depression, mental illness and other disorders
- 'smile-mask syndrome': characterised by employee complaining of painful muscle and head-aches akin to repetitive strain injury.

See Smiling can seriously damage your health, by Leo Lewis, for an overview of this subject.


Anonymous said...

I am currently a college student, which has resulted in my meaningless employment at a family restaurant. I do find myself eager to quit smiling- but am aware that if I do, for any number of seconds, I will be found out- I'm not as happy as I appear. An instance where smiling has helped me- getting a job in Florida. The first thing my manager said upon meeting me (and my horrendous excuse for a smile) was, "What a beautiful smile! You're going to do just great here!"

Anonymous said...

nice post.

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