The Future of Work is Emotional

 

When you hear the phrase “emotion at work,” you might think of career milestones: job interviews, salary negotiations, and annual reviews. But you’ve probably felt just as intensely about day-to-day, seemingly mundane events. You’re thrilled to receive a 👌 from the CEO in response to your Slack comment, you’re infuriated when a colleague interrupts you for the fifth time, and you fret over whether you need to immediately reply to a work email that appears in your inbox on a Saturday evening.

Modern work requires an ability to effectively harness emotion-- but most of us have never learned how to do this in our professional lives (let alone been allowed to admit how much feelings at work matter). As we start to recognize the importance of soft skills, we’re left wondering: is it possible to be too soft? How much emotion can we express before we come across as unprofessional? What if our “authentic self” is overwhelmed and anxious-- should we be open about these feelings? How does who we are (for example, our gender, race, or age) affect the answers to these questions?