Useful reading: Emotional Labour: Putting the Service in Public Service

Nurse at bedside, thanks to Army Medicine, flickr

One of the things we hope to do with this blog is share useful reading and resources.  Having met Sharon Mastracci before Christmas I’ve been reading the book she co-wrote about the concept of emotional labour in public service.  Here’s the blurb –

Most public service jobs require interpersonal contact that is either face-to-face or voice-to-voice – this relational work goes beyond testable job skills but is essential for job completion. This unique book focuses on this emotional labor and what it takes to perform it. The authors weave a powerful narrative of stories from the trenches gleaned through interviews, focus groups, and survey data. They go beyond the veneer of service delivery to the real, live, person-to-person interactions that give meaning to public service. For anyone who has ever felt apathetic toward government work, the words of caseworkers, investigators, administrators, attorneys, correctional staff, and 9/11 call-takers all show the human dimension of bureaucratic work and underscore what it means to work ‘with feeling’.

These insights are invaluable for our project and we’ll reflect further as we explore this aspect of the 21st century public servant.

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