choked by the pink collar

Emotional Labour. A friend introduced this term to me a while back, during a time I was employed in a job I wasn’t happy in. Well, some days I was happy. Other days – most days – I was miserable, drained, and frustrated. The constant back-and-forth in my experience – the love/hate relationship with my work and what I felt it demanded of me every day – resulted in what could aptly be described as ’emotional labor’.

I’d been performing the same type of job for years, albeit in different environments, and I was finding it increasingly hard to continue the same routine. Every day my head would battle my heart in a ‘should I stay or should I go’ debate.

I left that job a few weeks ago. I was passionate about the vision of the organization, but that wasn’t enough.

It’s not the first time I’ve quit my job; and in previous instances, I’ve eventually returned to the same type of environment. And I understand why.

Through conversations with friends and loved ones, I know that so many of us have incredibly wonderful interests and desires, innovative business ideas that we know would fill our spirits and benefit the world around us. We want to feel that our work has meaning, and brings our particular vision of beauty to this planet.

We know the old structures are crumbling. We are aware of the early conditioning and mass programming that keeps us repeating the same patterns, and we work to shift that. But transformation doesn’t happen overnight. And in the meantime, there are bills to pay.

Things have changed so much in one generation, and the world today is very different from that of our parents. What is true security, in these times?

After the novelty of each new workspace wore off, I realized how bored I was. I also found myself straining to be nice all the time. Being ‘nice’ wasn’t in my job description, of course; but given the roles I was in, it was the underlying expectation.

Women often find themselves doing ‘pink collar’ work – jobs that are service-oriented and call for a perpetually pleasant and accommodating demeanour. For a long time I prided myself on being these things. Now I realize how unnatural this is. Sitting in front of a computer screen, indoors, under fluorescent lights, supporting people doing the work they are passionate about…it had taken an energetic and physical toll.

So many of us sense there must be something more. There is a heightened sense of urgency.

For the unfulfilled among us – it is our responsibility to step out of our secure, familiar ways and create the new. We already know this. It requires courage, entering discomfort zones, finding those whose vision aligns with ours, and trusting the universe. Easier said than done, maybe. But imperative, definitely.

It’s not frivolous to want joyful work. If consciousness is evolving and a new paradigm is emerging in all this chaos, it makes sense that all our creations, including our work, would align with this energy. In most of my conversations, a meaningful career has far less to do with individual wants and desires, and more about making the human experience better for all.

The un-learning and deconstructing of the past is important. So is patience and self-compassion. I don’t have any how-to’s or solid next steps. I only know that every minute is precious, and I must get these words out.

18 thoughts on “choked by the pink collar

    • I know exactly how you feel, and I know many others do too. Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts that inspire me to trust the process, even if I feel it’s taking much too long. Elizabeth Gilbert is just one speaker whose words feel very encouraging. I also highly recommend the book ‘You are a Badass’ by Jenn Sincero. I read this a few months ago, and it really shifted something – and made me laugh too! All the best as things unfold for you…

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  1. Pingback: i’m a writer…? | alohaleya

  2. Great post. I too struggled strongly with the “‘should I stay or should I go’ debate” when I was in my previous career path. It’s really true what you said about more and more people nowadays wanting to get a sense of meaning from their careers…Hope you find a path where you feel most at home and feel that it’s meaningful work, too.

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  3. I am so excited for you Aleya! There is strength, energy and conviction in your words, so great you are listening to your inner voice and taking a leap- I am so looking forward to hearing how the ‘next’ reveals itself for you. Sending hugs and best wishes your way 💚

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  4. I enjoyed this post. I think we must at the very least try to follow our bliss. If at some point we are not able to find a way of paying the bills by doing solely what we love, then we must find a way of reconciling the two parts of ourselves: our daily work persona/duties and our other self, our passionate spiritual side. It is essential to find that work life balance and be able to nourish our souls, to replenish it so that we have something to look forward to at the end of frustrating work day. This may help ease the burden somewhat….

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    • Yes! That balance is so, so important. My day job wasn’t the right fit for several reasons, and the longer I’ve been away, the more clear that’s becoming. I’m currently re-jigging things work-wise and though there is some uncertainty, I’m committed to spending more time engaging in creative endeavours – because that part of me has been neglected for a very long time. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave this insightful comment! Aleya

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  5. “It’s not frivolous to want joyful work.” I am glad you wrote this today, i needed to read it. Sometimes I feel like giving up on the dream of making money doing something I really love. Sometimes i think it’s a really privileged mindset to have–and in some ways, I guess it is. What percentage of the world is able to do work that fulfills their hearts and their bank accounts? But–I want it. That’s it. I just really want it. I think the fact that I am not having kids lets me set this as something I’ll always be seeking–it’s the dream.
    Always relate girl, great post!

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    • Thank you sister! I love you comment and I relate, esp to the not having kids part and how it creates (for me) the desire to fill that space with something truly meaningful. It inspires in my mind another post. ❤ It is always lovely to have you visit! Aleya

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  6. Just went through my own blog,… scrolled it down to the very end of it , and there it was ,…oh my memory is so brilliant 😀
    http://myheartschoices108.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/success-is-doing-what-we-love-to-do-and-the-loving-of-that-what-we-do-is-a-part-of-our-divine-inheritance-our-birthright-to-be-happy/
    just in case you do not wanna go there here is the text, maybe its empowering or at least cheering you up a bit :
    “Our true inner nature has been waiting
    to finally be allowed to act, speak and shine
    through us.
    Success is Doing what we love to do
    and the ”Loving of that what we do”
    is a part of our divine inheritance,
    our Birthright to be happy.”

    Love, Light and Joy , many blessings to you

    Andreas

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