why'd you sing hallelujah, if it means nothing to ya?

Before now, I've never really worked in a job that was high-public-contact. Before now, I didn't really know what a fake smile felt like.

I've always been one of those "if you don't feel it, you don't smile" types. Which is not to say I was surly and unsmiling, quite the contrary. Just that jobs involving the first line of defence, as I sometimes come to think of my job, mean the public have an uncanny knack of dropping in, or calling on the phone, at precisely the worst moment. But it's my job to deal with them and keep them away from interrupting anyone else. I have to smile, whether I want to or not.

Hence the fake smile, although fake is the wrong word. Insincere comes closer. Plastic feels best: it's not that it's not a smile, it's just that there's no real meaning other than the perfunctory and the professional behind it. No warmth or genuine attempt to bond.

And boy does that feel different. My eyes never feel quite right: they're too hard, and they sit at the top of my cheeks like a blockage, and the smile feels like it's cracking because my cheeks are so surprised to be pulling out a warm gesture when the body chemicals have given no warning.

7 thoughts on “why'd you sing hallelujah, if it means nothing to ya?

  1. I've been in Sir Tessa's boat. When I worked retail, I'd actually have customers randomly stop me every so often and say "You don't look happy to be here." Really boggled my mind. It was 3rd shift overnight work in a 24 hour store, where our priority was stocking, fast.

    I never faked a smile, and my managers got on me about it once or twice. "I wish you'd smile more," one said, "your whole personality changes when you smile." Well, yes. That's rather expected when you're sincere, isn't it? Sometimes I think they've faked it so long they've forgotten.

    Studies show that faking happiness can actually lead to feelings of depression. Hang in there, and don't let pressure to be cheery bring you down.

  2. Hi Rirath, welcome to the blog! That's a really interesting point about faking happiness depressing the spirits. I think I might look those up. Could be some good grist for the story mill in there somewhere!

    Luckily for me, working an IVF clinic isn't anywhere near so bad as retail, from what I've heard. The genuine smiles far outpace the fake.

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