The advent of post-industrialism in western societies saw social theorists pay greater attention to the blurring of traditional work and life conceptual categories and the growing role of service professions. Further, much of the theorisation around the human service professions has focussed on occupational stress and professional burnout. This focus on the challenges to worker health has limited considerations of how human service professionals can thrive, and not just survive, in demanding employment contexts. In response, the paper considers the 'lifeworld' as a conceptual resource that can encourage new ways of thinking about the work of human service professionals, as well as reworks this resource using the concept of affect to expand consideration of the interconnected, inter-subjective, bodily and emotive nature of human service work. The paper concludes by presenting a heuristic tool that can make these concepts more accessible to professional discourses and can facilitate their use within collaborative research with the human service professions. Copyright © eContent Management Pty Ltd.