This study investigates the relationship between emotional display rule perceptions and job performance. Building on theories of emotional labor and ego-depletion, we cast employees' positive and negative affective states at work as crucial moderators. Results obtained in a sample of 245 frontline service employees and their 63 immediate supervisors from a retail firm in China demonstrate that display rule perceptions were positively related with task and contextual performance among employees experiencing little positive affective states at work, but not among employees experiencing highly positive affect. Moreover, display rule perceptions were positively associated with one aspect of contextual performance (voluntary learning) among employees with little negative affect, whereas highly negative affect buffered this linkage. Taken together, this study highlights performance consequences of employees' display rule perceptions and uncovers key boundary conditions for these relationships. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.