This article pursues two central goals. First, I seek to advance the sustained study of occupational identity as a pivotal mechanism for organizing work and, thus, as a productive means of integrating the aims of two scholarly movements: 1) the ‘dislocation’ of organization (i.e. beyond container metaphors of site) and 2) the renewed emphasis on work (i.e. ‘bringing work back’) in organization studies. Specifically, I propose the study of evolving relations between occupational image discourse and role communication, and my analysis of US commercial airline pilots enacts the potential of such research. The analysis demonstrates how contemporary pilots draw on the deliberate historical construction of airline pilots as elite, fatherly professionals to make sense of their work, explicitly invoking gender discourse as a rational and emotional warrant for their labor and, in so doing, implicitly articulating sexuality, race, and class discourses. Accordingly, the second major goal of the article is to promote inquiry into how discourses of difference function to organize occupational identity and, thus, to (re)produce the division and hierarchy of labor. With this move, I seek to bring a more constitutive view of discourse and communication, as well as a focus on intersection and interplay among discourses of difference, to the study of occupational identity and segregation.