So, I found this article quite interesting today. Mainly because I am 100% guilty of the “crime” so to say.
The article “Swearing at work ‘boots team spirit, morale'” just made me smile today. Sadly, yes, I am like a trucker sometimes (sorry truckers… nothing against you), but I just can’t help myself. I guess being for a different generation (Gen Y) I really don’t see the harm in this. Of course, I completely agree with the article that it needs to be done at the appropriate time. And what may you ask is the appropriate time? The appropriate time is when you are venting about the unlikely outcome of a meeting you just came out of with your coworker, telling a story at lunch, looking at the downhill spike your 401K has taken or just trash talking your computer for the 800th time that day. When is it not ok… well, it’s not ok to swear in the middle of a client presentation, or in front of the CEO (unless of course you are friends and it’s not in front of a client), over email (although I am pretty sure that most companies use filters on their email service that blocks emails like that), in front of your kids (or others kids for that matter) or in front of the judge who is about to decide how you spend the next 90 days.
So inevitably, you want to use common sense when deciding to swear or not to swear in the workplace. Understand your audience (do you work for Mary Poppins or Ron White?) and whether or not it is offensive to them. Believe it or not, there are many younger people out there that are just as offended by a person’s vulgar language as an older coworker might be. So understanding this BEFORE you decide you can drop the f-bomb at work may save you your job (or a little chat with your boss at least).
Another interesting article that I found noted that swearing is a good stress relief as well as something that increases as the economy plummets. “Recession F-bombs: Why cursing feels great”. The article talks about how swearing has increased over the past 20 years, how, depending on your personality, it can definitely be a stress reliever and how it has wide-spread from not only verbal communication, but also to blogs, chat rooms and social networking sites such as facebook and myspace.
As mentioned before, I definitely agree that swearing can be an instant stress relief for many people, but it can also be a sign that something in your life needs to change. If you find that 30-50% of your vocabulary for the day consist of vulgar language, you might want to take a step back and really evaluate if you need to make a change.
Take this for example: you drive to work in horrible rush hour commutes and find that your road rage causes you to curse out the car in front of you (regardless of whether or not they ACTUALLY did anything to make your commute worse) and “accidentally” flip the bird to a church congregation on the bus to their early morning service. First red flag of the day that things need to change. Next, you get to work and find that not even 30 minutes into your day and your already banging on your keyboard and swearing up a storm. Red flag number two. And finally, the project that you spent nearly nine months perfecting and finally saw executed just got a ranting review of “not exactly what I was looking for” from your boss. Third red flag for the day. As you grab your coat and laptop bag and head out of the office cursing the high heavens… you should really think about whether this is the right job for you. You may love what you do. Or love the company that you work for. Or love the people that you work for. But combine that with a boss you obviously don’t see eye-to-eye with, a killer commute (that might actually kill you some day) and an old laptop that is still running off of Windows 97 or better yet DOS…. and you may find that it’s time for a change.
So let vulgar mouth tell you something. It might just be to let off some steam and dare I say make a point… but it also might be a sign that it’s time for a change.
Either way, THINK before you curse (or speak for some of you) and use the vulgar language in moderation.
Anyone know of any other good studies done on this, or have some great examples of do’s and don’t’s?? Share them with me. 🙂