Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Does it Help Your Career to Curse at Work?

For Lent this year, I've given up potato chips, french fries and swearing. I decided to go for all three since my effort last year (to give up criticizing others) failed on a regular -- almost hourly -- basis.

Not three hours after I made my vow of abstaining from salty food and salty language, I dropped a box of spaghetti in the pantry that exploded like a thousand pick-up sticks. That's when I let loose with my first curse word. And then, knowing that I had just cursed, I cursed again. A double whammy of guilt.

Since then, giving up the potato chips and fries has not been tough. But the swearing? Seems I have trouble not swearing while a) driving b) working c) talking to my husband d) cooking and e) listening to the neighbor's dog bark for hours.

I know I used to swear like a sailor when I worked in a newsroom. It was just part of the atmosphere, and no one thought twice about dropping the f-bomb several times in a conversation.

But as I've matured, had children, become a little more business savvy, I've cleaned up my mouth. Is that a good thing? I'm not always sure.

If you read some blog posts in this arena, salty language is favored by some of the most popular bloggers. They almost can't say anything foul or gross enough.

But then I read this Personal Branding post about how cursing can affect your personal brand. The author suggests cleaning up your mouth and using alternative words. Then, I found this story about how some swearing can actually help work teams relieve stress and sort of bond them together.

This makes sense to me. It doesn't bother me when people I know swear, but it sort of seems uncomfortable when someone I don't know throws f-bombs likes they're candy at Mardi Gras. After a while, a person's inability to talk without swearing constantly reminds me of a 12-year-old trying to impress friends with an impressive display of cussing. It just gets tiresome.

What do you think? Do you think cursing in the workplace is OK? Do you think the rules are different for men and women?


Sally Garvin said...

NO! In fact, it has the exact opposite effect on me. I am totally offended by someone in my work area cursing, male OR female. I am quite distracted by this type of behavior and resent having my attention diverted by poor manners/behavior.

Anita said...

I hope other people take your comments to heart and realize that just because they curse around friends or family doesn't mean they should do the same at work. Distracting others with your language isn't something that will be appreciated by a boss.