Should You Swear In The Workplace?
Updated: Feb 16
There’s a few things I’ve learned in life. Don’t food shop one day at a time. No, you can’t substitute a hammer for a brick you found outside. Yes, it is alarmingly obvious you’re hungover.
Most recently, I learned that when your manager drops the F-Bomb, it does not mean you can say it back...
Obviously, every boss is different. Some can’t go one sentence without swearing, whilst others would consider cussing a crime punishable by death. It's not all about bosses though. Every work environment is different too. Foul language might seem out of place at a nursing home, but I highly doubt any building-site has a swear jar in the staff room.
I’d personally say you need to gauge the situation first. In many workplaces, as long as you’re not swearing in front of customers or clients, profanities aren’t frowned upon. I’ve seen/heard first-hand the type of language used in bars’ storage cupboards or beer-keg cellars. Surprisingly, it’s even worse in coffee shops.
“Can you believe that *!%$@ who demanded a *&!^@~# refund because his %*^£@#! extra-large de-caff, almond milk, sugar-free vanilla, one-shot, dry frothed cappuccino was too !”£$%^& hot even though he *&^%£$! asked me to take it to 180 degrees?!”
Now, I’m not saying I agree with this type of outburst. All I’m saying is, I understand…
The thing is, with this type of swearing, it doesn’t hurt anyone. It lets the overworked, exhausted, frustrated workers release some steam in the back room, and then go back out and give a professional front of house experience to customers.
But, as previously mentioned, everyone is different. If either a colleague or - god forbid - a manager has an issue with swearing, then stop. It’s as simple as that. We can all live without spurting filth in the workplace. Chances are, it’ll make it all-the-more satisfying when you’re finally allowed to let loose later in the pub.
There is, of course, another side to ‘unsavoury’ language. We all know what I mean. Those words that should under no circumstances ever be uttered. Never, never, ever, ever. That type of Quentin Tarantino dialogue has no place anywhere, let alone the workplace.
But I digress. That’s for another article entirely.
In general, I personally feel that there’s nothing wrong with swearing. It can add emphasis. It can raise pain thresholds. Mostly, on a childish level that none of us want to admit, it can actually be really funny. Given the right circumstances, of course.
Studies have shown that people who swear are - in general - more honest than those who don’t. (It has something to do with not filtering thoughts before speaking. I won’t get into the boring science behind it).
Swearing in your workplace is something you should find out is acceptable or not before you do it. Don’t just drop the F-Bomb without knowing who it might offend. And if you want to keep an air of professionalism, it’s best to just steer clear entirely.
But it’s up to you, of course. Decide for yourself. Do whatever you #£!%*@$ want.