In January we wrote a blog about cussing in the workplace that gained quite a bit of traction with readers and on social media. So we decided to dive a little deeper and what we found was that no matter if you are working in the mail room or an operating suite with physicians or in the boardroom with executives, “cussing” happens.
Profanity has crept its way into our language and over time we have accepted and adapted to the new vernacular. According to numerous studies, profanity can influence a range of responses such as dictating a person’s unconscious emotions as well as building camaraderie among coworkers. The trick question to it is how was the verbiage perceived? In return this brings up the grey area of cursing while at the workplace. Cursing on the job can be a tricky subject when you enlist the different factors of how cursing is perceived and presented.
Have you ever cursed while on the job? Do you think it’s appropriate in a workplace? Some would find it interesting most companies do not have a solidified policy on profanity. I would venture to guess that most workplaces aren’t policing employees’ speech patterns, however if an individual uses profanity in a way that tarnishes the reputation of the facility or more importantly in front of patients, well that is another matter indeed. While most healthcare facilities do not have a concrete policy in place disciplinary actions range from no consequences to termination.
Through my research I have read several articles to get some perspective and what I found most useful was not the actual article itself but the comments from readers. Reading through the comments of several articles discussing profanity, I found a healthy mix of pros and cons for cussing in the workplace and how it is received by each individual. Depending on who’s cussing and the audience will likely dictate what repercussions they will suffer. It also warrants mention that from the comments we extrapolated people who swear at work are likely perceptive of their audience, they know when to temper their potty-mouth, whether that be with a patient or with the CEO of the hospital. Knowing your audience is the key.
More interesting than the actual words used is the intent and context in which you use them. Personally I am more interested in the message that is being delivered rather than the specific verbiage that you use. If your message is sincere in nature but chalked full of profanity I am still very likely able to sift through the verbal trash and pick out the gems.