Real Talk: Is it Ever OK to Curse in the Office?

Women at Work

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Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866

Do you feel comfortable cursing in your workplace? Or do you frown upon foul language in the office? It seems like in 2018, no one can agree on what language is truly taboo in the workplace. One FGB'er wrote to the Community to ask for opinions on this very topic. 

“Cursing in the office: do you think it’s unprofessional under all circumstances?” she asked

“I feel like men at my office get away with it all the time. To explain a bit -- I'm not particularly a potty mouth, but sometimes it is really satisfying and gets the point across in a way that you can't without cuss words. And moreover, does ‘crap’ count?”

Numerous FGB'ers offered their (funny) gut responses.

“Wow, if ‘crap’ is a curse word then I need to revisit my entire existence,” one woman said.

“Does saying ‘f*@*’ when my computer freezes count?” another asked.

It seemed as though the general consensus for FGB'ers was that cursing can be acceptable as long as it’s not in a malicious way. 

“As long as it's not pointed at someone, I don't think cursing is a huge deal,” one said.

They agreed that whether or not cursing is acceptable is dependent on the situation.

“I think there is a difference between purposely cursing and accidentally slipping with a word,” one FGB’er wrote. “I think you can really tell if someone didn't mean to say it, and that's kind of funny.”

“There's a distinction between cursing when you drop something, and casually using it for emphasis in every conversation,” another said. 

“Personally, I think it's a case by case thing. What does the culture of your office and the nature of your work lend itself to? In my current position, I work with and report to ex-cops. Calling someone a ‘f*****’ goes over MUCH better than when I worked in a financial institution," one FGB'er said. "If your colleagues are easily offended, maybe keep the adult language to a minimum. But if your colleagues are, well, adults, they should understand that sometimes bad words happen. Don't drop hate language, and don't FORCE yourself to swear if it's not your natural inclination, but I think it's with questioning this whole notion that swearing is somehow a moral or intellectual failure. Additionally, I'm all about giving the boys a run for their money... If they swear, so can you!”

I agree with this well-put advice. 

Cursing is acceptable in certain offices and unacceptable in others. Take the time to feel out your current employer and coworkers before letting your curse language fly. 

And if you are someone who is offended by bad language in the workplace, and you find yourself surrounded by curse-language abusers, consider discussing the situation with a supervisor. If you truly feel uncomfortable, let her know you do not want anyone to be reprimanded, but you are unsure how to react when you feel language is offensive.

Reach out the Fairygodboss Community to receive advice from FGB'ers with their own unique experiences. 

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