Dear Orna: It seems that curse words have become a natural part of daily language. I like to pepper my comments with swear words but my roommate says that swearing at work will hurt my career? Will it?
~Signed: What the F#%@&*^!!
Dear WHAT THE F%@&*^!!: I won't just give you my opinion, I will give you some freakin' facts, first! According to a recent Career Builder survey, over half of workers admit to swearing at the office. Of that group, 95% said they do so in front of their co-workers and 51% curse in front of their boss. So,WHAT THE F#%@&*^!! - you are not alone!
However, the study also indicated that employers may be inclined to think less of an employee who swears at work.
Don't Be Immature
Employers think less of swearing employees for several reasons. Most believe that the use of curse words brings the employees professionalism into question. Others are concerned with the lack of control and lack of maturity. And finally, more than half of those surveyed said that swearing at work makes an employee appear less intelligent.
Those are the facts! Therefore, I have to agree with your roommate: swearing at work has the potential to ruin your career!
Some Places LIKE Swearing, Though!
Believe it or not, there are some work environments that encourage swearing. If your office comrades are all about swearing, you might feel the need to join in. So I'll reference another study done in Great Britain. There, researchers hung around a company's warehouse and discovered that when swearing was used in a non-abrasive manner - that is, just part of the conversation - then swearing helped build personal relationships among co-workers. The researchers considered swearing just a natural part of the people's personality and that's why it helped them forge a stronger bond.
But be forewarned: This article is a radical shift from traditional white-collar work environments where swearing is typically frowned upon.
You Might Even Get Fired!
While it's uncommon, there have been cases when an employee has been fired because of their bad language habits. This typically happens when the swearing happens in front of customers. Because many people perceive swearing and cursing as an aggressive and hostile way to express yourself, customers are typically uncomfortable with this behavior. Swearing is not good for business, so it's not good for your career.
Look Ahead When Deciding How to Behave
Wondering how you should behave at work? Just look to the next level you'd like to achieve in your career and act like those who are already at that level. In other words, if you're a manager who wants to be a director, then act like one.
Learn from the successful people around you and you will be successful.