@$#&!. That word could cost you, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey targeting hiring managers. The survey assessed how swearing in the workplace might affect whether or not you are offered a promotion.
Employees often use a curse word or two out of habit or stress, but is it okay to drop the f-bomb in front of your boss or a co-worker?
Don’t Let Your Potty Mouth Ruin Your Potential
I can attest to the fact that the days are gone when I was terrified to utter a ‘curse word’ among my peers, or in the presence of my elders. Nowadays, I’m ashamed to admit that these words tend to make up my everyday language! I could blame it on my culture, us Gen Y’ers tend to blur the line between casual and professional. I could blame it on habit but at the end of the day – does this condone my behavior, and will it affect my ability to get a promotion? As recently as a few days ago, I would have said absolutely not. Swearing is swearing. It’s a part of my personality, so take it or leave it.
However, after posting my question on Facebook and seeing friends and past co-workers chime in, I think I have changed my tune. Most are in agreement: swearing makes you appear unintelligent and lacking self-control. Well, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to create this impression. As one Facebook friend commented: ‘you can curse on your own time, not mine’. This really made me think. I never considered cursing at work as ‘wasting company time’, but it seems my friend raised a valid point.
Leaders Set The Standard In Workplace Language
If you are a Manager, there are additional concerns to think about if your employees curse on a daily basis. What if a customer hears them? Yes, humans aren’t perfect but being professional in the workplace is not an unreasonable expectation. So, where should you draw the line in terms of the level of professionalism required? After all, if you turn a blind eye to swearing, could you be opening a floodgate in terms of other inappropriate behaviors among employees?
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What Role Does Office Culture Play?
So, should swearing affect promotional opportunities? Personally, I’d say it depends on the work environment. I’ve worked in office extremes, from the very professional to the very relaxed. I still dropped an f-bomb here and there in the more formal environment (and yes my boss might have ‘sshhed’ me), but its not like I was given a written warning, and I was still given a raise. If I had stayed at the company longer though, would I have been promoted? In hindsight, I’m beginning to doubt it. Who wants to promote someone with no self-control? In the more relaxed work environment, my boss and I may as well have been competing in the swearing Olympics when we set out to work on a new email campaign, so in that respect my bad habit did not get in the way, thankfully.
One of my Facebook friends said it best:
“Managers are to lead by example and if they are swearing then the precedent is set that it’s acceptable.”
So, if you do get promoted, do you really want to be managing a pack of employees who curse like sailors?
Those of you who are in management or hiring positions, what is your take on swearing in the work environment? Do you drop the occasional F-bomb or are you about to turn pro? Let us know!!
Check out the full article here: Dirty Words Can Cost You a Promotion