Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace

Subject: Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2010 13:32:43 -0800

On 3/3/2010 11:49 AM, Gene Kim-Eng wrote:
> I don't consider good manners "erring."
>
> Profane language in the workplace would be within reason if the office was suddenly hit by a 6.0 temblor or a company shutdown and mass layoff was unexpectedly announced. In these cases I might utter something out of character myself.

These were the same examples I thought of for when I think profanity is
acceptable.

> Otherwise, I would consider it unprofessional conduct.
>

Profanity does lack professionalism, but even socially acceptable
gibberish, like "darn" or "gosh," lacks professionalism, although it is
not quite as offensive as profanity. I was raised with a lot of
profanity and I would not speak it until friends and my brother teased
me about not using profanity when I was a child. Then I became an
expert in the usage of profanity.

I avoid using profanity in professional and polite situations out of
respect for others *and* out of respect for language. Profanity is the
use of words that lack substantive content. When I have something
substantive to say, I do not want to use empty words to convey the
content of my speech. Additionally, when I want to hear what someone
else has to say, I do not want them to waste my time and energy by
having me wade through strings of empty words to understand the
substance of what they have to say.

Generally speaking, profanity is a way to say, "I do not know the words
to express how I feel and I feel frustrated or angry." Ultimately,
profanity usage is a sign of intellectual weakness for me. If silence
must be filled with words, then use words that have content and not
profanity; otherwise, be silent. Sometimes, saying nothing conveys more
than an idle assortment of supposedly offensive words would convey.
Additionally, profanity usually conveys a negative sentiment, rather
than a positive one and I try to avoid negativity and seek a positive
approach.

I challenge myself to say something substantive when I want to use
profanity. So in professional situations, when my feelings are to tell
somebody to go somewhere offensive or do something offensive, then I try
to find a way to say that I do not agree with that person without using
profanity. When I am frustrated, instead of tossing out a random
expletive, I say, "I am frustrated." I think that I get more mileage
out of substantive dialog than I do out of empty profanity. Then, for
those occasions where only an empty attention-getter will do, I use
well-placed profanity.

Lauren



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References:
RE: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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