Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace

Subject: Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace
From: <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2010 12:20:03 -0600

Check out the news on Capt. Graf, USN, who was relieved of her command of a vessel in part because of her use of foul language. It turns out that even in the Navy if you "swear like a sailor" (particularly, dressing down subordinates in front of the crew) you can be in water hotter and deeper than you imagined.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1969602,00.html

Now I'm not a military veteran, but I checked out the protocol with my wife, whose first husband was an officer in the US Army. She said that a senior officer would *never* dress down a subordinate in front of the enlisted men. It would destroy morale, and would negate the authority of the entire chain of command.

So it may be all right for the tech writer to cuss at the software, or even at the people who wrote it (preferably in absentia), but it is totally inappropriate for management to use bad language towards anyone in front of their employees because they undercut themselves.

Indeed, among writers it probably shows good judgment to hint at a euphemism in such an obscure manner that only the best-educated of the audience are aware that there is any cussing going on at all. Why be crude when you can use one-upmanship instead? "By the Blessed Fertilizer of the Invisible Pink Unicorn!"

Just my opinion. But I'm right, of course.

-Peter Neilson

---- Deborah Hemstreet <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com> wrote:
> I followed this discussion with interest.
>
> I'm not so sure this is totally off-topic. How should we as
> PROFESSIONALS behave in the workplace? I think this is the question.
> What should our language be in the workplace when we relate to our peers?

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