RE: OT: Profanity in the workplace

Subject: RE: OT: Profanity in the workplace
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2010 14:11:24 -0500

Janice Gelb added:
> On Mar 5, 2010 10:26AM, Richard Mateosian wrote:
> >
> > And if I sneeze and someone says God bless you, I don't take offense
> > at the intrusion of their religion into my life. I take it as the
> > kindness they intended and say thank you.
> >
> > Most people consider "God damn it" to be a relatively mild
> > ejaculation, certainly not intended to offend anyone or to
> express any
> > religious opinion. It is certainly not what most people
> mean when they
> > refer to profanity. ...RM
> >
> Absolutely true. But once a co-worker indicates
> that she finds it offensive, using it repeatedly
> moves it from relatively mild thoughtless cussing
> to a problem in the workplace. Surely co-workers
> could find other minor curse words that would
> express their frustration but not offend someone
> who has indicated that GD is a problem.

I see this from two perspectives.

One is that the new person is imposing on the
established and functional order. It might need
some imposition, such as where the established
order is all guys and the new kid is a woman. . .
and there are probably a few backwaters left in
North America where that situation pertains.
Others can speak for other regions.

Somebody said "pick your battles". Probably good

The other perspective (already articulated by at
least two people) is that professional people
should not generally pepper their conversation
with empty filler - whether it be "um", "y'know",
various profane adaptations from religion, or
various vulgarities of a sexual or scatological nature.

My hypothesis is that those who are the worst offenders
and those who are most offended have something in
common - insecurity. Those who are more than mildly
miffed at religious-inspired (ok, "inspired" seems the
wrong word here, but . . .) profanity might be those
who are least secure in their beliefs (as would those
who _use_ such profanity to excess), just as those
who are most prudish might be the least secure in their
sexuality or gender roles/preferences/whatever (as would
be those who can't let a sentence go by without a "f---"
or two, and who tell demeaning jokes).
In either case, they are acting out.
As for scatology... it doesn't bear thinking about, at
least insofar as this weird parallel might go.

Those who exist more toward the middle of the road - they
offend, but not relentlessly and unceasingly, or they
find it mildly offensive and wearing, but don't
let it dominate their existence... might possibly have
other problems or areas of irritation, but one finds
vulgarity/profanity an easier outlet than quietly addressing
something, or quietly improving their spoken vocabulary,
and the other finds it easier to despise the offender
for their obvious vulgarity, rather than some more-
difficult-to-articulate reason.

And then there are the rest of us. We never swear or
use vulgarity in formal meetings, we _might_ use either
in less formal gatherings and bull sessions, and we
absolutely use both with [sometimes] frenzied intent
when we're using Word.

As much as I might swear at Word (and sometimes other
tools) and its (their) perpetrators, I'd never include
any of that language in a document.

Similarly, I'd never include religious or sexual
references in a training session, and probably nothing
routinely scatological or otherwise vulgar unless/until
I really knew my crowd.

But sometimes it's just so appropriate that nothing
else will do - - -

Ladies and gentlemen, bring a layman's comprehension of
quantum uncertainty (or at least science history), and
turn your browsers to:


Also, amen.

- K

PS: Yes, I know that some of you (us?) are neither ladies
nor gentlemen. If you would likely be offended, then assume
that I wasn't addressing you, and definitely don't click
that link.

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RE: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Chris Morton
Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Wade Courtney
Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: voxwoman
Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: John Posada
RE: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Leonard C. Porrello
Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Susan W Gallagher
Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Richard Mateosian
Re: OT: Profanity in the workplace: From: Janice Gelb

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