Is it Ever Okay to Curse on the Job?

WTF in neon lights

There are a lot of bad connotations around cursing. People call it a bad habit, offensive, and unprofessional. And yet it is part of regular everyday speech for tons of people.

For some it comes so naturally that they have to consciously filter what they say. So aren’t there any exceptions where coworkers can agree it is no big deal?

The Wall Street Journal delved into the subject, and found it heavily depends on your ability to read the room. In multiple worker anecdotes, they state how they are never the first one to initiate cursing in the workplace, but will happily follow someone else’s lead.

And numerous employees attest to how a more laid-back tone in conversation helps them feel there is more camaraderie on the team.

However, the reward might not be worth the risk. In the Wall Street Journal story one lawyer recounts how he made a joke utilizing an expletive during a meeting once to try and get a laugh.

While some found his joke funny, some higher up in the meeting soured on him after that moment. It because something that was brought up to him over the years in a negative light.

Some now did not want to work with him and were not giving him new cases.

Every workplace will differ, so there is no hard and fast rule for how to handle cursing. But if you are tempted to try it for yourself, be confident in your social awareness.

Picture how your comment might come off to those who are not well-acquainted with you. While it can be a pleasant informality for some, you don’t want one casual joke having ramifications for your career down the road.

If you are still trying to figure out if your workplace is casual enough to be more colorful with your language, read what the Wall Street Journal says here.


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