Thursday, October 18, 2007

you don't say...

I came across this article today. I found it interesting, to say the least. I'll copy the whole thing for you here in case you're feeling lazy with the link:
- Regular swearing at work can help boost team spirit among staff, allowing them to express better their feelings as well as develop social relationships, according to a study by researchers.

Yehuda Baruch, a professor of management at the University of East Anglia, and graduate Stuart Jenkins studied the use of profanity in the workplace and assessed its implications for managers.

They assessed that swearing would become more common as traditional taboos are broken down, but the key appeared to be knowing when such language was appropriate and when to turn to blind eye.

The pair said swearing in front of senior staff or customers should be seriously discouraged or banned, but in other circumstances it helped foster solidarity among employees and express frustration, stress or other feelings.

"Employees use swearing on a continuous basis, but not necessarily in a negative, abusive manner," said Baruch, who works in the university's business school in Norwich.

Banning swear words and reprimanding staff might represent strong leadership, but could remove key links between staff and impact on morale and motivation, he said.

"We hope that this study will serve not only to acknowledge the part that swearing plays in our work and our lives, but also to indicate that leaders sometimes need to 'think differently' and be open to intriguing ideas.

"Managers need to understand how their staff feel about swearing. The challenge is to master the 'art' of knowing when to turn a blind eye to communication that does not meet their own standards."

The study, "Swearing at work and permissive leadership culture: when anti-social becomes social and incivility is acceptable", is published in the latest issue of the Leadership and Organisational Development Journal.

So. What are your thoughts on this? Honestly, for me, I read this with my mouth hanging open. Was I actually reading that society has lowered itself to thinking that swearing is bonding, and team building and boosting morale?? My question is, is swearing really that commonplace, accepted and expected now? Maybe I'm totally out of the loop, as I have never been a big "potty-mouth" and when I worked, I worked around children so obviously there wasn't a lot of cussing going on.

I guess it kind of boils down to your personal view of swearing in general. If you know me, you know you would be hard up to find true four letter words coming out of my mouth. Sure, I've had my fair share of words in the past, and I'll admit if I'm extremely, and I mean extremely upset or hurt, I may slip out a word or two that I wouldn't want my kids to hear. But even in those instances, that's becoming more and more rare for me. Using that language just isn't my first instinct anymore.

And here's the thing. Here's where I may step on some toes, and I'm sorry if I do, but these are my thoughts. I feel like I don't swear anymore because I grew up. When I sit and listen to someone using language like that, when it's every other word, or just randomly decorating sentences, I can't help but sometimes think: grow up. Almost like, don't you have something more intelligent to say? Do you not know any other descriptive words besides the expletives that you choose to run out of your mouth? I honestly lose a little respect for people who use this language as a regular part of their speech. I'm talking non-emotional ordinary sentences. I feel like they're trying to impress someone or like they think they're "cool" for using those words. That's why it takes me back to feeling like, okay, we're not in high school anymore.

Now I'm not really referring to the language reserved for certain situations. Sometimes the emotion warrants a "special" word or two. I understand that. And I understand it can get to be a habit. But come on. Hearing more of that language around the office is going to enrich our experience as employees? Where was this study conducted? At McDonald's or the corner convenience store (the movie Clerks comes to my mind!)? Are these people really professionals? I mean, no matter your job... shouldn't you be at least a tad professional?

And swearing in front of or especially at kids... that's a whole nother post I could get into that I won't.
I will say this though. I once witnessed a mom walking across the street with her daughters... one was maybe two and the other was probably about 5 years old. The five year old was dragging a little behind crying because she lost her hair clip at the playground. The mom was yelling at the girl, dragging her along, and her exact words were, "Shut up you little b!tch! You are such a f@cking whiny baby. I'm not buying you anymore g*ddamn things because you can't take care of your sh!t anyway. Just shut the f@ck up already and let's go!". I am not exaggerating in the least.
Yelling. Using those words talking to a child. I wanted to run up and take that little girl away from that. It made me soooo incredibly sad for her. For them. Arghhh.... I can't get into that discussion.

Anyway. What are your thoughts on that article and the "study"? What are your thoughts on swearing in general?


Kristi Sauer said...

There's a time and a place for it, and never in front of the kids!

Nicole said...

Swearing at work? At a business? Uhm.... tacky?! I'd be really disgusted if I went into Gap and the employee's were saying things like "THis shirt is so f**king cute!" or "Those shoes would look so d@mn cute with that outfit!" Uh... no.

My thoughts on swearing... well, I swear. You know that as well as anyone. However, to "decorate" everyday chat with swearing, I rarely do. I may say "hell" or "damn" in frustration randomly during the day, but I don't think I ever casually just throw out cuss words in casual, happy chatter. I guess for me swearing is just a way of getting rid of frustration, or just expressing SHEER frustration or anger. I know I use cussing a lot in situations where I'm fuming, stressed or frustrated. I wish I didn't, but thats just the way I'm used to venting.

I guess I don't view swearing as a high school, immature act, but as a way to vent. Now, I WOULD say that using "f*cking" or "shit" every other word in a sentence talking to friends about.... cars or shopping or something... yeah, high-school... "tryin to be cool" type of thing. I've heard that plenty of times at the store or among kids, and its just tacky and annoying.

Cussing in front of kids: GAH! I'm guilty as charged, although I would NEVER cuss that horribly at a child (as the lady did walking across the road). That is ridiculous, and verbally abusive. If she would do that in PUBLIC and swear and degrade her child to that magnitude, I'm sickened to think of how she treats her kids when she's behind closed doors. There are many times I've been overwhelmed and frustrated and said "get the hell away from me!" or 'Damnit just stop whining!" and its not something I'm proud of at all. Its actually pretty embarrassing that I lose control of my anger that easily, but its something I have to work on. As far as cussing in front of kids (not to them), well, guilty, again, although for me this rarely happens as unless I'm really angry/frustrated I don't *think* I swear that much. Ryan, though... I'm constantly getting on him at home for swearing randomly in front of Porter when he's ticked at something. I've really tried to watch our casual swearing in front of Porter. I obviously don't want him repeating those words.

Now, my use of HAHA!, LOL! and !!!!!! and "quotes" on blogs, comments and IM's... now THAT is a whole other issue. PFFFT!

Ok... so hows this for a record long comment HAHA! You're going to have to scroll down like 10 times to read it!

Oh.. I'm not done. I was going to attest to your occasional cuss word... I think I could count on one hand the times I've heard (or read on IM) Heather swear... and I cracked up each time and said "HEATHER! You just SWORE!!!" HAHA!

Jessica said...

I live in a house with a submariner. Take the normal sailor and magnify the bad language by 20. So needless to say we weren't the best at holding back in the swearing department at the beginning of our marriage.

But then we had Alyssa. And we both felt ashamed at the way that we had been talking. Neither of us was raised that way. We talked about it one night shortly after she was born, and that language hasn't been a part of our home since. Veeery rarely I have a melt-down and a few not-so-nice words slip out, but NEVER EVER around my kids.

Now when I hear someone cussing, it's somehow...I don't know...more vulgar or something. Now that I've moved past that phase in my life, all I can think about is the time I got caught saying the S word at about 10 years old, and my mom pulling me aside and reading me every bible verse related to "language pleasing to the Lord"...LOL! At least some lessons from my childhood stuck with me! :-)

It's a personal choice...and to each his own, who am I to judge? I won't make a big deal out of someone cussing around me, I can handle it...I'm a big girl. But, around my kids? I will say something, just like I would ask someone to put their cigarette out if they were near my children.

I do think that swearing in the workplace is HIGHLY inappropriate! If workers are so upset at work and need to let out stress that way, then maybe management should be taking a good look at why their employees are so stressed to begin with!

Nicole said...

OOOH wait! I do say hell... a lot. Like "What the hell!"

Oh well.

Amy said...

no one's perfect, but i think it's become just way to acceptable to swear. so much that it doesn't even have any effect.

Katie said...

I heard about this article and as I was driving listening to the radio I was thinking what in the world!? And it's pretty unfortunate that our society has made this an acceptable habit. Though I can't say I never swear...I try to keep it to a minimum. And never at work!

It's also pretty sad that while I work at a school...with school teachers....who teach children all day, I've heard them use that type of language in the lounge. I'm always a little shocked when I hear it especially out of my fellow staff members *GULP*!

As for parents using it around children....UGH! Makes me sick...and to the extreme of that mother, even more sickening! I can't stand it! Now I know every child is going to hear some profanity and some point or another. But, I think parents need to use a little self control...there is no need to curse at your child(in my opinion...especially at *young* children) & even if you have to out of pure it under your breath at least!!

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