Okay to Curse at Work?

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Okay to Curse at Work?
Tue, 01-28-2014 - 9:05am

Does profanity belong in the modern workplace? Hell yes, say some business insiders. 

“Wall Street is a hotbed of profanity,” says Dennis Gibb, a former Morgan Stanley trader and Bear Stearns junior partner. “You’ve got a lot of high-testosterone people with big egos making a lot of money. When you’ve just bought 100,000 shares of something, profanity is a pretty appropriate response.”

Vulgar language seems to be the rule rather than the exception at many jobs these days, according to some employees, who often attribute it to the influence of popular culture. Still, it’s no secret that some people curse more than others at work, particularly, it seems, the office alphas.

“People sometimes use [profanity] as a weapon,” acknowledges Gibb. “I think it’s a way of trying to show dominance, like gorillas beating their chests.”


What do you think about profanity in the workplace?  Is it ever appropriate?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 03-12-2014 - 9:25pm

Depends on the work setting.  My job is spilt between being in a downtown office and out in the field in construction site like settings.  I don't swear at the office, but when out at the site, sometimes swear words are part of the communication tools with the guy that operates the dozer. 

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Thu, 01-30-2014 - 12:50pm
Like at home I would think a slip of the tongue every now and then natural at work too. If habitutally or second language then yea, something s/b curbed there. Wouldn't it affect company/employee morale if it happened too often?



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 12:36pm

I think "gorillas beating their chests" is an apt metaphor. It would be nice to think civilized people have moved beyond mere animal behavior!

And when someone around me swears a lot just to sound macho (and not, for example, because he dropped a coffee mug on his foot), I tend to think, "Oh, the poor thing. He has no self control." I'm pretty sure that's not a very macho image.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 01-28-2014 - 11:18am

I find it very unprofessional.  I guess I am "old" now (I'm 56) but I don't appreciate hearing people swearing at work.  My boss is my age and sometimes he will say the "f word"--not because he is angry, but just cause he wants to sound macho, I think.  In reality it makes me look down on him because it's one of many ways that I think he is unprofessional and a bad boss.  I think if peers are chatting and they are both comfortable with swearing, it is ok.  But I think that managers should be leading by example.