SWEARING is a very ordinary part of life although not acceptable to many people.
The Romans probably swore profusely – they strike you as a pretty sweary lot with all that intensity and drive – and the Middle Ages seem to be when swearing picked up speed and became quite descriptive.
It’s not the actual swearing, though, that can be a problem. It’s where you swear. And, sorry to sound like a prude, but I really hate hearing the f-word bandied about in the street or shops. Hearing children swear is also just unsettling.
However, the really interesting area for discussion is: should you swear at work?
I worked in newspaper offices for decades and I know that, for many creative people, swearing is as natural as breathing. In fact, in an office where it’s rife you don’t even hear it after a while.
But is it right for anyone to swear? Is it just the bosses or can humble assistants let rip casually in “I’m late doing this f***ing invoice!”?
We have all heard bosses use it for emphasis when tearing a strip off someone, preferably not us, and thought how angry he or she must be to use it.
It is often a gauge of anger although may be devalued by casual use. Go onto a building site and you would probably expect to hear swearing being used as a general means of communication.
Does your company have a policy on swearing? Some do. Some set an informal level and don’t breach it. Some never tackle this one and, for many employees, that may not be acceptable.
Swearing certainly sets the tone in an office and there may even be an implication that if you don’t join in you’re somehow not a member of the “team.” And that’s just sad.