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Should We Curse at Work?

TempA book, What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves, explains why cursing is good for us. Author Benjamin K. Bergen also argues that cursing is a social construct: certain words are "bad" only because we say they are.

Cursing has some benefits. One study showed that swearing in response to an injury helps us tolerate pain. Another showed that swearing improved performance in bicycle and hand-grip exercises. Bergen argues that cursing allows people to show their emotional state instead of hiding it. He also says cursing brings people of similar backgrounds or cultures together.

But what about swearing at work? This seems to vary based on industry, company, and work group. Some cursing, such as ethnic slurs, are offensive and would rarely be tolerated. However, many teams will curse among themselves, depending on the relationships and circumstances.  

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Discussion:

  • Do you curse? Why or why not? Under what circumstances would you curse or avoid it?
  • How do you feel about cursing in professional work environments? What are the advantages and disadvantages?