Swearing isn’t unprofessional. Or is it?
Do you swear at work? Often if leaders do, they set a tone. Which is *really* unprofessional. Because people don’t go to work in order to feel like extras in a Tarantino film.
But I don’t think people go to work to feel like extras in a Mary Poppins film either. They go to work to work. In some companies, profanity is part of the culture. In others not.
A profession is simply about being paid to create value. We can create value while swearing, or in silence. Or somewhere in between.
This culture will have an impact on your business. It may attract or deter customers. It may attract or deter people from joining your company. And that’s as it should be – we should all be free to choose the environment that works for us.
So when I see the self-proclaimed politeness police chime in self-righteously that profanity is unprofessional, I say bollocks. It may be crude. It may be funny. It may be blase. Each one of us has the right to judge it differently for ourselves, to approve or disapprove. But so long as it doesn’t impact the creation of value you’re being paid to create, it’s not about professionalism. It’s about culture.
Profanity is part of a lot of people’s humanity. At work, we should be human AND professional. Meaning we deliver the value our organisation is being paid for, but we don’t need to do it like automatons.