Last week, I spent 8 hours immersed in a one-day business seminar. I was seated next to a gentleman I did not know, and throughout the day we engaged in casual conversation during the breaks. He seemed like a very nice guy, sharp, well dressed, very personable -- and every other word out of his mouth was the “F-Word.” The business seminar was a tremendous learning experience and I walked away with valuable and useful knowledge. What I did not walk away with was an understanding as to why a seemingly professional person would talk to another professional person in that manner?
At one time or another, we all use profanity to express anger, frustration, disappointment, or to add “emphasis” to a story. However, I've recently been involved in some professional situations where conversations were peppered with profanity. In the past, I've also experienced people who frequently used colorful language in the workplace. So, when profanity is part of someone’s everyday vocabulary, do you tell that person if it bothers you?
Don't get me wrong -- I'm no lightweight. Yet, I feel that cursing in a business-related environment is uncomfortable and inappropriate. In addition, I find it somewhat challenging to fully appreciate what people are saying if they cannot complete a sentence without uttering the "F-Word." I'm not too sure it's a gender thing either. In fact, I actually think this is an equal opportunity issue. Oh well ... I say "To Each His Own -- Live And Let Live." I also say there is a time and place for everything.
When someone cursed in her presence, my grandmother would always declare: "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" Also, children of my generation were sometimes told they would get their mouths washed out with soap for using foul language. Although I personally do not know anyone who has ever had that happen, the fear of having a bar of soap touch your lips was enough to keep most of us kids compliant. To me, the language people choose as a means of communicating in business situations speaks volumes about their professionalism and perceived respect for others. And, I'm just wondering -- if nobody is aware that something bothers you, why would anyone stop doing it?