WTF? The Habit of Cussing in the Workplace

WTF - Workplace Short

Do you drop the “F” bomb?  Do you say the “S” word? Or, do you prefer to use God’s name in vain?

I have often wondered why I curse at all…especially in a professional environment.

A group of our leaders recently attended a prominent seminar about organizational dynamics and leadership.  They keynote presenter cursed….he cursed a lot!  A few of our team members blocked it out.  Another found it funny.  However, our wonderful college President, Dr. Kirk, found it offensive.  From Dr. Kirk’s perspective, it added zero value to the content and in fact, he strongly felt the cursing devalued the training we invested in.

As Dr. Kirk shared this with me, I blushed a little.  He knows that I have a terrible potty mouth.  I’ve cussed my entire life and I haven’t held back with him over this past decade.

The industry I’ve worked in over the past 20 years is dominated by males.  I think early on I thought dropping a naughty word here and there would show them that I could be “one of the boys” or that I’m a totally cool person. I know now that it isn’t so cool after all.  In fact, when I hear others cuss, it often comes across as lame and a total lack of class.  Yep, that’s me.

I can certainly turn to scripture to inspire better behavior (read below) and speak words of encouragement, not destruction!

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” 

SOHK - Eph Quote

I know sometimes when you have to make an important point, it seems like you need that extra “oomph” that only a good cuss word can provide. But cursing, like other habits, can be cured by replacing with a different habit.  What is that?  I’m still searching for the answer.

I’m improving, but certainly not where I’d like to be.  How about you?  Have you found cursing in the work environment to distract or devalue your original thought? Do you want to quit cussing or have you ever broken the habit?  What did you do?


  1. Kevin Kirk on January 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for your thought provoking article Teresa! And you don’t have a potty mouth BTW. My Dad was in the Navy…enough said….LOL. I grew up around cussing and my Grandfather could go toe to toe with the best of them. 🙂
    For some reason, (probably because my mother washed my mouth out with soap when I cussed as a kid), I grew up believing cussing added no value to communication and in fact took away from it. When I heard someone cuss it was often when a person seemed to have little control over their actions. I’ve heard it said that people often cuss when they cannot think of a more appropriate word to use. We all get frustrated, and upset over things, but we have choices how we respond to things and the words we speak. Personally, I’m thankful that I learned about cussing at an early age and had a mother who wasn’t afraid to take action when my potty mouth sounded.

    • Joe Tinervia on January 13, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      To Two of My Dear Friends…. I will always remember my fond memories of my CCC Family… any staff will agree 🙂 (I’m trying to stop using imodicons…hahaha)
      Being a VietNam Era USNavy Veteran, I can agree with Dr. Kirk !!! I have the uncanny ability to “field strip” an individual with the best of them. I have been able to bring tears to young sailors or salesperson under my management care !! It’s an amazing talent…. Although, as I grew older and wiser, I too realized that a truer form of intelligence, culture, and work integrity was to have control of one’s communications skills.
      I pass on to my students, who may think that they know how to “criticize” their colleagues… by the f.., s…, or even fouler words….they will always succeed by communicating intelligently, with a “viewed” control of their skills.
      Don’t get me wrong ….. you can make a foe feel like they were “just sent to bed without dinner” by using words that criticize that individual without the slang or curse words that they have all heard in the past.
      Therefore, I’m a believer of the “Dr. Kevin Kirk Language Ideal” and Support his thoughts fully (I was beginning to think I was the last disciple.)

      Oh, and Teresa…. your not a potty mouth 🙂

      Joe Tinervia
      Thanks for the Platform….

      • Teresa on January 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

        Oh Joe, you always make me smile! Thanks for taking the time to write this!

  2. Pam Martin on January 14, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I grew with my family cursing all around me and picked up a few choice words of my own. I had to make a very conscious effort to stop cursing when I heard to my horror, my then 2 year old repeat my words. I still curse on occasion but I am not proud that I lost control of my words.

    • Teresa on January 14, 2015 at 10:38 am

      I have never heard you curse, Pam. I would be shocked! But, I am glad you shared. 🙂

  3. Laura McPartland on January 15, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Very well said Teresa!

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