I have a tendency to use bad language from time to time, especially when I am in Belgium, not because it’s a bad place, or anything like that but because the ‘F…’ word seems to be less rude there than in many other countries; it can even be heard on the national radio and TV from time to time.
When I am excited, stressed, or simply trying to make a powerful point (especially during a lecture) out it comes. And it sounds, OK to me, not out of place; just shocking enough to make a point but not too shocking to upset my audience: well at least I hope not.
But this week I was forced to reconsider the use of swear words when I read Ricky Gervais’ post in Facebook about the senseless killing of beautiful wild animals by trophy hunters. His passion for the topic certainly got through to me, and his arguments were compelling, but I wonder if I would have bothered to have read the article had he not used an extreme and forbidden swear word in its title?
In the workplace we need to be calm and moderated, we need to show respect for all, to be careful not to upset this group or that. But we also need to still be ourselves, to be personal and human.
I am always amazed how people are able to adapt their behaviour according to circumstance, how they manage to stay outwardly calm in the workplace, when in any other situation, with half the amount of provocation they would ‘loose it’ and just say it like it is.
This week, many of my colleagues will be writing communications for their clients. They will be warning employees of changes to come, or giving explanations as to why things have or have not happened. They will be celebrating achievements or rationalising disappointments. But in all of these carefully crafted and diligently edited pieces of prose, I know already that there will be no ‘F’ or ‘C’ words, not even a ‘bloody’ or a ‘dam’; nor even a word that sincerely conveys some deep felt emotion.
Perhaps this is why not many people read company intranet sites? Not because they have no swear words in them but because, they don’t convey the kind of honest emotions that we humans experience every day?
Have a good week,