I keep f’ing up as a dad. But apparently I’m not alone.
I was meeting with a dealer last week and he had a good laugh when I showed him a video of our 20-month-old saying “damnit” when she dropped her water bottle – then immediately saying “sorry daddy” followed by “oopsie”.
Having a toddler puts your potty mouth into perspective and makes you realize you need to stop swearing.
But as I was leaving the dealership, I overheard a sales guy on the showroom floor drop a mighty f-bomb with a customer. The two had a good laugh together when the customer responded, “damn right. F— Obama!”
Replace that customer with a little old lady and it might not have gone over so well. But I’d guess he probably never would have dropped the swear. Or would he have?
Check out this study by Careerbuilder about swearing. It found employers may be inclined to think less of an employee who swears at work – and said that 81% believe the use of curse words brings the employee’s professionalism into question. 71% said they are concerned with the lack of control, 68 percent said it shows a lack of maturity and 54% said it make the employee appear less intelligent.
Well that’s just a crock of…chili.
My search for cussing justification continued.
I found a great book called Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, written by Melissa Mohr and published by Oxford University Press.
I like this woman. Let me highlight some of her points.
- Swearing has been around since the Roman times.
- The average person’s daily language consists of about .7% of swear words each day (mine is probably closer to 70% to be fair). That number sounds small until you realize that we use first-person plural pronouns like “we and our” at about the same rate.
- Kids often learn at least one swear before they learn the alphabet.
- Our bodies have a physiological response to swears. It can make our palms sweat. But it can also alleviate pain. A study found that if you put your hand in a bucket of cold water, people can keep it there longer if they use the big s word instead of saying “shoot”. Go figure.
- Studies have found that it can help people bond and create a mutual feeling of solidarity.
Perhaps the problem isn’t in swearing. Perhaps it’s in not swearing effectively. Because shouldn’t there be an art to it?
In the words of Mark Twain, “under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”
What can I say? He was one smart son of a…gun.
I suppose there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to dealerships.
The first is in knowing your customers. If it’s a one-on-one setting and others aren’t within earshot, you may choose to take the lead from your customer.
But if someone is swearing at you on Facebook because you f’d up their car in your service department, I wouldn’t exactly suggest responding in a similar fashion.
What do you think? Should employees get a bar of soap in the mouth for dropping some foul language…or does it actually make the work environment a better place?