I will admit I have a foul mouth. I will own up to the fact that I cuss. My best friend from college and I try to out-swear each other whenever we get together. We like to joke that it’s because we’re both Italian, and we’re “emotional people!”
One of the funniest stories I’ve told is about the first time I cussed at the dinner table. My father asked me, “do you talk like that at the dinner table at college?”
My response? “Yeah, I do!”
That was 18 years ago. My father made me leave the table. To this day, I still haven’t cussed at the dinner table in front of my parents. And I’ve learned that in my role in the work force, saying one of the “seven words” doesn’t make you sound cool to other people.
There’s a time to hold back from dropping the f-bomb. Or using the s-word. Or calling someone the d-word. And when you use that kind of language as a professional or as a representative of an organization, it reflects badly on you and on the people who sign your paycheck.
So when a Division I football player said of me and my cohorts that “you just write shit down” – on the record, on the podium, during a live press conference after a game – I wasn’t taken aback by the fact that he tried to belittle or question my profession. Heck, we question what he and his team do at least four times a day.
I was more shocked that he had to resort to using a profanity to make his point.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned. Maybe I’m one of the few people who still believe in the importance of manners. Maybe I put too much value on people having a certain level of professional decorum.
When you use that kind of language to reinforce your point as a professional, it’s all over. You’ve lost. You’ve relegated yourself to the lowest common denominator.
You’re no better than my trashy neighbors. And probably no wiser than that college kid who cussed that one time at the dinner table.