Those who know me know that I tend to have a potty mouth – just ask Mrs. CV or my Mom. While my kids often giggle at it and my friends seemingly have little to no issue with it, I do recognize that there is a time and a place for this language. For example, on radio and television you can’t say many words that our society has deemed inappropriate. Although you can *bleep* them out, which saves our poor children from actually hearing the phrase “Mother *bleep*ers”, despite the fact that we all know exactly what word was hidden behind the *bleep*.
In the corporate world, many words and phrases are also deemed inappropriate. For example, publicly stating that your corporate strategy is a cluster fuck wouldn’t be prudent – even if it’s wholly accurate.
Me, oh I’ve been known to drop the F-Bomb all too often.
Hell Sorry, heck it’s a great word!
I even once as a kid asked my Mom for permission to swear! Yes, I did…she said ok…I dropped an F-Bomb, appropriately used I might add, and she went ballistic. Yet, I proudly yelled, “but I asked first and you said YES!” – as she chased me with a wooden spoon.
And, while I have no issue with swearing, even I believe there are some things you should not say in the office environment.
Let’s take a look at some of the things I think should be off limits in the office. To me, these fall into two categories – sales speak and acting your age.
Look, I recognize everyone is selling something. You may be selling a product, an idea, your company, or yourself (no I don’t mean hookers). But, please dear god, can we lay off the traditional traveling salesman sales speak?
Leading off a conversation with, “Hey buddy” is never acceptable.
I have a buddy. He and I have built a relationship over many years. Our relationship is personal. We went to school together. Our wives are friends. Our kids hang out. I’ve gotten drunk with him and we have pictures of our parties with friends that we swore we would never show outside of the group, but we often will bring out with each other and laugh. I trust him with my family.
He’s my buddy.
You are not.
Don’t call me buddy.
“I have a killer deal for you.”
“This product will knock your socks off.”
“We’ve only got this for a limited time and I want you to have first dibs on it.”
Folks, if it’s ever been uttered on a local TV station after the hours of 11:30 pm OR if it’s shown on an ESPN2 commercial during their 73rd airing of The World’s Strongest Man episode from 1982 at 4 am don’t use it with me or anyone else for that matter.
Believe it or not, but each of those lines comes from a voice message I received within the past couple of weeks.
And, people wonder why I never answer the phone.
When it comes to sales speak please don’t force the corporate Kool-Aid down my throat. Give it to me straight. Tell it like it is. Don’t sugar coat it. Yeah, that’s business jargon, but seriously…just speak to me in plain old English.
Acting your age
In theory, all of us in corporateland are adults. Oh sure plenty of my coworkers act like children (yeah I’m looking at you Cubicle George and WikiWally just to name two), but at least from an actual age perspective we’re all over 18 and that is government manufactured age for adulthood – you can vote, go to war, and drink…errr…well not “technically” in the U.S. But, c’mon folks when talking with customers or coworkers don’t speak like a 14 year old schoolgirl.
I know that abbreviations are very popular. People of all ages use LOL, OMG, WTF all the time in communicating with others. However, they are almost always used in forms of personal communications and usually in discussions via text with friends, over IM, in emails, etc. But, they should never actually be spoken in the office.
Recently, I overheard one coworker talking to another (once again I forgot my headphones…F**K! See THAT’S a good use of the word).
CW1 says to CW2, “…WTF was she thinking?”
Ok seriously? Not saying the actual words and instead using the acronym is unacceptable.
Next time say, “What the fuck (or what the hell if you prefer) was she thinking?”
A couple weeks ago, I heard another CW say, “…LOL…that’s funny.”
First off, why use LOL at all? Just saying “that’s funny” is enough. OR, how about actually laughing out loud…I don’t mean saying it…I mean laughing loudly so everyone can hear you.
By using these acronyms in actual speech you sound like the 2012 equivalent of a Valley Girl.
Nicolas Cage was so cool in this film. What happened to you Nic?
It’s really common sense people. Don’t bull shit us with sales jargon. Don’t talk to your coworkers like you would talk to your friends in the back seat of Mom’s car when you were 14 and she was driving you to the Mall on a Friday night.
Just speak English dammit!
P.S. There is a time and place for a good F-bomb. Even at work, especially when describing some form the cluster fuckery that typically happens around the cubes, but as any live performer will tell you – know your audience.