Take This Job and $%^# It?

"Even at the most casual companies where you can go to work in a T-shirt or ratty jeans, you still wouldn't go in your pajamas or your sweatpants. That's just a line that you draw," she said. "A workplace can be casual, but it's still not happy hour with your friends."

An employee who swears during a difficult situation — for instance, when a key client threatens to pull his or her account — may be viewed as "a hothead" who can't stay cool under pressure.

When an employee uses swear words while speaking with a superior, that could be construed as insubordination, said Richard V. Denenberg.

Denenberg, the author of "The Violence-Prone Workplace: A New Approach to Dealing With Hostile, Threatening, and Uncivil Behavior," said employees who work around a foul-mouthed colleague may find themselves distracted from their work.

But he conceded that there are certain workplaces and workplace cultures where foul language is more acceptable than others.

"Mining gravel or working in a warehouse — heavy outdoor work — you'll probably find it's more common because it's a less refined setting," he said.

But some white-collar workers said that their offices aren't immune either. Streiff said that swearing is common in the advertising industry, where stress-laden deadlines and "liberal" work environments abound.

Michael Stutts, a former investment banker in Chicago, said that rampant foul language in the world of finance makes financial institutions look like frat houses.

"People try to motivate by using pretty harsh language," he said.

Stutts now attends business school and says that, after he graduates, he plans to work in consulting — a field where he says the language is "much more polished."

He won't miss the cussing of his old job, even the occasional kind.

"If you use it sparingly, it can be effective in putting fear into people," he said, "but I wouldn't say it's necessarily healthy."

Fighting your own workplace swearing habit might take a little bit of help.

James O'Connor, the lecturer who addressed workplace swearing at Custom Culinary earlier this year, has some strategies to help people cut down on the cussing, including expanding vocabulary and pretending "that your sweet little grandmother or your young daughter is always next to you."

"If you can control your swearing, you'll also be controlling your emotions," he said. "You can still get angry, you can still get upset, but you're not going to intensify it."

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