Wednesday, March 29, 2006

To curse or not to curse

I was with friends at the new Quaker Steak & Lube on Park Road last night when we overhead a waiter talking casually with two customers and later a fellow waiter. Several times, both waiters used profanity. I have foul mouth, but hearing staffers curse freely around customers seemed unprofessional.

Then I read an Associated Press article in today's paper about a recent poll regarding profanity. About three-fourths of people polled said they frequently or occasionally encounter people using profanity or swear words in public. Two-thirds said they think people use profanity more now than they did 20 years ago.

What also struck me about the article is that most people surveyed don't like it when people swear for no good reason.

That got me to thinking. When is a good reason to curse?

When I'm working my use of profanities changes. I sometimes curse around colleagues and they curse around me. Talking to club owners and bartenders, depending on my relationship with them, I've cursed when we're shooting the breeze. During straight-up interviews, business talk and interactions with readers (no matter how rude), I don't curse.

Here's my question: Is cursing unprofessional at work or does it depend on your job? Is it okay if you're a bartender, but not a bank teller. Post your replies below.