Dropping the "F-Bomb"

by Rick Chiorando

In my experience (and let's face it, it's a little tainted), most people curse while on the job; some more than others. Moreover, there appears to be a general acceptance of this type of behavior: it's no longer considered offensive, demeaning or unexpected. It comes with the territory and modern media has made it a part of our main stream culture. It's not something you whisper with your hand to your mouth: just look at how many politicians have been caught "dropping the F-bomb" when they thought their microphones were off!  

In fact, a recent study suggests that swearing in the workplace may have some benefits. According to researchers, it allows people a way to express their feelings and frustration, as cursing is a mechanism for relieving stress. For example: "What do you mean the F#@KING layout's not done?! It's due to the pub in 15 F#@KING minutes!!" That has to make you feel better. It's cathartic, and must lower your blood pressure by 20 points.

The study also indicates that swearing enhances group cohesiveness by creating and maintaining solidarity among employees. For example: "The client F#@KING loved the logo!" Or, on the flip side, "F#@K me... the client wants to make the F#@KING logo bigger!" Of course, workers shouldn't curse in front of clients (that would be bad). But, I have been witness to my clients dropping the first F-Bomb, which has led to some pretty energized discussions.

The long and short of it is: I don't think you'll ever eliminate cursing from the workplace altogether. Trying to curb one's "enthusiasm" may create an awkward, structured work environment and instill an air of staunch boredom.

Soap in mouth!So with that said, what the F#@K do you think? Should we incorporate "F-Bomb Fridays" into the workplace? Is it healthy? Invigorating? Liberating? Tell me what goes on in your office. I'm waiting with baited F#@KING breath.

By the way . . . those who know me, please don't tell my Mother about this. She'll try to wash my mouth out with soap!

Rick ChiorandoRick Chiorando, Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Long Island advertising agency Austin & Williams, combines results-driven talent with an uncanny ability to combine "big idea" creative with multifaceted, multilevel strategic execution. To read more about Rick, visit his bio section on the A&W web site.

Comments – 12 responses to “Dropping the "F-Bomb"”

  1. Paul Says:
    I generally try to avoid using the word, but I think it’s one of those things that’s taken way too seriously. Let's face it, that's how most people talk when they feel comfortable and barriers are down (this is evidenced by my own extensive personal studies: when we are among friends, the rate of using the F-word increases by a stunning 85%). Its use is a simple fact of life and if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that it does help us express ourselves — both in and out of the office.

    I also think it’s clear that a well-placed expletive can still add impact (if over used, then it loses impact – so by nature, it's a beautiful self-governing process). And, of course, I’m certain that most people would agree that a well placed F-word improves comic timing and makes jokes funnier – something many offices could use more of!

    As with so many things, it all comes down to common sense and knowing what’s appropriate for a given audience. But for the most part, we should all just F#@KING chill! (ok, moms excluded)
  2. rick Says:
    Thanks Paul,

    I couldn't agree more, unless you're working for the Pope, it's just not natural going through a day without hearing it drop. We're not living with Mrs. Clever, it's part of today's mainstream life, it's all around us from TV and movies to songs and sorry to say, conversation at the dinner table, and you're right.. how many comedians have exploited that word to get them on the comic radar.

    So all you Girl Scouts out there, I'm really interested to hear what the F#@K you have to say about this... here's your F#@KING opportunity to be heard!

    Mom... if you're reading this, I promise to say five "Hail Mary's"
  3. Lou Says:
    Very cool stuff...I have to admit, my fellow artists and I are known to drop the f-bombs and other colorful phrases from time to time...when its needed of course. I feel it makes us interact more comfortably, and brings us together as a group of friends/peers rather than being just "co-workers".
  4. Ida Says:
    This is your favorite aunt. I want you to know I covered the article when co-workers walked into my cubical because I didn't want them to know what I was laughing at. After all, does Ida use such language???? You need to say 25 Hail Marys.
  5. rick Says:
    You, the "BIG I" use the F-Bomb?????? Does Joan Rivers use Botox?

    I could be wrong, but I think I learned it from you!... I just can't do that "roll of the lip" when you drop it... You definitely deliver it with F#@KING gusto!

    Now you have to excuse me... Hail Mary, full of grace....
  6. Ida Says:
    You are full of F#@KING donkey dust. That word was never spoken by my virgin mouth. Never even heard it until I read your F#@KING F-Bomb article. You absolutley need to start praying for forgiveness. Start with the Our Father, followed by 10 Hail Marys and ending with the Act of Contrition if you can even remember it from Catechism.
  7. Mommy Dearest Says:
    RICHARD this is Mommy Dearest, you G-damn son of a bitch bastard. You embarass me by using such F#@KING vulgar language. You may not have learned the language from the "BIG I", maybe you learned it from Aunt Mary, you surely did not hear such language out of my mouth. I spoke to Father Ed this morning at church and he said you need to go to confession!!!!!
  8. rick Says:
    BUSTED! You're right, I probably picked it up from a friend while we were playing stick ball, and if that's the worst thing that happened (that you know about) in the Bronx, we should throw a parade!

    I'm trying not to use the F#@K bomb as much, but it's pretty F#@KING boring! Whoops... "Our father..."
  9. Paul Says:
    Check out the guy in this video — he’s not your typical design critic, but he knows what he’s talking about and certainly knows how to drop the F-Bomb (you’ve been warned!): http://bit.ly/9lzywp
  10. H.S. Thompson Says:

    Profanity is the linguistic crutch of the inarticulate motherf#@ker.
  11. Rick Says:
    Very well said... and so true! Based on how many times I hear that word in daily conversations, the inarticulate far outnumber the articulate ones!

  12. Paul Says:
    Thought the link below from a psychology blog was pertinent to this discussion and confirms my views on this topic. According to a study, it looks like the occasional well-placed curse word really does make an impact — because it’s human.

    The Persuasive Power of Swearing http://bit.ly/bfter9

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