5 HR Safe Swear Words

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I tend to use swear words.  Not all the time – I’m not like some sailor walking around the office dropping ‘F-Bombs’ all the time, but in select instances I will use a word that I don’t allow my kids to use.  I’ve heard people say that those who use swear words are ignorant because they can’t come up with any other words in their vocabulary to describe what they want to say.  I don’t know if I totally agree with that. I know some really smart folks who, in the right-wrong company, will make the conscience decision to use profane language.

Time recently had an article on 9 Things You Probably Didn’t know About Swear Words.  Some of those 9 things:

  1. The average person swears quite a bit.  .7 – 3% of the total words you say!
  2. Kids often learn a four-letter word before they learn the alphabet.
  3. People in the ‘rising middle class’ use less profanity.
  4. Swearing can physiologically affect your body.
  5. People don’t use cuss words just because they have lazy minds.

In HR and Recruiting we are funny about the use of swear words.  Would you ever hire someone who used a swear word in an interview? Hell, no!  But your senior executive uses on in every meeting you’ve ever had with her!  It’s context, right?  Someone should know better to use that kind of language in an interview – but behind closed doors talking about ‘real’ issues and ‘real’ people, well, we’re just keeping it ‘real’…

I do feel for HR and Talent Pros, though, so I wanted to come up with a list of 5 HR  Safe Swear words that you can use around the office – still feel the energy of using a swear word without getting yourself in trouble.  Here we go:

1. Holy Crap!  You can just use ‘crap’, but the ‘Holy’ really makes this a go-to safe swear word.  “Holy Crap! Are you kidding me right now – there is no way we can deliver that in 2 weeks!”

2. Freaking!  This is the perfect ‘F’ word replacement.  “There is no Freaking way I’m going to allow that to happen!”

3. Gosh Dang It! This one makes me feel like I just saw a Pastor hit his finger with a hammer while rebuilding a barn for a neighbor that got blown down in the storm.  He wants to swear, but he also wants the first class ticket to heaven!

4. Holy Mother!  This is a good one because it takes two words that aren’t swear words but that people use as the prefix for a big swear words.  “Holy Mother!  I told you to stop sending female employees pictures of your junk.  Did you get dropped on your head as child?”

5. Son of a Bucket!  Again – people will understand the context – and you can literally replace “Bucket” with any other word starting with “B” and it still works.  Son of a Beetle; Son of a Butternut Squash; Son of a Buick – it’s how you emphasize the “Son of A!” before your “B” word that really makes this one work!

By the way – the summer of my 11th year I got roped into attending a ‘summer camp’ by a kid in my neighborhood.  He said it was fun – we’d get to play games, food, prizes, etc.!  He tricked me – it was church bible summer camp.  Which didn’t have fun, games or prizes!  He was just pissed he had to go and wanted someone to be miserable with all summer!  I only tell you this to let you know that all 5 of the HR Safe Swear Words have been tested by me with a man of the cloth – and all passed muster!  So, you’re safe, you can use them in HR.

Tim Sackett
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.