Observing the Language of Professionalism

For my first bit of practicing professionalism, I decided to, first, observe how those who I work with practice professionalism. Specifically, since I work in a country club kitchen where people don’t necessarily monitor their language, I wanted to see if there was any difference in the use of profanity between lower-level employees and managers.

While looking for some basics, I came across a blog post by Lonnie Ledford and Associates that breaks down what they believe to be four key basics to business etiquette: politeness, avoid risque topics, avoid swearing, and think before speaking. For my place of work, knowing that there is a lot of cursing, I wanted to pay attention to see if this was the case for the managers, as well. I personally think that you need to know your audience. If you’re speaking to someone you’ve worked with for a long time, and hung out with outside of work, you can probably safely speak as you please. This could set you up to be overheard by another employee, though, so if you’re truly trying to be professional, I suppose it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ledford and Associates wrote, “ The use of profanity can result in coworkers being insulted whether is was intended or not.I paid close attention to what managers said, and even tried to eavesdrop on as many conversations as I could. At the very top, our General Manager didn’t swear once. Not to a member, of course, and not to any employees or managers, either. I don’t think that is a coincidence, either. It may have come about when he became the General Manager, understanding that everything, including his language would be under the microscope, or it may have been part of the reason he got the job, with the Board of Governors recognizing his professionalism, topped off by having a professional way of interacting with others. Within the other department heads, it was more 50/50. Two of the managers cursed regularly when talking to almost anyone, while two others never cursed, at all. The two who swore were male, and the two who did not were female, which I found interesting. No one, however, swore while speaking with club members, which, at least, shows their awareness of the fact that it may not be appropriate to speak that way.

It wasn’t surprising, but it was a nice reminder to work on my etiquette as it pertains to language in the workplace. Seeing that the person at the very top never, under any circumstance, cursed on the job made me think twice as to the language that I use during my shift. Though I don’t consider myself overly profane, I know I’m not perfect, as well, and that there is room for improvement.

In my next few days at work, I plan on focusing on, and practicing, other parts of professionalism, such as attire, appearance, respect, and gratitude. These are all not only signs of true professionalism, but things I need to work on myself to be more professional.


Lonnie Ledford & Associates (2014, June 10). Workplace Etiquette. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://lonnieledford.blogspot.com/2014/06/workplace-etiquette.html