Alternatives to swearing at work

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The ‘f’ word has crept its way into the lexicon of offices everywhere. What sort of alternatives are out there to this most versatile of words?

Well, here’s a sample HR memo with some handy suggestions.

Dear Staff

It has been brought to the CEO's attention that some individuals throughout the organisation have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their colleagues.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.

We do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with colleagues.

Therefore, a list of 13 New and Innovative "TRY SAYING" phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

  1. Instead Of: You don't have a fucking clue, do you?
    Try Saying: I think you could do with more training
  2. Instead Of: She's a fucking power-crazy bitch
    Try Saying: She's an aggressive go-getter.
  3. Instead Of: And when the fuck do you expect me to do this?
    Try Saying: Perhaps I can work late
  4. Instead Of: Fuck off arsehole
    Try Saying: I'm certain that isn't feasible
  5. Instead Of: Well fuck me backwards with a telegraph pole
    Try Saying: Really?
  6. Instead Of: Tell someone who gives a fuck.
    Try Saying: Perhaps you should check with...
  7. Instead Of: Not my fucking problem.
    Try Saying: I wasn't involved in the project.
  8. Instead Of: What the fuck?
    Try Saying: That's interesting.
  9. Instead Of: No fucking chance mate.
    Try Saying: I'm not sure this can be implemented within the given timescale.
  10. Instead Of: Why the fuck didn't you tell me that yesterday?
    Try Saying: It will be tight, but I'll try to schedule it in
  11. Instead Of: He's got his head up his fucking arse.
    Try Saying: He's not familiar with the issues
  12. Instead Of: Oi, fuck face.
    Try Saying: Excuse me, sir?
  13. Instead Of: Yeah, who needs fucking holidays anyway.
    Try Saying: Of course, I was only going to be at home anyway
  • Kirsten on 7/12/2012 3:43:00 PM


  • Ann on 7/12/2012 4:40:26 PM

    Not sure if this is a politically correct article. A few F*** would have been a bit kinder to the eyes.
    I hope you hit the send button by accident. I know its friday but you are suppose to be uppholding values with your magazine... not nice HC

  • Kayte on 7/12/2012 4:48:16 PM

    A+ article HC Online! One of your best of 2012!! We all had a good chuckle in the office, albeit awkwardly knowing that we are often the main offenders.

  • Kayte on 7/12/2012 4:49:45 PM

    A+ article HC Online! One of your best of 2012!! We all had a good chuckle in the office, albeit awkwardly knowing that we are often the main offenders.

  • Judy Higgins on 7/12/2012 4:52:51 PM

    Hilarious, I've used many of them, thought some of them and certainly not thought others. Thanks for the 'lighten up' Friday alternatives. Caused all sorts of hilarity around our office.

  • LC on 7/12/2012 7:36:07 PM

    Your best article yet! Love it.

  • tiff on 7/12/2012 7:44:22 PM

    I think this is a great article and shows that .HR people know how to have a laugh too!

  • Jen on 7/12/2012 10:32:12 PM

    Thank you for the smiles after a stressful week in HR :)

  • Wendy Stow on 8/12/2012 9:31:42 AM

    Having just dealt with a situation where swearing at work was symptomatic of declining mutual respect and had seriously damaged relationships, I must agree with Ann's comment. A more thoughtful article about 'what are the standards today?' and 'how should they be upheld?' would have been more helpful. Substituting F*** is a simple courtesy surely.

  • Ella on 8/12/2012 10:11:45 PM

    This was the best team bonding activity for our team. Thanks HC!

  • Sandra on 9/12/2012 6:40:10 AM

    Agree with Ann. This article demonstrates a breakdown in social values. Language that was once considered shocking to use in the workplace and socially has sadly become today's norm. Now that the "F" word has become acceptable, given Kirsten, Kayte and Judy's comments, what is the next expletive to normalise? The "C" word or is that too shocking?

  • Debs on 9/12/2012 4:26:43 PM

    Oh gold! Nothing like saying exactly how it is tho :-)

  • Profanity Pete on 10/12/2012 1:48:40 PM

    Come on Ann and Sandra, youre the squares that give us HR folk the label 'fun police' After years of working in white collar corporate offices I now consider the ability to use these expressions in the blue collar industry a 'benefit'.
    They are powerful words so use them as a tool. even Kevin Rudd does! (stationary issue 09)

  • John on 4/01/2013 3:34:15 PM

    Hmmmm...Whilst I dont use this type of language myself, and it is not used within my HR team, I too got a chuckle out of this article.

    Lets face it, what comes across the airwaves on TV these days would have made my Nanna feint backwards...or have a coronary. Mind you, in her day there was a huge uproar about the swear word in that famous line (which may be applicable here) "Frankly my dear, I don't give a Damn"

  • Maureen on 11/01/2013 3:14:03 PM

    Maybe those who didn't like it "could do with more training"...

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