3 Signs That Your Mouth Might Cost You A Job

Career & Workplace


Some industries tolerate a lot more colorful language than others. But even in fields known for cursing, having a foul mouth can cost you big time. Pro football’s Rex Ryan, coach of the Jets, was recently “stunned” that the NFL fined him $100,000 for profanity toward an official. He says he didn’t expect what he thought was a private conversation to result in such a big penalty.

The Things You Say Have An Effect

Probably the language Rex Ryan used was to emphasize what he wanted to say. Then again, maybe he talks like that all the time because he hears it all the time. That old saying, “garbage in, garbage out” definitely comes into play when it comes to our words. So how do we discern when the cost of letting it fly is too high?

  • Figure out if you have a tendency to use words like the F-bomb without thinking about it. If you don’t realize what your language is like, you already have a problem because your brain isn’t in gear when your mouth is in motion. While it can be argued that an occasional curse word will emphasize a point, that same word littering your sentences is meaningless pollution.
  • Listen to the way upper level management speaks. If your industry doesn’t condone salty language, your saltiness will keep you from advancing. Swearing around the boss is far more offensive when the boss doesn’t ever swear at work. There might be lots of it tossed around the cubicles, but if management doesn’t do it, then you shouldn’t either.
  • How do you express frustration or anger to a colleague? A raging rant full of expletives might be a venting mechanism, but it isn’t solving any problems. If all you do is curse the darkness, your contribution is negative. But lighting a candle — working on a solution — shows you have something valuable to offer.

The language we use is part of who we are, but it can give the hearer a negative impression of how you will be in a higher-level position. That false impression is why the language of our lifestyle can ruin a career opportunity. It would be a shame to let it happen to you.