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Workplace Conflicts & Getting Cussed Out on the Job

Updated on March 15, 2011

When the F*** Yous Start Flying . . .

There is nothing more embarrassing or demeaning than getting cussed out at work in front of your co-workers. It is nothing that you should ever have to deal with in a professional office environment. However, these days there are plenty of unprofessional office settings where co-workers deem themselves “friends” at work and all decorum and respect for what should be proper office behavior has long gone out the window.

Someone who reacts hostile when I express an opinion that might be different from hers has repeatedly cussed me out on the job. She can’t handle a difference of opinion at all, and her reaction is violent. Yes, we both like to be in control and express out opinion. Does a difference of opinion have to resort to a bunch of “f*** yous” being thrown across the room? I think not. Remember that this behavior is over-reacting and needs to stop.

Preventing inappropriate outbursts and behaviors at work takes management making a commitment to maintain a professional work environment. Without such a commitment, there really is little hope that a current situation will improve. Cussing someone out on the job is very unprofessional behavior and all members of management must agree that it is an unacceptable code of conduct and have a policy in place to prevent the situation from continuing to occur.

Put Out that Fire

Steps to Deal

  1. Try to take a moment to understand another point of view. Maybe your co-worker is reacting negatively because they feel threatened on the job. A number of older co-workers feel like they are being pushed out by younger workers and react hostile to new ideas. Maybe a co-worker is a perfectionist and reacts very strongly to criticism. They are reacting so violently and quickly to say something hurtful towards you because they are not feeling so good about themselves. A little understanding can go a long way towards generating peace in the office environment.
  2. Ease Fears. If you have an idea of what might be behind the violent reactions of a co-worker, than you know how to approach them with your ideas or concerns. Ease their fears by addressing them directly in the form of praising them for jobs well done and years of experience and make it clear that you want to work together to solve problems or to make improvements. Put it out there that you are coming from a positive place.
  3. Keep Your Cool. Just because someone else is inappropriately going off the handle and creating an embarrassing situation does not mean you have to make an embarrassment of yourself. Keep your cool. Take a time out. Leave the situation. It is so much better for your own mental state to take time to remove yourself from an escalating situation. You do not have to put up with being aggressively attacked and have the right to walk away from the situation. Violence in the workplace is far too common and so not worth it. Protect yourself. Report bosses, co-workers, and customers to the authorities if you have been physically threatened.

Unfortunately, you are the person that if trying to keep the peace and create a better office environment and you have to do a lot of the work. The person that cussed you out feels threatened in some way and took it out on you. Do not take such incidents personally but protect yourself from allowing it to be a pattern in your work life.


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    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Yeah, people are really over the top these days @moonlake.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I think it's awful for anyone to be cussed out. I think part of the problem now days is the f word is used in households in front of children like it's nothing. That makes people figure they can use it anywhere at anytime. Keep your cool is a good idea don't lower your standards. Voted up.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      It is hard to stay in control. When you give your emotions over to the situation, the other person has really put you down.

    • pinkydoo profile image

      pinkydoo 6 years ago from New York

      I like the advice about "keeping your cool" and "taking a time out." In so many heated situations, this is the best route to you can feel more in control of the situation as opposed to letting emotions run wild - which doesn't solve anything and just makes you look bad!(And you're right - no one shuold ever have to put up with "being attacked")!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Good suggestions but regardless, no supervisor has the right to chastise in public, especially in such derogatory tones or language.

      An old motto which I have used and still do is: Praise in Public-Chastise in Private.