And while these are arguably extreme examples for the workplace, they serve as examples nonetheless. Of course, professionals wouldn't use epithets in their writing, but because many workplace writers don't take the opportunity to consider what words will portray them and their firms in the best possible light, the result can be the same. Firms can lose clients or even fail if the words their staff use are inappropriate or if their staff doesn't take good care to choose phrasing that reflects the business' professionalism and integrity. A case in point is a recent McDonald's ad for one of their sandwiches; the caption "I'd hit it" (slang for sex) outraged many people. And lest I be charged with comparing apples to oranges (advertising to business), the documents we write are "advertising" for our businesses and our professionalism. A document that has been written with no thought given to word choice advertises the firm's staff as being too lazy to plan and target their readers, while a well-written and organized document advertises a business that is careful and thoughtful and that takes pride in all the work it does.
While we certainly don't want to spend all day worrying about which words we should use in any given document, we do want to be especially aware of those words that may show us or our organization in a negative light and, of course, those words that portray us and our organization positively. The idea is to think critically about the words we use and make appropriate choices.