In Defense of the Word Suck

Last week a client asked that I stop using the word “suck” because some of their employees found it offensive. I was shocked. I use the word in expression such as “Profit sucking” Life sucking” Life suckers” “I sucked at sales” (and I did) or “Time sucking”

My response to them was:

I appreciate the feedback and am sorry that some of your attendees were bothered. It’s true that I do use strong blunt language in my presentations to make a point and I am careful never to cross the line with sexual, curse or religious swear words because they are unprofessional and gross. My rule is that I have to be cleaner than what you can see on TV these days!

The term “life sucker” is a trademark phrase and mantra of mine, just as is the “fine line between persistence and stalking”. I am well known for the phrase “be a life giver not a life sucker” in my work and I stand by that phrase 100%. We have over 40 companies registered for this call and it would be inconsistent to my brand and disappointing to them if I changed any of my trademark phrases to be different than how I usually communicate. In fact my “plain spoken and even blunt” sales advice is one of the things our clients value most!

I am all for making customers happy. I am just not in the businesses of censoring my style or material because of one complaint in 7 years.

Of course what I really wanted to say was “suck it up!” After watching Jarhead on TV this weekend and noting that none of the language was censored – and face it, this is a story about the Marines in the Gulf War, the language is RAW. I got to thinking. What the heck is wrong with the word suck? It’s so commonly used by me, and my generation (X) to me that it never occurred to me some might take offence. So, I did some research and found this great piece in defense of the work suck.

Be yourself and prosper!