My reply to Ross Clennentt’s blog about our use of the word……. ‘Fuck’

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Today I was sent an e-mail about this blog by Ross Clennentt who only days ago I had included in my list as one of the top 50 influential people in the Australasian recruitment industry.

In his blog he goes on to say;

“that whoever wrote the Vend VP of Global Marketing job ad; I think you’ve overstepped the mark. Your use of the F word is not contextually appropriate. It just comes across as look-at-me showmanship.”

It was a well written blog and the guy (Ross) can obviously write.

However, I didn’t agree.  Anyone that knows me knows I am of the ‘EQ recruitment’ movement. I believe in searching for people who feel like they truly fit into your culture and I believe doing great work while truly being themselves is what people actually want in these modern days. Ross suggests on his about me page that he stopped recruiting in 2003 and so I give him the benefit of the doubt that he has not experienced the EQ movement and how important culture is in modern business.

So to Ross, his readers, his commenters and to my readers I write this open reply.

Dear Ross,

I work for Vend in the Talent team and so I thought I would pass on our reasons at Vend for using the word ‘fuck

Oops, I did it again.

In our recent exchange on twitter I suggested you did not get it.

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To which you replied by saying that “you’re absolutely right; I don’t ‘get it’ but keen to be enlightened.”

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I am not sure if you will be enlightened, though here are our reasons for using the ‘F word’ at Vend and in our ads.

Firstly: We are encouraged to bring our real personalities to work and not to leave them at the door. This means that we have a lot of different people who work at Vend, people from all over the world, all kinds of religions – and Vend welcomes and supports everyone including people who drop an F bomb.

If someone is offended by something at Vend they can (and do) speak up without being afraid of any consequences. But we really push to be true to ourselves in the market when we attract talent and we are extremely proud of our culture and the work we do. So we work hard to maintain what makes us unique as a business and that means letting people drop an ‘F word’ if they need/want to. It is not uncommon to hear people swearing at Vend every day. Considering one of our supporting values is “Just fucking do it” I would be highly surprised not hearing an ‘F word’ every day.

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Secondly: We work in a new tech start-up, much like Atlassian who you also wrote a blog about. In the startup world the people whom are attracted to and often found working in these companies are from what the kids would call the “New school” of business and don’t feel they need to hide nor forgo their complete vocab just because they are at work.

Finally: I agree with ‘Anonymous’ on your comments that asked, “Was this blog post written in 1952?”  Yes this is 2015 and regardless if you like it or not, Fuck is being used more than ever in business by all generations.  Did you know that the words Bloody and bugger were the two most prevalent and offensive swear words in the 18th and 19th centuries. We now use those particular words (especially in Australia) all the time. Things change and the word fuck is as I see it a great word to depict passion.

Well, we at Vend prefer to use it in a passionate and uplifting way to which is different than you have in your previous blogs.

So why did we at Vend use this in our VP of Global Marketing ad?

(p.s thanks for marketing the ad)

https://jobs.lever.co/vend/f6266da5-4ae2-4ea2-8114-213f3c3a040f

Well, we like to write our ads to address peoples IQ and EQ.

While the intent isn’t to offend (because we’re far too nice for that), if somebody is offended by the word Fuck then there’s a chance they may not enjoy working at Vend. As for you suggesting that our use of the word is:

Not clever.

Not funny.

Not appropriate.

Not necessary.

I will tell you, the very reason we use the word is to ‘detract’ people who are offended by it, so I believe this makes the ad quite clever, very funny, appropriate for Vend and ABSOLUTELY necessary.

By giving readers a good peek through the windows it allows them the opportunity to opt out if they choose. We have done this only a few times over the years and when we do the feedback is really positive.

Some of this weeks feedback:

“Embrace it! Vend is super proud of its culture and if it needs the ‘f’ word to reinforce how awesome it is then go for it! Vend is challenging the status quo and I love it.” 

“I just had to say that I loved your VP Global Marketing search profile.. well done!”  (from a Media Specialist at NASA)

“Refreshing”

Why wouldn’t we keep doing this? To date we’ve had one complaint that’s come to us direct and after responding to this feedback openly we received a great response in return. Not one of agreeance but certainly acceptance.

So hey, we won’t all agree in life, but I hope I have ‘enlightened’ you as to why we chose to write the word ‘fuck‘ on our own ads.

I will conclude by addressing your final remark on your blog.

“So, to whoever wrote the Vend VP of Global Marketing job ad; I think you’ve overstepped the mark. Your use of the F word is not contextually appropriate. It just comes across as look-at-me showmanship.”

This is your view and I respect it. (Not agree with it.)

I hope that at your place of work, you and your colleagues and or staff are allowed to ‘say what you want’ and ‘bring your true personality through the door.’

At our workplace this is completely appropriate and by no-means is intended for showmanship, next time you come to New Zealand, come in to our digs and have a beer and say hello. I bet you mutter the words – “Actually, this must be a ‘fucking’ great place to work.

Just so you know 100% of Vend employees are proud to work at Vend and we swear all the time. You can check out how great our culture is here and you will note that in all the pictures nobody has soap in their mouth.

Thanks for reading.

You pal,

Troy