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Thread: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

  1. #61
    Contributor heathenist's Avatar
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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    Quote Originally Posted by Pugilist View Post
    I think in office work, yeah, these days it's often not that places have "policies" per se, but rather that having visible tattoos can inform people's unfair impressions of you and hold you back. I am an academic, and universities pretty much never have dress codes or anything like that, but culturally they can be a bit stiff. It depends on the department (more progressive departments like Fine Arts or Literature or whatever are way more likely to have visibly tattooed profs), but my department is pretty conservative and I am very, very young in comparison to most of my colleagues. So I am careful to cover up while on campus, because I am already a young-looking woman and have trouble getting taken seriously as a "professor" to begin with. I tend to dress more formally than my colleagues, and I don't show any tattoos. This is absolutely one of the reasons why I am being careful about how far down my arms I go in the near future (also I am avoiding anything below the knee right now, so that I can comfortably wear dresses and skirts). Again, it's not about not being "allowed", it's about people, without realizing, forming shitty and unfair impressions of me because of them.

    On the other side of the coin, I often joke but not really that sleeves would be a great tenure gift to myself. I think a lot of the office anxiety stuff is, like Therinx said, stuff you need to worry about early in your career; once you have established yourself it is probably easier to push the envelope.
    If you don't mind answering, what department are you in that is conservative? I'm going into academics, so it's relevant to me, however, I like to think of sociology being somewhat liberal, at least politically speaking, but I sometimes wonder how culturally liberal sociology departments really are and if many would be accepting of tattoos.

  2. #62
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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    Honestly, it's both a disciplinary issue and the institution at which I'm located. I'm a historian by training but the department in which I teach is inter-disciplinary and we've got me, criminologists, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists and theologians. We're fairly progressive politically, but it's a tiny Catholic university and the culture is just kind of... stiff. Again, no one would ever tell me not to show my tattoos, but I just know it wouldn't mesh well with the culture of the institution, and I already kind of don't fit in because I look pretty young, I'm female, and I'm not Catholic, so I already have to really "prove" myself.

    I would say if you want to be an academic, the good thing is that as long as you stay off your hands and your neck, you'd be fine in job interviews because you'd usually wear a suit to those. I would never, ever have a tattoo visible somewhere like a job interview. And as a dude, you'd probably usually wear long sleeves to teach and stuff anyway. But as a woman, I often wear short sleeves and skirts and stuff in warm weather and so for now, at least, I am staying off my calves and forearms. That said, I have a female colleague that teaches at the university down the road in Jewish Studies, of all things, and has tattoos on her arms that she only sometimes covers, and has always made a point of not giving a shit, and has done super well for herself. She is kind of a hotshot in her field, even. I've even witnessed her in Jewish community meetings, with a very conservative crowd, showing them with no timidity and no one says anything. So I might be extra cautious, and we all have to make our own calls about how much these things may or may not hinder us. Hope that helps.

  3. #63
    Contributor heathenist's Avatar
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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    Quote Originally Posted by Pugilist View Post
    Honestly, it's both a disciplinary issue and the institution at which I'm located. I'm a historian by training but the department in which I teach is inter-disciplinary and we've got me, criminologists, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists and theologians. We're fairly progressive politically, but it's a tiny Catholic university and the culture is just kind of... stiff. Again, no one would ever tell me not to show my tattoos, but I just know it wouldn't mesh well with the culture of the institution, and I already kind of don't fit in because I look pretty young, I'm female, and I'm not Catholic, so I already have to really "prove" myself.

    I would say if you want to be an academic, the good thing is that as long as you stay off your hands and your neck, you'd be fine in job interviews because you'd usually wear a suit to those. I would never, ever have a tattoo visible somewhere like a job interview. And as a dude, you'd probably usually wear long sleeves to teach and stuff anyway. But as a woman, I often wear short sleeves and skirts and stuff in warm weather and so for now, at least, I am staying off my calves and forearms. That said, I have a female colleague that teaches at the university down the road in Jewish Studies, of all things, and has tattoos on her arms that she only sometimes covers, and has always made a point of not giving a shit, and has done super well for herself. She is kind of a hotshot in her field, even. I've even witnessed her in Jewish community meetings, with a very conservative crowd, showing them with no timidity and no one says anything. So I might be extra cautious, and we all have to make our own calls about how much these things may or may not hinder us. Hope that helps.
    Yeah, I may have said it earlier in the thread, but even as TA I always teach in a jacket and tie, mostly because I like wearing a jacket and tie and it gives me an excuse to do so without people thinking it's weird. But even though I teach in a jacket and tie I can't imagine I'd always be wearing something like that whenever I'm on campus or whatever.

    I don't plan on getting hands or neck done so I'm not super worried about it.

    And I do think working at a Catholic institution probably makes things like that a little more uncomfortable, whereas it may not be as big of a deal at a public university.

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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    Yep. I'd just point out that if you're beginning an academic career, you can't know where you'll end up (especially with the job market as horrible as it is!). I never would have thought that I'd end up in a place where half my colleagues are priests and nuns, but I did, and I even like it there, and in fact I took the job OVER a prospect at NYU, of all places, because this one was better (tenure-track). So we all have to make our own decisions about how cautious we are about this, but it is worth remembering that you really never know where professoring is going to land you. (And if you want to chat about this further, do feel free to PM me. I have lots of *feelings* about being an "unorthodox" sort of professor.)

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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    FINALLY. a real-ass discussion about this.. was getting tired of all the typical hate shit that was coming up on search engines; somebody with a question regarding a specific profession, then a bunch of people, "tattoos are bad/ugly"..

    let me hit you with a different perspective, though.. for those who are certain about their careers and the lines drawn for where they will and will not work.. life is crazy unpredictable.. at 25-26 id never have thought that id get the big "C" and get knocked out of the working mans game for a couple of years.. or at 28.. after having a couple (yes, just that) at lunch wih a friend, then some asshole smashing into your car, totaling it, you having to go away for a while..

    not on some victim shit, just saying, we never know what life has in store for us.. its strange and scary sometimes..

    whats also is strange is this.. i dont "dislike" any of my tattoos.. theyre not the sickest sleeves youve seen or anything.. but what i do DISLIKE the hell out of is the internal conflict that many of us are describing here.. as i too love tattoos.. i too want to do big things with my life..

    i just jumped the fuck in.. like quick.. i thought i was waisting time not getting all done up.. which is alright, i guess.. but all of my ink has meaning to me, unlike the "tattooed professionals" who are featured in articles with floral sleeves or top of the line work and whatnot.. i have a lot of skateboard art, music stuff, tribute to pops (rip), friends, places ive lived, nice scripts, cartoon characters, tons of japanese influenced stuff, etc etc.. most of what i have are things that shaped me/gave me the worldview that i have today.. but who knows where my mind will be at 10-20-30 years from now.. things are already seeming different to me at 30.. definantly was never down going into a shop and being like, "can you sleeve me out with a my favorite tv show theme?".. or, "just paint some shit on me, like do a painting"..

    i went in for an interview today, where i swore up and down that my sleeves were covered.. but the interviewer, who was talking resturants with me and trying to explain to me where one was, said something to the affect of, "youre into tattoos, its right by *shop name*".. not cool, even if he was trying to be cool (i honestly couldnt tell)..

    jobwise, its whatever.. i can get a job.. im a fairly friendly and pretty articulate- things you need to land min. wage gigs w/o experience.. but the ink doubled with an f'd up economy sometimes makes me sometimes think like- "ok, what CAN i do?".. instead of ,"ok, what do i WANT to do".. which is extremelly fucked up mindset, i know.. im just a few credits shy in an associates in english, ill go for the b.a... ill write, edit, freelance, do whatever needs to be done, basically.. i dont think ill have any problems with ink there.. but to be completely honest, i do sometimes fear that an oppurtunity may come along that i might want and wont be able to pursue.. or even much much much much much worse- having to hide the fact that i even have any ink at all, just so some ignorant shmuck will take me as a professional.. ive always been a "ill do it my way" type of dude.. or thinking i was special or someshit, and some amazing stuff would just fall into my lap.. the older you get, the more you realize that that is just not true..

    rant done.. im sorry, but also feel pretty unapologetic about rehashing this thread.. and im glad i found these boards.. will stick around.. and good luck to everyone.. screw any advice that anyone else but you will give you.. just gotta do whats in your heart..

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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    If you present yourself to others in a respectful, clear, and impressive manner...visible tattoos do not matter. I don't want to work for someone who would not include me in a job opportunity because of my ink. Mind you, I have nothing that can't be covered, but I am sleeved. I have NEVER covered my arms in any way and no one has ever said a single negative thing to me about it. I currently work in a fairly liberal company so take what I am saying with that grain of salt. If you are a smart and sharp person...ink will not matter.

    Edit: I am getting my hand done in the next couple of months and I have zero reservations about it. Like I said before..I am absolutely commited to tattoos/tattooing/ etc. Even if it means I lose a job or have trouble finding one.

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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    I'm going onto my forearms in less than a month and I feel pretty good about it. I'm 33, I'm well established in my job in a field where tattoos are not a problem, and if things change, I'll deal with it and wear long sleeves if I have to.

    The only stress I have about getting my forearms tattooed is how my mother-in-law is going to react since I don't think she knows that either me or my wife have any tattoos. Really not looking forward to that.
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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    Quote Originally Posted by Graeme View Post
    The only stress I have about getting my forearms tattooed is how my mother-in-law is going to react since I don't think she knows that either me or my wife have any tattoos. Really not looking forward to that.
    My wife doesn't have tattoos but when my 89 year old mother in law saw mine she just said, "Oh my." She asked a few questions about it, but has a very neutral attitude about them.

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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    Luckily for me I work in a profession that is pretty accepting of visible pieces. I am a chef and my biggest worry is getting a nasty burn that might hurt my investments on my arms. My right arm is pretty full with individual pieces and I just finished a sleeve on my left arm from Chris O'Donnell. One of my bosses is very enthusiastic about my artwork, really respects the art and craft & understands that collecting tattoos from artist you respect/like is the same thing as collecting pieces of art that hang on the wall. She did ask about my hands though. I told her I was holding off for now, but was uncertain about the future. My hands are a consideration for me while working is a slightly public position for a pretty public nonprofit. I have no consideration for what my family/friends think. They don't have to like it. I surround myself with people who take me & accept me for who I am and what I bring to the table.
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  10. #70
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    Re: The move from upper arm tattoos to a full sleeve..

    yeah, i dont seem to ever have many problems, because of the way in which i present myself.. ive heard it time and time again, maybe even here too.. that theres a huge difference in an inked person with a button up and nice hair cut, than one with holey jeans and a band tshirt.. i wear a lot of button ups, not even for professional reasons..

    i think my fears (yes, its fear and worrying) is irrational.. im told time and time again..

    i get old ladies always looking at my arm and thinking that its neat, which is cool, and i think its because of the type of person i am.. and i always get a kick out of it actually (i know a lot of people hate this)..

    ive never had (to my face) any sort of discrimination, that i know of..the only time i thought that i might, is when this old conservative guy was like, "hey boy, let me see that arm".. i immediatly thought, "oh crap, here we fucking go".. but the guy was like "hey, thats alright".. then rolls up his sleeves and shows me his arms with a few large-ish faded as crap peices he got in japan during ww2.. i thought he was the raddest conservative type old guy ever..

    i also dont mind talking tattoos with people.. people always ask, im happy to talk.. im also happy to listen to what people want to get, or what they have, which makes me rare.. but im all for it.. only when its brought up in a professional setting that it seems to bug me for some reason.. like "when it keeping it real goes wrong".. wu-tang!

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