23 posts in this topic

What is your opinion on tattoos and the work place?

Are there certain careers where the visibility of a tattoo should matter or should it never matter?

What are your thoughts around tattoos and professionalism? Do they go hand in hand? Or is it the performance of the individual that should be the bottom line?

What has been your experience around tattoos and the work place? What is the location, city, that this experience has taken place?

Edited by Lochlan

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I've always thought tattoos shouldn't matter and a person's work should be the only focus at any job, but alas, we all know that is not how it is most of the time. I think being heavily tattooed is even more of an issue for women in the work place, so I always cover up completely when interviewing. For me that means long sleeves and pants and I may even go a bit "over dressed" when making the first impression. My background is in the software industry (SF Bay Area) and I was always the token "alternative" chick at work. In the late 90's I went back to school to study web design and thought when I started working in that field my tattoos would not be a big deal because web design was artistic and creative and well... I had a whole fantasy going in my head. The reality was I was still working in corporate America with programmers and managers and still ended up the token tattooed chick. After being hired I generally just tried to follow the dress code of the place I worked, whether it was business casual or jeans and t-shirts, and I've always found that once people get to know me and my work, they stop focusing on the tattoos and get over it. Now I'm a stay at home mom and under scrutiny at the playground instead of the water cooler. The experience is the same... a little judgment and apprehension at first, until people realize I am not what they judged me to be. I will say that I have yet to tattoo the tops of my hands, fingers or neck with the idea of returning to work someday. I live in a small town now and in this economy I don't want to give anyone a reason not to hire me. Don't get me wrong, I love tattoos on the neck and hands (when done well), and when I win the lottery that will be the first thing I do!

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You're sooooo alternative!!!! Haha.

I hear what you mean about the whole playground thing. I forget I have tattoos until somebody brings it up.

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I work in the software industry as well. When I was at a start-up, it didn't matter at all that I was tattooed. Now that I am a more formal, publicly traded company, things are a bit different. I work in creative, but still get some hairy eyeballs from people in marketing or finance every now and then. My boss told me it should be fine for me to get my neck done, but I really feel that I would just be shooting myself in the foot.

I don't think that being tattooed should matter at all in the workplace, but that just is not the way of the world (yet). If you want to be tattooed, then you should just take for granted that (depending on your career) you may have to cover up at work.

As far as the playground goes...I know exactly what you mean. Recently, I have been taking my daughter to the playground every day (weather permitting). Most of the parents there tend to steer clear of me. There are a couple that are friendly and will return a hello, but for the most part I feel like I am surrounded by the Stepford Wives. It doesn't seem to matter that I am just there to play with my kiddo, like everyone else.

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I have had some bosses ask me to be mindful and keep covered if a client comes in-- but the shock and awe around the work place seems to fade pretty quickly. Its become such a non issue for me at my current position, oddly enough the most corporate job ive held to date, that ive gone ahead and had my fingers done... in light pink. Although I feel unfairly pressured to prove myself, Its not like i didnt expect some judgement before i choose to get tattooed & after awhile i think my intellect and ability speaks for itself.

I understand assumptions and some stereo-types, but I am not ok with blatant discrimination... and Ive experienced that as well a few years ago when I started working for a real estate co that hired me because my "look" was "cool" and could help the firm in everyday dealings with the younger tenants (considering 90% of their renters are students at the local University). Of course during the interview, and when I was at my desk, I kept it professional and had on long sleeves-- so maybe the look they were referring to was more subtle.

Anyway, after 3 months of being an employee everything was going so well that they offered me an apartment and free rent! Awesome! My only concern at the office was the accountant (and woman that i assisted) found it necessary 2-3 times a week to call meetings concerning our eternal souls and our personal savior Jesus Christ.

The same week that we heard about the impending apocalypse and Noah and his ark, a maintenance guy saw me walking down the street after work in a tank top and the next day demanded to see my sweet tats. Less than an hour later the holy roller requested a viewing. The next day I was let go.

Her reasoning was that we had to work together and she didnt think we were vibing well.

Pft.

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Shit if I go to the bank and the teller has tattoos on their hands, I don't want to hand over my money. People with tattoos are scumbags. I know this firsthand.

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Shit if I go to the bank and the teller has tattoos on their hands, I don't want to hand over my money. People with tattoos are scumbags. I know this firsthand.

But what if they have a gumby on their hand? Instant deposit!

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If it was a gumby on their hand it would for sure be an instant deposit.

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I hope you sued them for wrongful termination and harassment based on your religious beliefs

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The same week that we heard about the impending apocalypse and Noah and his ark, a maintenance guy saw me walking down the street after work in a tank top and the next day demanded to see my sweet tats. Less than an hour later the holy roller requested a viewing. The next day I was let go.

Her reasoning was that we had to work together and she didnt think we were vibing well.

Pft.

That sounds to me like a big fat law suit waiting to happen! Which brings up an interesting question... are we (tattooed folks) protected legally against discrimination? I wonder...

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You know what's funny, though? i was at Target a couple of years ago and one of the employees had tribal eyebrows tattooed on his face, and i thought "What the fuck??? I don't wanna look at that when I'm at Target." hahaha...

Obviously, i love tattoos, but, c'mon...

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Thanks for the above link and previous content on tattoos and discrimination. Here's a link to the same ruling but different article we, LST, posted back in early September in the "WTF in the News"

First Amendment and Tattoos

I think the one above breaks it down way more.

Thanks again.

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Just got this sent to me and thought it was a cool double photo that fit this thread well.

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Quote Originally Posted by Erica View Post

The same week that we heard about the impending apocalypse and Noah and his ark, a maintenance guy saw me walking down the street after work in a tank top and the next day demanded to see my sweet tats. Less than an hour later the holy roller requested a viewing. The next day I was let go.

Her reasoning was that we had to work together and she didnt think we were vibing well.

Pft.

That sounds to me like a big fat law suit waiting to happen! Which brings up an interesting question... are we (tattooed folks) protected legally against discrimination? I wonder...

I am pretty sure we are....but it also depends where do you work and what policies they have in place.

If you can prove that they let you go because your tattoos and you were in compliance with their dress code and tattoo policies(if any in place)...you should have a solid case....and may don't need to work anymore ...

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Just got this sent to me and thought it was a cool double photo that fit this thread well.

the director of the museum didn't know of my tattoos until recently, when she was talking to another colleague about my work and said something along the lines of "but i don't know why Robin is interested in tattoos, it's not like she has any." the other colleague was like "ummm, yes she does." it's not a secret, but i tried to keep them cover up because they get distracting, or i get questions about if i believe in jesus.

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That's Dr. Dave! He works on the Lower East Side in NYC.. he does free gang tattoo removal and I'm pretty sure he recently (2009?) opened a facility for folks with no or little insurance coverage. http://www.davidjoresmd.org/

As far as tattoos and jobs, I've been lucky enough to never really need to go out of my way to cover up but I'm glad I can wear long sleeves or suit and tie and no one's any the wiser. I was just in court trying to get back my security deposit and all I could think was, "Man, this is one time I am so glad I don't have any hand/neck tattoos."

You can't control others' split second judgments. And when that person is a judge (ok, an arbitrator in this case) it's probably in your best interest to look like a shiny, happy, contributing member of society.

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You know what's funny, though? i was at Target a couple of years ago and one of the employees had tribal eyebrows tattooed on his face, and i thought "What the fuck??? I don't wanna look at that when I'm at Target." hahaha...

Obviously, i love tattoos, but, c'mon...

That reminds me of a time I was in a grocery store buying toilet paper or something, and after the bagging dude saw that I had tattoos, he decided to show me his tongue that he had split down the middle so it looked like a lizard tongue or whatever. I almost barfed.

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One of the guys I used to work with worked at a really sketchy shop, so he used to keep his tubes completely separate from anyone elses in the shop. He would take all of his dirty tubes to his dentist, and he would autoclave them for him every week, and he would get tattooed in return. He collected full sleeves from him, and many of his assistants had visible tattoos as well. In Milwaukee, its pretty common to see people with hand tattoos and neck tattoos.

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A friend posted this on his FB page and thought it was fitting. Tattoo artists ideas on tattoos in the workplace.

Guest Blog: Ian White – Tattoo Acceptance In The Workplace : TattooSnob.com

By the way I am completely new to the world of blogging and I wonder if it is a faux pas to post on one blog a piece from another? If so, my apologies but the piece seemed thought provoking and fitting to the thread. Enjoy!

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A friend posted this on his FB page and thought it was fitting. Tattoo artists ideas on tattoos in the workplace.

Guest Blog: Ian White – Tattoo Acceptance In The Workplace : TattooSnob.com

By the way I am completely new to the world of blogging and I wonder if it is a faux pas to post on one blog a piece from another? If so, my apologies but the piece seemed thought provoking and fitting to the thread. Enjoy!

Thanks Caitlin, here's the blog for those who wish not to visit an outside link:

Guest Blog: Ian White – Tattoo Acceptance In The Workplace

Posted by Guest Blogger on December 14th, 2010

–Guest blog by Ian White

I keep getting this Facebook page suggested to me, “Tattoo Acceptance In The Workplace.” I can’t bring myself to “like” it because I don’t feel that visible tattoos are something that should be accepted in a workplace; it shouldn’t be expected for a business to accept your tattoos. I want to emphasize this is just my opinion, based on my life experiences. For the most part I am talking about discrimination against visible tattoos. I don’t feel that any business should be able to tell you where you can or can’t have non-visible tattoos.

When I see a 20 year old with his neck tattooed I wonder, “Where does that kid work?” I hear time and time again how some girl is upset because she has to wear a full collar shirt at her job because her “boss sucks” and doesn’t like her new collar-rocker. Or some guy can only get a factory job because he wanted to be the tough kid and got his hands tattooed as his first tattoo (not that there’s anything wrong with factory work).

I don’t feel like anyone is being discriminated against when they can’t get a job or are asked to cover their tattoos at a job. We do this to ourselves–this is not something we couldn’t help. Tattoos are obviously permanent and that is something the younger generations that are now getting tattooed just don’t comprehend. I saw a guy at a show that couldn’t have been more than 20–just as tattooed as I am at 33 years old. He got his uniform put on, he got his cool points all at once. Now when the other guys that thought a little about their ink, and got less visible tattoos at first, get good jobs, and then decide where is ok to be tattooed, they have the option. They are not confined by their young decisions.

Tattoos are a wonderful form of personal expression. And it is great that after 18 years of age we can adorn ourselves however we want with them. But we can’t expect a business to conform to us for our decisions of decoration. You are taking away a business owner’s rights by demanding they allow you to look however you want. Abercrombie hires models, Hot Topic hires tattooed folks. Don’t be bummed if one won’t hire the other. It is definitely great that tattoos are getting more accepted in society. And it definitely stinks when a business owner puts their personal opinions on tattoos as appearance policy, and not as a decision of business image. Especially when it is a job that an employee doesn’t encounter the customer. At the same time, it is their right as the owner. We are making leaps and bounds as tattooed people, no longer just sailors and/or criminals. It is up to us, as the people wearing the tattoos, to continue to improve the public image on the tattooed. I see it as two ways to start. One being to just act like a civilized human being.

That’s really not that hard. Here’s the hard part: actually get good tattoos. That’s hard these days with so many scratchers out there, but do your research (like this website), find reputable shops, pay what they are worth and show your great art with pride. But when you have that amazing next tattoo that you just had to have done by your buddy, don’t be bummed when you can’t do the job you really want, because of their tattoo policies.

Tattoos are amazing. I wanted to do them since I was a kid and have wanted to be covered in them just as long. I am literally living my dream. When I was too scared to show my art to a shop to get an apprenticeship, I got my hands tattooed. In my mind, then I HAD to become a tattoo artist. There are lots of places that are very accepting of tattoos and that number continues to grow. As fans of this art, this craft, this lifestyle, we have to take responsibility for the choices we make take the plunge into the world of living art.

I’m sure this article will offend as many inspires. Either way, I hope you got something from it.

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