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


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So I graduated a couple months ago and had told myself throughout my program "once I finish, get a job, then I'll finish them". That time has come, and the paychecks are coming in, but I still have some reservation. I have to wear long sleeves regardless since the ones I have now peak out. I'm completely on the fence between what I really want to do (finish the rest of my arms) and the responsible side (I'm only 22...)

Obviously, there shouldn't be any rush since I have plenty of areas, but I just keep thinking how much better it'd look with a finished product so to speak. Thoughts, opinions, how you came to the decision?

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So I graduated a couple months ago and had told myself throughout my program "once I finish, get a job, then I'll finish them". That time has come, and the paychecks are coming in, but I still have some reservation. I have to wear long sleeves regardless since the ones I have now peak out. I'm completely on the fence between what I really want to do (finish the rest of my arms) and the responsible side (I'm only 22...)

Obviously, there shouldn't be any rush since I have plenty of areas, but I just keep thinking how much better it'd look with a finished product so to speak. Thoughts, opinions, how you came to the decision?

I would say you are in a similar position as myself. I work a job that does not like tattoos and I have to keep em covered up. Now while I only have my upper arm done, it went past the point of polos/short sleeve buttons-ups to be worn ever again. I also would love to fill my right arm up and have it "complete" but I also greatly enjoy rolling up my sleeves when I get hot (job can send me all around the world). While I really don't worry to much about loosing my job or anything in regards to that, I also am keeping it conservative at the moment. If you are like me you have TONS of room left elsewhere. I am about to start on finishing my left leg in a month. That will fully satisfy my urge to get tattooed for around a year, and I am getting a killer "sleeved limb" tattoo done. (The technical term for this is "squid-pant sleeve").

I say if you got any hesitation about the placement, save it for later. Like I said, having the ability to roll up your sleeves is key to me at least.

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I would say you are in a similar position as myself. I work a job that does not like tattoos and I have to keep em covered up. Now while I only have my upper arm done, it went past the point of polos/short sleeve buttons-ups to be worn ever again. I also would love to fill my right arm up and have it "complete" but I also greatly enjoy rolling up my sleeves when I get hot (job can send me all around the world). While I really don't worry to much about loosing my job or anything in regards to that, I also am keeping it conservative at the moment. If you are like me you have TONS of room left elsewhere. I am about to start on finishing my left leg in a month. That will fully satisfy my urge to get tattooed for around a year, and I am getting a killer "sleeved limb" tattoo done. (The technical term for this is "squid-pant sleeve").

I say if you got any hesitation about the placement, save it for later. Like I said, having the ability to roll up your sleeves is key to me at least.

I agree. I have a leg I'm in the process of getting filled that I can focus more on to distract from my arms at the moment. BUT every time I look at my arm, I'm like damn that'll look sweet with some more traditional pieces. I work in the operating room on certain days, which it's cold as shit and no sleeve rolling will be done. Other days, I'm glad I have that ability.

Congrats on the title, btw!

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I've worked in the machine-trades all my life, so it's never been a big thing for me. No one, or at least, very few people working in a machine shop even notice a tattoo.

That sorta changed about 20 years ago when I started selling things made in machine shops rather than actually making them, but for the most part, having tattoos gave me cred with the shop-guys, and didn't freak the office types too much. There were/are some accounts where I keep my sleeves down and my suit coat on, but not too many.

Nowadays, I see doctors, lawyers, accountants, you name it, that are sleeved or heavily tattooed. Personally I believe that most people have gotten past the irrational fear of tattooed skin. I know some jobs have poolicies against visible ink-believe it or not, McDonalds doesn't allow it! Mostly though, I think you can get away with a few inches of sleeve showing from the rolled-up cuff of a decent dress shirt.

Personally, I think it's a mistake to sleeve yourself in at an early age. But that's just me-could be it's fine for everyone else. I always looked at tattoos as a sort of milestone, or souvenir of my life. When the time came that I had enoug of them on one arm to look better connected, I had it sleeved in. Getting ready to do the other arm shortly.

Again, that's just me, but I'd say pick out or design something you really like, and get it put on. When you see or dream up something that sorta-kinda goes with it, put that on, etc.

Just seems like doing up your arms completely at, say 24 or 25 sure takes a lot of good times out of the picture, and locks you in awful young.

One more time-that's just me! My opinion isn't worth anymore than yours is.

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when i was in school, i said the same thing-once i graduate, get a job, then i'll get tattooed. that's exactly what i did, and now there's seriously no stopping me. i'm seriously so addicted, it's not even funny. i couldn't care less how my tattoos would affect my job/career. fuck it. i will say that i only plan on getting tattooed on places on my body i can cover. i wouldn't go to my hands or neck, at least not at this point. as it stands, my plan is to be covered from the collar bone down, but that's a long way from now.

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I'm happy that this is something that causes an internal conflict amongst other tattoo enthusiasts! In my current field of work my employers and colleagues couldn't care less whether or not I had sleeves right down to the backs of my hands, but I don't know how long I will be in this environment and I don't know how limiting tattoos like that could be to my progression in my career.

Would they mean I could never teach at a university? Because that is something I would like to do one day. Do they mean I could be passed over for promotion? I doubt they would in this career path but what if I'm wrong? or get a boss who just doesn't like tattoos? I don't see myself ever working in a corporate environment again and I hope to hell that I never have to work in a McDonalds style environment again (having done my time in KFC and Subway I can say from experience that those jobs really do suck, both because of the bosses and the public) I really want to get my forearms done (not sleeved, but large, elbow to wrist tattoos on each arm). In fact I never really want to work with "customers" again, so bad has my experience of the general public been in my 10 years of working life to date. Having said all that, I'm not sure I am ready to take the step of ruling myself out of employment in these places should shit hit the fan and I really need a job.

I'm a bit obsessed with tattoos at the moment and it makes me worry about making a bad decision because it feels so much like the right one right now. I look at portfolios from awesome artists and see a staggering amount of people younger than me getting their hands, necks and even faces tattooed and part of me admires their commitment and bravery whilst the other part wonders if they have truly thought this through. A lot of it seems to be a 'scene' thing either with guys like some of those in the hipster thread or perhaps more dangerously with the dotwork tattoos that incorporate quite extensive use of swastikas (I know that the true meaning of the symbol is very different from the one the Nazi's gave it, but only through my enthusiasm for tattoos - I doubt most of the general public or employers would). I just wonder how it would affect the longterm prospects of people, whether they have thought about it and whether they even care.

Obviously that's all very different from the simple step to getting sleeved...sorry, I just got on a bit of a rant. To the OP, I clearly have no answer for you as I keep asking myself exactly the same question. In the meantime, I am still a relatively blank canvas though, lots of space to work with as and when funds and inspiration allow!

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I don't see myself ever working in a corporate environment again and I hope to hell that I never have to work in a McDonalds style environment again (having done my time in KFC and Subway I can say from experience that those jobs really do suck, both because of the bosses and the public) I really want to get my forearms done (not sleeved, but large, elbow to wrist tattoos on each arm). In fact I never really want to work with "customers" again, so bad has my experience of the general public been in my 10 years of working life to date. Having said all that, I'm not sure I am ready to take the step of ruling myself out of employment in these places should shit hit the fan and I really need a job.

This is the bit that took the most consideration for me. In my current job tattoos don't matter, and in all my "ideal" (even all my "tolerable") jobs, they either don't matter or can easily be covered due to not having uniforms/not being physical jobs. But I did consider "what if I end up completely out of options and have to try to get a job in a supermarket or fast food place?". My answer to this was that there are that many unskilled positions, that even if I did end up desperate, there are call centres, independent retailers, office jobs where long sleeves are permissible...

What I'm (ineloquently) trying to say, is that the worry about "what if" is just about unfounded, due to the options of cover up or go elsewhere. I don't know what the job market is like where you are, but here it's getting more and more tolerant: I've even seen McDonalds staff with throat tattoos :P

But eh, if you're uncertain you're uncertain. It's not like you'll run out of time to do it. It's worth looking at from all angles and getting some opinions. Personally, I was slightly apprehensive but am happy about the decision so far and will hopefully remain that way.

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My personal choice has been to get the rest of my body covered before I move onto my lower arms and hands. It's partly down to wanting to be able to go into any job and partly because I like being able to wear a shirt and having no one know that I'm tattooed. I'm 25 and have my entire torso, back and upper arms covered as well as my feet and some hand sized tattoos on my lower legs. I've still got plenty of time to get what I want and the fewer questions I get asked about my tattoos the better. If it means waiting until I'm 50 before I go onto my lower arms then so be it. My advice would be to get other parts of your body tattooed before your lower arms and save the easy spots like forearms until last :)

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I agree with everyone. Ive always liked that appeal of not having people know I have tattoos unless I permit them to by what I wear. The decision will be to wait, but I think the longing to be tattooed has popped this into my head. It really has been too long :(

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I think I have to agree with Dan, finishing an arm is like earning it. Especially if you haven't been at your job awhile, it might be wise to wait and see if its OK if something peeks out once in awhile, because it probably will... However, I'm 22, too--about to finish my degree and I know if I started getting enough money for tattoos I'd be finishing my arm too... but this whole thread now makes me want to focus on my legs :D (and pay off those student loans... )

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22 is young and you have plenty of time to finish your arm/arms later in life!

Pick some other areas that can be exposed if you want them to be or covered up in needed to be!

You have no idea what you will be working at in 10 years and although it is a lot better now than when I had children.....my kids were kind of known as the kids with the "tattooed mom" lol

Slow and steady wins the race......and remember.....get the best tattoos you can afford now because the tattoos you are getting now will be hopefully 50+ years old someday!

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I don't know what the job market is like where you are, but here it's getting more and more tolerant: I've even seen McDonalds staff with throat tattoos :P

I see tattooed workers all the time but that I attribute more to a lower income area (which I have lived in for awhile now.) I used to live in Newark NJ, and now moved along the border of super-rich and blue-collar, so within a few miles you can see the differences in hiring qualifications. In Newark a ton of workers have throat, and hand tattoos. (actually it seems sometimes that was there only tattoos). As you start driving up from Newark and the area becomes more affluent this trend disappears rapidly. In the more "ritzy" areas you will see that if a worker has a tattoo they usually wear long sleeves or those basketball player sleeve things. I only figured this out by seeing some of them out of work.

I think I have to agree with Dan, finishing an arm is like earning it. Especially if you haven't been at your job awhile, it might be wise to wait and see if its OK if something peeks out once in awhile, because it probably will... However, I'm 22, too--about to finish my degree and I know if I started getting enough money for tattoos I'd be finishing my arm too... but this whole thread now makes me want to focus on my legs :D (and pay off those student loans... )

I wouldn't say you have to "earn" a sleeve but I would hesitate to say finish an arm before doing some other big stuff elsewhere.

22 is young and you have plenty of time to finish your arm/arms later in life!

Pick some other areas that can be exposed if you want them to be or covered up in needed to be!

You have no idea what you will be working at in 10 years and although it is a lot better now than when I had children.....my kids were kind of known as the kids with the "tattooed mom" lol

Slow and steady wins the race......and remember.....get the best tattoos you can afford now because the tattoos you are getting now will be hopefully 50+ years old someday!

I agree you have no idea where you will be working. A prime example is one of my mentors from when I was younger.

When he was in in his young adult years (16-23 maybe) he was a construction worker in Newark.

After going to college he became some type of accountant from 27ish to he was 40.

After getting laid off he started his own company which burned down when he turned 55.

After this he had to sales work for a company because his insurance didn't cover much and he lost a lot.

Now he runs a deli.

So you can see the career shifts that can happen. He warned me of this all time and gave real life examples.

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I kind of took the opposite approach. I know what I do for a living now may not be what I do in the future, but if I do have to do something else, I will be less than willing to take a job that required me to cover up. It's not even really about the tattoos, It's the corporate culture.

I know it limits my options, but I have always been more about quality than quantity. There is a certain lifestyle aspect to me getting tattoos along with the appreciation of the art. We all make compromises to how "punk" we are, but at least for me their has to be a cut off point.

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So you can see the career shifts that can happen. He warned me of this all time and gave real life examples.

Good point. I've gone back and forth

20's - played in rock band, tattoos were no problem

30's - sold insurance to high-dollar clients, tattoos were a problem

40's - computer developer, tattoos were no problem

50's - technical manager meeting with clients, tattoos could be a problem

I never got tattoos until I hit my 50's, but in my checkered career, sometimes it would have been an issue, sometimes not so much. I decided that I'll wear long sleeves when needed, but I'm at the end of my career. If I was 20 I don't know if I'd want to be in the position of potentially wearing long sleeves for the next 50 years.

You just don't know. The only think I wouldn't do in my 20's (knowing what I know now) is get a tattoo that couldn't be covered up.

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I'm 45. I'm having my right forearm tattooed in Oct. I dont give a fuck what anyone thinks anymore...I'm established in my carreer, and if shit changes I will just have to roll with it. I won't do my hands, but I'm ok with doing my forearms now.

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As you start driving up from Newark and the area becomes more affluent this trend disappears rapidly. In the more "ritzy" areas you will see that if a worker has a tattoo they usually wear long sleeves or those basketball player sleeve things. I only figured this out by seeing some of them out of work.

Being British I haven't had much exposure to pro-basketball so I had to look up these sleeve things to see what they were. While I think it a little sad that folks have to cover their art (unless it is outwardly and obviously offensive or inappropriate - i.e. 'hate' or pornographic tatts - I kinda love that the untattooed are buying those pantyhose style tattoo sleeves, people with actual tattoo sleeves are buying blank ones! classic weirdness of how the world works!

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Being British I haven't had much exposure to pro-basketball so I had to look up these sleeve things to see what they were. While I think it a little sad that folks have to cover their art (unless it is outwardly and obviously offensive or inappropriate - i.e. 'hate' or pornographic tatts - I kinda love that the untattooed are buying those pantyhose style tattoo sleeves, people with actual tattoo sleeves are buying blank ones! classic weirdness of how the world works!

I have never seen anyone buy those pantyhouse sleeves as anything other than a Halloween costume. However it is funny the influence that tattoo designs has on clothing and culture. You see some weekend warrior pull up on a Harley with no tattoos but the their jacket has a big tattoo style rose and their tank has a skull or some tribal design. I am always shocked at the amount of little things I notice in a day that have been influenced by tattoos or tattoo design.

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You see some weekend warrior pull up on a Harley with no tattoos but the their jacket has a big tattoo style rose and their tank has a skull or some tribal design. I am always shocked at the amount of little things I notice in a day that have been influenced by tattoos or tattoo design.

There are always wannabes that don't wanna pay the price. They like playing dress-up. :-)

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