Friday, June 24, 2011

Tattoos and Interviews


Top: Anthropologie.... Vest: All Saints....  Skirt: Sunhee Moon....  
Bracelet: Leslie Danzis....  Sandals: Camper

Yesterday Sal and I got a great reader question, and the answer I put together seemed like good material to develop into a post. Here's the question:
I have an ankle tattoo and really like dresses and skirts, but am starting the interview process again and am feeling wary of my tattoo showing in my interview outfits. (I feel like my pants outfits are so boring, and I don't have an actual suit for interviews)
I'm interviewing for admin type of jobs. I go back and forth with this, I feel that my tattoos are part of me and people shouldn't be concerned with them, but then I remember that there are a lot of very conservative people out there. I also don't know the dress code rules at the jobs I'm applying for and if they have a "No visible tattoos" policy, I would offend them right off the bat. (although, I probably wouldn't want to work for a company like that)

As you're all well aware, I have some pretty dramatic body art that I display without reserve at work. Of course, I work in a technical job for a company that is well-known for its laid back culture, in a very tolerant and diverse region of the country. But interviews are always a little trickier than the job itself, regardless of the job you're applying for, so it's important to consider a few different factors when determining whether it's acceptable or desirable to show one's ink during the interview process.

Geographical Region 
Obviously in the super laid back San Francisco Bay Area it generally wouldn't be a problem to show a tattoo for any but the most conservative of industries, such as law and finance. Which brings us to...

The Industry You're Applying To
Again, law and finance are two where visible ink or piercings are likely to be a big no-no. Academia is probably a gray area, and may vary department to department. Tech (and biotech) companies, tend to be more relaxed and in general I'd say that showing a tattoo wouldn't be any big deal, but that also depends on what department you're applying into. The technical departments are more tolerant, while marketing, legal and sales are more conservative.

Company Size and Age
Just like many people, companies tend to get more conservative the older they get. My theory is that a small, young company needs people who operate outside the norm; they're looking for innovators who may carry over their innovative spirit into their personal appearance. As a company ages and achieves success, it wants to maintain the status quo and won't be as drawn to the rebellious entrepreneur types anymore. In general the larger a company is, the more conservative it tends to be as well, for the same sort of reasons. In biotech for instance, I'd dress more creatively and probably intentionally show my tattoos if I were interviewing for a start-up company, whereas I'd go with more traditional dress and possibly cover at least most of my tattoos for a big company like Johnson & Johnson or Merck.

How Strongly You Feel About Your Ink
Personally, I'd never want to work for a company that would have an issue with my tattoos, but take this point with a HUGE grain of salt, because I've also never been unemployed for any great length of time and thus have been able to stick to my guns. Under extreme circumstances I might throw my values to the wind and cover up for the sake of getting a job. Ideally though, I prefer to let people see what they're getting, ink and all, so I make sure to show at least one of my tattoos when I interview. Another point to consider is whether you'll be required to go in for several interviews; in that case you might want to start out covering all of your tattoos, and if you get called back you can ease off little by little and allow some ink to show. That way you don't hurt your chances right off the bat, but you can still remain true to yourself too.

Size, Image, and Placement of Your Tattoos
A small tattoo placed in an inconspicuous area is going to be a lot easier to get away with than a larger tattoo in a spot that people aren't traditionally used to seeing one. For instance, I'm well aware that the tattoos on my upper arms are probably too much for most interviews. Not only are they in a spot that's not often seen on women, they also depict  Drinky Crow swilling booze while sailing and subsequently sinking his boat. Not exactly corporate material. Those I would cover up for an interview; the others, most likely not.

Sal has also written about interviews as well: 
Corporette has a decidedly different take on ink at the office, which is not surprising given their focus on the conservative corporate environment. But it's worth taking a look at these: 

Finally, let's hear from you! I'd like to get a sense of how tattoos are handled in different types of industries. Whether you have a tattoo or not, please tell us: what region, industry, and job type you're in; a little about the size, age, culture of your employer; whether you or others you work with show tattoos at work; and finally, if you do have tattoos, did you show them during your interview?

27 comments:

Mia said...

I work at a university in the San Joaquin Valley of California, in the Development department--the amount of lenience for "alternative" looks seems, as you said, to vary by department. For instance, our current VP is a very conservative person, and has very particular ideas about what is and is not acceptable in the workplace.

I do not have any visible tattoos, but my previous co-worker who manned the front desk of the building with me had one on her foot and one on her upper arm, which could partially be seen if she wore short sleeves. She also had a tongue piercing and an industrial piercing in her ear. She was let go recently, for other reasons, but I do think that she was considered more unprofessional because of her body mods.

Another girl in the building has visible tattoos on her wrists and arms, but she works on the third floor where she is rarely seen by anybody other than her coworkers. We also share our building with employees of Student Life, and there are several ladies with extensive or visible tattoo work; their policy seems to be more lenient on body mods and personal style.

I don't have any tattoos myself, but a couple of months ago I asked my boss whether it would be acceptable for me to dye my hair unnatural colors, as I couldn't find any information in the employee handbook about that. She consulted with the VP and eventually told me yes, that would be alright. I went ahead and dyed my hair bright pink (and I did mention this to her when I asked, that I would be interested in going blue or pink), and about two weeks into it, she called me up to her office and told me that my bright hair was causing the VP distress and that I would either have to dye over it or be moved somewhere that potentially offended prospects would not be able to see me. I have to give her some credit for being very apologetic; it was not her choice to ask me to do this--she told me she rather liked it--but that the VP thought I was misrepresenting our university by presenting myself in this way.

So I dyed over it with brown and now my hair is an odd sort of burgundy, which seems to be acceptable for now. The VP has also been busy since then writing a policy for the department that will be much stricter about hair color and visible tattoos and piercings. This saddens me; if I didn't like my other coworkers so much and if it hadn't taken me 6 months to find any job in my town in the first place, I would consider leaving to find a workplace that doesn't get so het up about this sort of thing.

(This became quite long, but I tried to be thorough!)

crisitunity said...

I am a paralegal and I work on the east coast. The firm I work for is large for our area and very well-respected. I work with clients frequently and other attorneys sometimes as well. I am always required to dress professionally.

I got my tattoo on the inside of my arm, close to the wrist, in June 2009. I interviewed for jobs in the fall of that year and then again in the early spring of the following year. I wore long sleeves on all my interviews, but I made sure to tell my interviewers about the visibility of the tattoo and pull up my sleeve to show it to them in each interview, so they knew exactly what they were getting. All of them shook their heads and said "Who cares?"

The tattoo is pretty (IMHO), a word in stylized Sanskrit, and I think that has something to do with it. It doesn't jump up and shout about its existence, it's just there. But still - I have had much more flippant reactions from conservative quarters than I expected.

Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous said...

I work in a museum in the west, and tattoos are a grey area. On the one hand, most museum professionals are highly creative and intelligent, and I think that lends itself to expression both on and off the body. On the other hand, I'm in a conservative state and in a profession with a conservative history.

I don't have any tattoos, but I suspect that if I did I would chose to keep them covered for the interview process. I say that for my field only because most interview panels I've been on or sat in front of have had a substantial "old school" percentage. However, many of my colleagues have tattoos and no one seems to care that much.

dcresider said...

I work for the Fed Govt (not telling which branch :) in Washington, DC so you can only imagine how conservative it is here amongst the black suit wearing masses. 75% of the age range is under 30 years with mid manaement 45 and up. I wouldn't show my tattoo if I had an interview but once hired, I would wait to see what the dress code was like and show off the tattoo in a more casual scene outside of work.

I do have a tattoo but it's on my left shoulder and pretty well hidden. Heck, my mom doesn't even know about it because it's my little secret from my teenager days. And I got away with her not finding out :)

WendyB said...

To think that I worked in places where red lipstick was controversial!

Anonymous said...

When I interviewed for my current part-time position in a very small non-profit I didn't even think about my tattoo (it was a 50th birthday present to myself) but I guess it must have been covered. I think I wore a suit.
After I started, the HR manager approached me and told me I needed to cover it as the Agency Director felt it looked "unprofessional" especially as I was on the front desk. Ummm, this was coming from someone in yoga pants, a t shirt and sock with some kind of thong shoes, WTF? Several other people in the agency have massive amounts of very visible tattoos, but I have to cover my one tattoo. Admittedly it is big and on my shoulder just under my collarbone, but it's nothing offensive or scary (it's a swallow). Also, approximately 98% of our clientele has tattoos. I usually wear a scarf to cover it, but I don't think they would fire me over it. We will see what happens over the summer.
I also have plans for several more, one on the inside of my wrist.

Allison said...

I work for a small non-profit where creativity is the name of the game! I have 2 tattoos, one visible and one not, and they've never been an issue. Neither was the piercing I had in my nose for a few years. In my student days, when I worked in a deli, all tats and piercings had to be covered.

The Nightmare Child said...

I'm in the security field...and tats are pretty much frowned on (I have almost full sleeves). Ironically, all of the clients I ever worked for WANTED me to display them because they said they made me look more intimidating.

melanie said...

I work in a hospital in rural northern CA. I have a small tattoo on my ankle that is usually covered, because even when I wear skirts I am usually also wearing tights. However, despite being a Catholic organization, there are many many employees with very visible small and large tattoo(s). I think it is part of being in such a rural area, where it is hard to find good employees & also the fact that a large proportion of the population here is tattooed or pierced (though, come to think of it, I haven't seen a lot of visible piercings, s maybe that's an issue). I have, in the past, kept my tattoo covered, but that was in other parts of the country and in previous years.

Anonymous said...

I work as an office manager in a school site for the county education office in central California. Officially, tattoos are to be covered at work, and visible body piercings other than earrings (such as eyebrow, lip or tongue) have to be removed and covered with a bandaid. Day-to-day, the tattoo thing isn't much of an issue, as it gets HOT here & no one can be expected to wear long sleeves or full leg coverings through the summer. The body piercings thing is enforced.

I agree with the other commenters - cover them up for interviews if you're concerned, but be up front at the end of the interview, if it's a place you're interested in working, to see what their policy is & if yours would be an issue. Even if yours aren't covered for the interview, I'd ask the questions to be sure they aren't just assuming you'll cover them up if hired.

valleycat1

Tina said...

I am going to deviate from the comments I am reading here. I am pretty liberal and work in higher education. I have talked to a number of people and it seems that the consensus is that tattoos make a person look "dirty". Since tattoos are so commonplace now, I think the argument that people who have them are creative and think outside the box is a moot point. It now seems more like an exercise in conformity. A lot of us get irritated as well when we hear a student complain about how they don't have money for textbooks yet they afford get tats. I also can't make sense of the argument that "if a place doesn't accept me for my tattoos, then I would not want to work there". That is insane. It is an employers' market out there. Maybe you stood your ground, but are your bills going to get paid???

I just wanted to present a different viewpoint. I love this blog!

Rebecca said...

I'm in HR for a very large company, and I definitely think it is better to air on the more conservative side when dressing for an interview. Obviously some tattoos and piercings can't easily be covered, but I think that a conservative suit is probably the approach for administrative jobs like the reader is looking for.

Audi said...

Tina: I find the characterization of people with tattoos as 'dirty' to be incredibly offensive; obviously people are entitled to their opinions but that seems a particularly small-minded opinion to take, and certainly not one I'd describe as liberal (though you didn't specify whether it's you who thinks that way or just your co-workers). It's like saying all women who wear short skirts look like sluts. Obviously some tattoos are more tasteful than others, and some are poorly executed and look like utter crap, but even that doesn't really say anything about the individual other than they've got a shitty-looking tattoo. You'd be surprised at the stories behind a lot of the ink that's out there.

That said, I certainly did not mean to imply that all people who have tattoos are creative, etc. Not at all. It's just that hyper-creative, educated professionals sometimes also extend that creativity to body modification, and start-up companies are generally more willing to accept that than larger ones are. I'm thinking about tech jobs in particular. And sure, tattoos are fairly commonplace now, but I think it's a stretch to call getting one conformity. There's still quite a bit of bias against them, as evidenced in some of the other comments here.

As for not wanting to work somewhere that makes you cover your tattoos, I'd say that for me it's a philosophical consideration more than being passionate about showing my tattoos per se. It isn't the ink itself that's important, it's the strict corporate environment that would dictate a strict dress code of ANY kind that doesn't appeal to me. The dress code is really more of a litmus test for what the corporate culture is like. And from a purely practical standpoint, having to cover all of my tattoos would mean long sleeves, tights or pants, and a high neckline EVERY DAY. That's just plain uncomfortable, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't be able to wear what I wanted (which is actually a LOT more important to me than displaying the tattoos). But you're absolutely right; it's currently an employer's market and if I were desperate enough for a job I might suck it up and cover them -- at least until I could find a job that fit my personality better. Then I'd be out of there, and the company would lose a trained, high performing employee because they were too conservative to deal with a little body art. Not exactly a great business strategy if you ask me, but hey, companies aren't democracies, and each one is free to make their own policies.

ilegirl said...

I work for a company that might be characterized as 'California conservative' - not overly strict in a lot of ways but also not liberal by any stretch. I have a small tattoo on my back shoulder so it's rarely on display, but on very hot days I've worn sleeveless blouses and know that a portion of it is visible. No one says a word. There are several other employees which have much more extensive, visible tattoos (some of which are sadly ill-executed by the way) and none have been an issue. And one of our VPs has a visible ankle tattoo, a 50th birthday present to herself.

Visible piercings (with the exception of earlobes), however, are forbidden in the company's written dress code.

I have puzzled over this piercings ban, particularly in light of the tacit acceptance of tattoos. I personally don't find most facial piercings very attractive, but it seems like a workplace policy is taking the personal preference of a CEO or executive management committee rather overboard; said another way, just because I don't choose the piercing myself doesn't mean no one with such a piercing is allowed in my presence.

By the way, my company has the strangest dress code! We are neither law nor finance, and denim of any color, and sneakers, are forbidden.

I'll be looking to move on in the next year or two, and if I have the choice I would select a company with liberal dress code over this type of conservative company (all other things being equal).

Tina said...

Hi Audi--
Let me explain where I am coming from. I work at a community college. We deal with a lot of students who come from families where an academic education is not emphasized as being important. Many of our students are also low income and single parents. I have students in my class that are 18-20years of age that have multiple children. Many are single parent moms that are trying to make it on their own. For a lot of these young women, they feel that their only option is to get an associates (2 year degree) and work as some form of medical assistant. (In Houston, there is always a need for any type of medical assistant--but it is now becoming more and more competitive). We have linkages with many of the hospitals and stay in close contact with them. Many of the hospital representatives have come out and have told us that they have difficulty hiring students with tattoos because the perception is that they appear "dirty" or "unsanitary" (not my words!!).
Our students, in a sense, have to conform if they want to be employed. They are still very young and some are still quite immature. It is frustrating when they spend hundreds of dollars on tattoos and they state that they do not have the money to buy textbooks that will allow them to be successful in their classes. Working with high risk students is most challenging because they have to overcome so many obstacles. All we want is to give them the tools that will allow them to take care of their families. It does suck that these perceptions can hinder their employment.


I also work in a prison part time. Many of the inmates tell me that since they have so many strikes against them, they wish that they could get their tattoos removed so they would at least have a fighting chance. Again, they stress that the perception that others have about them is what hurts them.

I hope I was able to clarify my position. I did not mean to offend--I just wanted you to see that unfortunately not everyone can use tattoos as a form of self expression without dealing with some negative consequences.

Carmen said...

I have two relatively small, yet visible tattoos. In an interview I would strive to cover the ankle tat but would let a bit of the wrist tat show. Unless I really needed the job, in which case I would cover them both up and find out the policy if I got hired.

I live in the midwest where professionals wouldn't typically get tattoos, but I work at a community college which means I have a bit more leeway. Basically the students usually think it's cool that an old lady (early 30's) with kids is inked but their parents have given some looks. MOST coworkers are cool but most administrators give them a second glance when they see them. SOME administrators look at my tattoos every time they see me and I do worry that it bugs them. Oldest child syndrome. I know it shouldn't matter, but I'm aware that I'm a peon and what the big guys want is really what matters in the grand scheme of things.

Not sure if that helps the discussion but just adding to the bullet points:)

Audi said...

Tina: I'm so glad you came back and added to the discussion! I was sure there was more to your story than what was apparent from your initial comment (admittedly, I baited you a little with the 'offensive' comment because I figured you weren't trying to say that you considered ME to look dirty, and I wanted you to clarify). :-)

I have the utmost respect for what you're trying to do with your at-risk students, and it's obvious that the sort of ink they're getting is holding them back from the kind of success you want for them. But try to separate the tattoo from the individual; young people make dumb mistakes of all sorts, and you may very well have plenty of students who spend their book money on far stupider things which simply aren't as apparent to you and your fellow faculty. There may also be cases of people getting tattoos to memorialize a lost loved one, or that their tattoo artist friend gave them as payment in return for some other favor -- in short, it's very hard to say what someone's story is behind the ink. Sadly, the bad grade they get is in many ways more permanent than the tattoo, but there's only so much you can do to force legal adults to be responsible for their own futures.

I went to community college for my first 2 years, and I'm heartily glad for the experience. The teachers I had there were some of the best of my academic career, mainly because they had a passion for teaching rather than getting published. So keep on keeping on; you're getting through to some of these students and you're making a difference. You'll lose some, but you'll win some too. The best you can do is to try to persuade employers to cut these kids a little slack. And hey, if they end up making decent money there's always laser removal.

Celynne said...

I have a few tattoos, one of which happens to be a black widow spider on my outside upper arm. I've worked in the government for several years now and I've found that hiding all tattoos is definitely a good idea. Most of the people doing the hiring tend to be older and more conservative. I try not to dress too flamboyantly on the days my tattoos show, but I almost don't think about the flowers on my inner arm, because everybody who sees them just says how pretty they are. The only time I've ever been hassled was by one manager who wanted me to hide them all the time, and another woman who told me I shouldn't wear any clothing that clashing with my tattoos...

Jacky said...

I've had one tattoo on forearm near the elbow for about a year and a half now. Last summer, I had an internship at Goldman Sachs in Tokyo. I covered the tattoo for all of my interviews and had it covered for most of the time I was actually working as well. At some point, I asked my mentor if I could show it when I was at my desk (I didn't ask my manager because he was in Korea at the time), and he ended up going to my manager's manager, who went to HR, and eventually got me permission to show it (they were pretty confused by the whole thing). When my manager got back from Korea though, he immediately told me that I could not longer have it out in the open. He said that if I had been in NYC or not on the trading floor, it would have been OK, but not on the Japanese trading floor. It's worth noting that in Japan, tattoos are generally associated with the Yakuza, and I've definitely scared off a number of elderly Japanese people with me tat.

I now work at a late stage startup in downtown San Francisco, and they have no problem with my tattoo, which I basically never cover up. I did cover it during my interview, although not intentionally.

I've had cartilage piercings and an industrial during both these jobs and the internship at the conservative Japanese company I worked at the summer before I was at Goldman, and no one ever had a problem with them, despite them being against company policy. One of my Japanese coworkers even helped me find a place to get another piercing and went with me to get it.

/ann said...

I am a software development manager with arms that are pretty well covered with brightly colored bold tattoos. I live in North San Diego County and work for a company that develops medical imaging equipment for the veterinary industry. We started out as a very small company but were acquired by a much larger company about 6 years ago though we have remained rather an isolated entity. When I interviewed for this particular job I had my head shaved and the tattoos that I had at the time showing. If I were to go on an interview now I would probably cover to a degree but not completely. I would have a tough time working at a place where I'd have to wear long sleeves every single day. Like you, however, I've been pretty lucky in the employment arena. If I was unemployed for a lengthy period of time I might change my attitude about that.

Bridget said...

I have an ankle tattoo. I show it at work with no compunction; to be honest, I don't think about it much, so I often forget about it entirely when dressing. I would probably show it during an interview simply because I'm more comfortable in my skirt outfits than my pants outfits. But if I was deciding between two outfits I loved equally for the interview and one showed the tattoo while the other did not, I would choose the one that did not show the tattoo. (For reference, I live in the Southwest and work as a scientist in a national lab. My office has a casual dress code.)

Kim said...

I work for a very conservative utility in the midwest. I have several tattoos but only one visible which is a small one under my ankle bone. I don't hide it, never have really and no one has commented on it. I did have it covered for my interview but it was winter. I also think the fact that I was 7 months pregnant during the interview would have overshadowed it anyways...lol! They hired me the next day. This was 10 years ago. I've since been adding tattoos and am getting more "daring" with them. My latest hits just at the top of my knee on the side and I wear a lot of skirts to work. I don't plan on hiding it. I'm condidering one on my collar bone next. Truthfully, I don't think it will hurt my career nor will it help. I've hit that proverbial glass ceiling and don't think I'll go further so I've decided to enjoy myself and do what I want. But nobody else at my level in my area has any visible tattoos.

Tina said...

Thanks, Audi! Appreciate the words of encouragement! Working at a community college in a state (Texas) that seems less concerned about quality of education and more that students have the right to carry guns to class is discouraging! Anyway, I want to say that I adore your blog--I have been following it for a long time and find your posts to be interesting and diverse (plus I LOVE your clothes!!) I, too, am child-free and love my pit bull, so I am always interested when you talk about those topics!

Thanks for all that you do!!!

wendyzski said...

I do not have any ink myself, but agree that it would depend on both the industry and the geographic area. I'm also an admin assistant who recently spent 13 months out of work.

If I was applying for any kind of administrative position, anything in a larger corporate environment, or in an industry like banking, finance , etc - I would DEFINITELY cover any visible tattoos at the initial interview. That is the time to impress your interviewer with your poise, professionalism and skillset. It's very possible that having visible ink would be a distraction, especially as you don't know the prejudices that your interviewer is bringing to the table. It's probably best to keep the focus on your interview skills. You'd rather stick in their mind as "The one with the phone systems background" than "the one with the tattoos".

On a second interview, I would consider showing ink, based on my "feel" after the first interviewer as well as what I saw in the office while I was there. How and when to show would depend on how much ink I had and what kind of position I was looking for. A bracelet tat, maybe. Full colored sleeves, that could be risky.

Once you are hired, then you can get a better feel for the situation, and what would be accepted in that environment.

The important thing to remember is that your reasons for getting your tattoo have absolutely NOTHING to do with someone's reaction to them. It's their background, upbringing and experience that is going to provide the context for them. Even if you have a memorial tattoo, or a really lovely and meaningful piece of work - if your interviewer was brought up in an environment where 'only bikers and whores get tattoos' (That's a direct quote from my uncle, BTW) then even if you tell them that it's in memory of your best friend who died of cancer, they have already formed an impression of you in their head and that's going to be very difficult to fight.

BrieCS said...

I desperately want to get a tattoo of the personal logo I had my husband design (something that means a lot to me) behind my ear, but I work in a very conservative workplace, so I have been putting it off. There are plenty of people who get away with tattoos, but they've either been here longer, or they're the same kind of people who can wear too short of skirts and no one complains. It's like the hair color issue - I can't dye my hair bright without people saying something about it, but the older admins in the company and some of the staff assts. can dye their hair as brightly as they like.

I think that the attitude towards tattoos is archaic. Saying that it's distracting really bugs me, because I feel like I should be making a list of other things that distract me to show them how stupid that is. People wearing their pants too low is distracting. Men wearing too tight of shirts is distracting (but there's no rule on that in the dress code). It's distracting when a woman wears a pencil skirt, but I'll be damned if I would tell them not to. Some people's physical appearance is distracting! Are we supposed to only have people who all wear the same clothes, all look exactly the same, with no discerning features? Even simple things can be distracting.


ergh, rambling. In general, I wish there was a much more liberal attitude to "alternative" dress and body art.

Sheila said...

I love reading all these comments - some very interesting perspectives on the whole tattoo thing.

I recently got a new job in the IT field, as an admin. Many of the software developers and BAs I work with have tattoos and piercings (including facial), but for me as admin working the front desk, I would expect that my employers would not want me to be flaunting my tattoos in case a client came by the office.

Not that our HR has any policy (that I've seen or heard of) about tattoos, but out of respect for those who might feel they aren't appropriate for someone who is the company's "first impression", I will be keeping my tattoos semi-covered at the office. It helps that they are both on my back and not usually visible - I wouldn't wear a back-revealing outfit to work anyway! I don't intend to make extra effort to cover the bits that peek out of my clothes (at the back of my neck or tops of my shoulders), but I'm also not going to flaunt them.

I am looking forward to showing them off in a more casual environment (I already know what I'll be wearing to the company Christmas party - a backless long gown!), and to showing them in my personal life.

I might feel different if I had tattoos on my arms or somewhere "non-conventional" (not my thinking, but a lot of people's, I've found). I wouldn't feel odd about them on my lower legs, for instance (my planned next site). I think tattoos are beautiful, and am always interested in seeing others', but the reality is that there are still a lot of people who are biased against them. My poor mother-in-law finds my and my husband's tattoos quite revolting, for instance. Hee!

freeda said...

I have tattoos, but you'll never see them. You wouldn't even see them if I was in a swimsuit. Hubby likewise has tattoos that aren't visible in a short sleeved work shirt. My daughter got her belly pierced last year when she was 15, and I was just glad it wasn't on her face. I feel bad for the girls at my local Burger King who have to wear bandages over their facial piercings. That said, I'm pretty conservative.

I work in behavioral health. Our dress code prohibits tank tops, flip flops, and visible piercings.

(The flip flop ban is because you can't run after someone who is having a behavioral episode when you are wearing flip flops.)

It is an issue in my industry because we serve developmentally disabled adults, who model heavily on their staff. In fact one client admired a staffer with a nose piercing, so she went in the bathroom and pierced her own nose!

Appropriate (and safe/healthy) behavior is our focus, and as such we must model the same for our clients. Similarly, most of them don't have any idea what appropriate attire is, so we model conservative attire. Ditto hygiene, housekeeping, and anything else you can think of.

I hire people every week, and the tats of applicants don't factor into the decisions. On a personal level I dislike neck tattoos. Ideally, tattoos (like clothing) should enhance who you are, not distract from you!