General chatter - Tattoo's in the Workplace

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03-26-2010, 10:13 PM
Hello ladies and gents, I was just wondering what your opinions/thoughts are on tattoo's in the workplace? Do you think it affects hiring, are they unprofessional? Do you have any? Like em, hate em? Let me know! ;)

03-26-2010, 10:19 PM
It depends on the type of work you are doing!! I think they are definitely unprofessional for an office setting of any kind. I mean you wouldn't want to go into a place and see a receptionist with a spiderweb tattoo like Abby has on NCIS! If you are in a place where you deal with clients and the public in general, I'd have to say nope! But if you are out landscaping or building houses or working in a factory, It doesn't really matter. Does that make sense at all? :)

03-26-2010, 10:28 PM
It depends on the job. But in most cases, I feel it is better to err on the side of conservative dress and keep the tatts covered.


03-26-2010, 11:03 PM
I think it definitely can affect both getting hired, and how you're viewed and treated. There are a lot of jobs a person might lose because of visible tattoos. My husband's best friend recently won a $50 gift certificate from a tattoo shop and he was just discussing it at work, and his boss overheard. He works in a shoe store (with a very casual atmosphere and dress code, so I wouldn't expect a tattoo to be shocking or out of place), bt the boss pulled hubby's friend aside and reminded him of the no-visible-tattoo policy in the employee manual.

Hubby's friend did get a bicep tatoo high enough on the arm to be covered by even a short sleeve shirt. When he went in to work afterward, about half an inch of the bandage covering the tattoo could be seen, and his boss reminded him again that he'd be fired if any part of the tatoo could be seen. He wasn't really satisfied until the bandage was removed and he had proof that the tatoo couldn't be seen.

I like tattoos, but don't have any (I don't want to get any until I've been at a stable weight for a while, I don't want losing weight to distort the image), but they can make an impression that isn't always positive. Hubby and I have friends in professional jobs with tattoos, but most keep them covered at work, or have had problems at work because of the tattoos, even being told that they were turned down for a promotion because of the tat (because the promotion would require more interaction with international clients).

I think women have it easier, because even a face tatoo can be covered fairly easily with a thick makeup like Dermablend (awesome stuff, I used it to cover patches of very dark red rosacea, but it's very thick and can aggravate oily skin).

It's very obviously makeup though (on the face), so it looks strange on a man's face (though one of my husband's male friend uses it to cover a lower arm tattoo for job interviews).

03-26-2010, 11:08 PM
I don't have any...yet :D so I'm not adverse to them. But definitely it is just a fact of life that they do matter in a professional workplace, or the service industry. It might not be fair - hey, aren't pierced ears a form of body mutilation? - but it is the way it is.

03-26-2010, 11:36 PM
I work in a medical facility, and the rule here is no visible tattoos (men or women) and no piercings other than ears. We have a large retired population, and some older people associate tattoos with ****'s Angels or other scary (real or imagined) people. visible tattoos.

My son used to work at Costco, and they had a similar rule even for the guys who throw freight or gather the carts in the parking lot. So guys with tattoos there are required to cover them with long pants or with an elastic sleeve that's worn over the tattoo.

I think they're find in the artistic community. My hair stylist has a lot of large colorful tattoos and a facial piercing. She's an awesome person, gentle and kind, but she wouldn't be able to work at my office because of the tattoos.

03-26-2010, 11:48 PM
I have a tattoo on my hip, and on my foot. I can hide them if needed. I think that should be taken in consideration when getting a tattoo, unless you know you have a job, or always be able to get a job that doesn't care. I plan on being in the health care field, so I do not plan on ever getting a tattoo that can't be hidden easily.

03-26-2010, 11:56 PM
I think it depends. I don't have any, but even if I did I would make sure they could be covered up. My job brings me in to contact with everyone from graphic designers to CEOs of large multinational corporations. I would be hesitant to have any visible tattoos for fear that I might offend a client. While not all my clients are conservative, many are and I don't want to risk loosing a client over a tattoo.

An ex bf, had several tattoos. You'd never know from looking at him. He appeared the most straight laced guy every. He always made sure they didn't show under his suits at the office. Then we'd go out after work and the long sleeve shirt and suit jacket would come off....... all I can say is WOWZA. But he knew that having the tattoos would adversely affect his career at a large oil company. So he kept them hidden.

On the other hand, I have a friend who's a graphic designer and she proudly displays her tattoos. I think it depends on the industry.

03-27-2010, 02:08 AM
I think it depends on the job but also on what/where the tattoos are. I have 4, 3 of which are very easily covered. (foot, back, hip). The 4th is on my forearm. It is a breast cancer ribbon, and although i have worked at places that say they have a no visible tattoo policy, there has never been an issue about it. In fact my nose stud has caused more issues. lol... Now I work in the medical field in a dermatology clinic that specializes in skin cancer surgery and alot of our patients are older/retired. and I get compliments/questions about it all the time. Just my two cents.:D

03-27-2010, 02:15 AM
I have tattoos but what I wear professionally conceals them. However, there are a few outfits where they may show but I don't mind. Tattoos are a part of who you are and in no way are negative. I dress according to the assignment in which I am contracted to do. I'm also my own boss so I have no one to answer to. It's 2010 and we all need to realize they are a part of our culture. ;)

03-27-2010, 02:19 AM
I love tattoos and think they can be beautiful, as long as they're meaningful. (I hate the tribal armbands, etc.) I have one and am planning a bigger one for my 100-pound-loss celebration.

I agree with shantroy about it being a matter of what industry you're in. I personally would not want a job I couldn't get with my tattoos. I wouldn't tattoo my face or anything, but I think some visible tattoos are fine. I never hide mine, and even before I had mine I never thought negatively about people with tattoos.

03-27-2010, 04:42 AM
Yay SunshineCA! I feel the same way!!

I have three tattoos - a forearm, an ankle, and a very large chestpiece! But, like you, all of my tattoos are very special to me - they all serve as visual reminders of times when I had to make a choice, whether the result was good or bad, and the lesson I learned from it.

For the most part, they can be covered by a blouse conservatively buttoned, but I am totally proud to show them off!

I'm the editor-in-chief of my university's newspaper and people treat me like a professional because I behave like one and work hard, even if I do have birds hanging out on my boobs!

So they can take me or leave me... :D

EDIT: Sorry for the extreme boob close-up, did I do this right? LOL! :D

03-27-2010, 05:54 AM
I have several visible tattoos and I've never had a job that required me to keep them covered. I never plan on having an office job, either. Even now, neither my boss nor my students have a problem with my tattoos -- in fact, I get a lot of compliments on them, even from the kids.

03-27-2010, 06:01 AM
I've also never had a job that required me to cover my ink, and only one that required me to remove my facial piercings for my shift. Unfortunately, though, we are judged by these things anyway. Everyone wants their employees to look professional, but professional is really in the eye of the beholder. I didn't fuss about it when I had to remove my piercings for my job, but I was really, really unhappy about it. I personally feel that a person's speech and actions and CLEAN appearance carry more weight with me when I decided if someone is a trustworthy professional or not, but that's not the world we live in. It's kinda of a touchy subject for me. But one the whole, I love tattoos!

03-27-2010, 06:50 AM
I have a tattoo on my hand--impossible to cover-up, except with a band-aid. I've never bothered trying to hide it, and it's never been an issue, including a job I had working in a professional capacity for a government (i.e., military) contractor. I work hard, am good at my job, dress professionally, and let people form their own opinions. Like many posters said, tattoos are part of our culture. How people behave (speak, interact, work) is more indicative of what type of employee/person they are than what they look like.

03-27-2010, 11:58 AM
I have several tattoos, 9 to be exact. Some can be easily hidden and others are a bit harder. I have always worked in an office setting, and when I've changed jobs I cover them up until I can gauge how tattoo-friendly the office is. I personally (obviously) have no issues with them, but I understand that some people still do. Every single one of mine means something to me, they are special to me, and mark a point in my life. I've never been asked to cover them up, and I'm not sure how I would react if I was because they are part of me. I am careful every time I get a new one to make sure that it can, at very least, be semi-covered up and not extremely noticeable.

03-27-2010, 12:15 PM
I have a couple of tattoos. I can cover mine with clothing and my wedding ring. I just think its really what kind of tattoo it is at people have problems with. Like gang tatts or tear drops ect...

03-27-2010, 12:47 PM
and a very large chestpiece!

The colors in it are beautiful!! I love the stars.

03-27-2010, 01:02 PM
I'm also heavily tattooed. Visibly tattooed, my arms, legs, hands, neck, chest. I'm also a professional, I DO work in an office, and I have to say either I have the best bosses n the world (which I doubt), or people are starting to evolve.

To people who would tell me "I wouldn't do business with someone who looks like you, I don't know if you're a good person and trustworthy.", I'd say "So give your business to the big man in the Yves St-Laurent suit, he looks nice, even though he goes home drunk and beats his kids and wife a couple times a week."

Many workplaces find tattoos unprofessional. I don't see the difference between that, and their receptionist who's yapping aloud on her cellphone with her back turned to the 3 clients waiting at the front desk. I'm professional, treat people with respect, conduct business and deal with clients the same way someone without color on their skin would. And I never had to hide my tattoos, never will, because it's not worth effacing who I am to please someone else, even if that person pays my salary. If you can't respect this choice I'll find an employer who will. Which is what I've always done and never had problems. And that's why I keep getting more tattoos lol

03-27-2010, 03:15 PM
I have tattoos on my forearms, which I can cover with long sleeves but rarely do. I work in a call center, so no one sees me - everyone is completely lax about tattoos and piercings.

As everyone else said, I think it just depends what your job is as to how tattoos and piercings should be looked at. I find it a bit disappointing people are judged on how they've chosen to express themselves via their own bodies, but it doesn't seem to be something that's going to progressively change, not for a while a least. So I've got tattoos I can cover and retainers for my facial piercings for those times when its not appropriate.

03-27-2010, 09:12 PM
I have a rose on my ankle. I have not had any real problems at work. I work at a Southern Baptist church and only 1 pastor has ever said anything negative about it and he no longer works there. I have it uncovered in the summer when I wear capris or skirts and sandals.

03-27-2010, 11:06 PM
Thanks for all the responses ladies, I was just curious. I have five tattoo's currently and I have an appointment made to get another on the inside of my forearm. Im 23 and im working on my Bachelor's in Psychology, specializing in Thanatology. I really believe as one of you ladies stated, that we are evolving and becoming more openminded to the idea of tattoos/piercing in the workplace. I believe that how we look and choose to decorated, peirce, ink, etc etc our bodies has nothing to do with how professional/smart we are!

Latchkey Princess
03-28-2010, 03:41 AM
I've got 12 tattoos so far, including 3 forearm tattoos. My plans are to get a few more, possibly someday getting full sleeves on both arms. BUT, I'm a stay at home mom, so I really have no need to cover my tats. And I'm not really thinking I'll ever have a job where I would need to, but I could with long sleeves if I had to.

It bothers me that people find piercings and tattoos in the workplace "unprofessional". I don't see the link between ink on my skin/metal in my skin and how I'm going to do my job. It's all about what other people think. But I do think that as more and more younger people that have tats and piercings move into the workforce the more conservative people are going to have to be a bit less strict about them, or pass up on some really amazing employees.

03-28-2010, 12:00 PM
It definitely depends where you work. I have worked mostly in very large corporations (Raytheon, Microsoft, Sony) and I'm sure a lot of my coworkers have tattoos, but they were rarely visible (there was a guy at MS who had a huge blue star tattooed on the top of his bald head!!).

I do have a tattoo on my back but it is very easy to cover (in fact it didn't show in any of my wedding photos, although my dress was backless - thank you, long hair).

I do think that tattoos are becoming more acceptable, but since I intend to keep working in my industry I wouldn't get a tattoo that wasn't easy to hide. I love my tattoo, it's very meaningful, but really, it's for me. I don't need to show it off every day at work!

03-28-2010, 08:37 PM
.... But if you are out landscaping or building houses or working in a factory, It doesn't really matter.

No offense THINMINT but having been and still in the building industry for over 40 years I can say that it does matter...right or some of our clients.

My personal take on tattoos is that I feel normal every day clothing should cover them, if necessary, for WHATEVER reason.

I don't have any but my wife has 3...1 that only myself and her doctor better see ;) She also has one on her ankle that now is combined with one that is vine like with butterflies and pink (for my sister's breast cancer) ribbons and runs from her calf down to connect with the tequila sunrise flower on her ankle.

Should we judge people based on tattoos..of course not! But we do/have and always will judge people...we are not perfect people.

I find some tattoos very cool and well placed and I also find other people that IMHO appear to be clown like in appearance....but that's me...I am sure young people see it different. Does that mean I would hold the tats against them in a personal relationship?...nope....does it mean I would be less likely to hire them, over another equally qualified person, for a job where my clients come to work dressed in suits and where they would interact with the person covered in tattoos...probably so.

Our Vicar at church this year is one of the coolest young men I know....I love the guy and his sermons with a lot of energy!...his arms are covered with tattoos....

as far as I know there have not been any complaints since he came in August on the tats...I have attended my church for 28 years and I can tell you in years past there would have been complaints (we are very conservative)....although I can also tell you that my pastor would have "shut them up!" ;) point...tats are more accepted now...but...

right or wrong...

his may make a difference on where he is placed as a Pastor...

maybe not....

To be honest I was more offended by an earlier post on someone wearing a suit over any tattooed person I have ever seen ;)

03-29-2010, 11:05 AM
I think extremes of any kind are usually unprofessional. This would include being so tattooed that you look like a walking comic book, or having multiple piercings (especially facial) or an attention-grabbing hair style such as a mohawk.

But I don't have an issue with tasteful tattoos, artfully done. And even facial piercings can look passably OK if they are toned down with simple, unobtrusive jewelry. That mohawk, though--I just can't see it in any professional setting outside of a rock band.

03-29-2010, 01:17 PM
I think it really all depends on the type of work you do. I am not really bothered by tattoos at all (think they can be super nice at times). However, in certain situations, I may not have faith in my doctor or nurse if she has a tattoo on her neck and multiple piercings. However, if I spoke with her and got a feeling for her abilities, it wouldn't bother me one bit. Wow, I never thought I was that conservative. :(

I usually dont have any problems with tattoos. It may just depend of where there are located, and what they are of. If someone has a curse word tattoo and they are going to be my tax person, I may be a bit uneasy.

03-29-2010, 01:26 PM
I don't care for tattoos personally but I also don't see an issue if someone has them. Having said that, I couldn't imagine anyone at my work sporting visible tattoos. It is one of those things where it is looked down upon by many people and in a professional environment it is better to be safe than sorry.

03-29-2010, 01:53 PM
I am much like Shantroy - I work in an industry where I deal with a wide variety of clients, some of whom are conservative enough that having visible tattoos would affect their perception of my professionalism. I don't think that's necessarily fair, because tattoos don't, in my opinion, reflect on actual characteristics of professionalism in any way. Still, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to have a visible tattoo in that setting.

Of course, in most settings that are that conservative, dress standards are also conservative so that most tattoos would be covered (suits, jackets, pantyhose, etc).

I do understand company policies against visible tattoos, for the reason I mentioned...some clients are more conservative, and fair or not, it may reflect badly on the company in the eyes of that client if an employee has visible tattoos. Just as companies put dress code policies in place, they may put tattoo policies in place to reflect the standards of the industry. I do think those policies need to be made clear in employee manuals and such, so that no one goes out and gets a tattoo without knowing it'll be an issue.

Enduring Infinity
03-29-2010, 02:35 PM
As much as I'd love to get a really dramatic chest piece, I really do think that it would limit my post-college career options (I'm planning on working in Public Policy), so instead I'm planning to get a piece on my mid-back.

For me personally, one or two (or even more, honestly) visible tattoos don't really make me view someone as being any less professional, but facial tattoos do have a major way of distracting me and making me wonder why someone would choose to tattoo such a sensitive body part!

03-29-2010, 08:55 PM
i have four tattoos- and two stretched piercings in each ear and i have no problems w/ my work. i work in a call center.
a previous call center i worked for did have a problem, and because i have a tattoo on my ankle i was never allowed to wear skirts while i worked there. i never really understood that considering nobody sees us - it's a call center!
i think it's becoming more and more common, but it is something that depending on the profession you may need to think carefully on placement before getting the tattoo.

03-29-2010, 09:04 PM
I have two tattoo's, one on my lower back and one on my back shoulder. I work in the Health Industry and prior that, worked in Corporate Offices. Neither has seemed to have a problem with visible tattoo's, unless of course, Corporate Heads are in town and then we need to try to cover most of them with appropriate attire. I too think they are more and more acceptable, but under center circumstances they may still need to be covered.