Skip to comments.More employers accepting of tattoos, piercings in the workplace
Posted on 07/08/2013 6:54:06 AM PDT by Deadeye Division
LIMA When Travis Stevick goes to work, he wears his heart on his sleeve, literally.
For the 34-year-old pediatric nurse, his body is a canvas, and the tattoos are all metaphors of his life. Along his left arm, theres a tiger and cherry blossoms on his forearm, and a coy fish on his upper arm. This is mostly what is exposed when he wears his scrubs to work. Stevick has 20 tattoos in all so far, from his arms, legs, back and chest. He plans on getting more, too.
And Stevick said at Health Partners of Western Ohio, where he works, theyve been very accommodating with his visible tattoos.
Theres different nursing homes and other health care facilities that have policies: no visible tattoos, because of contact with patients. But not here, Stevick said. It mixes with our clientele. A lot of our patients have tattoos, so theyre not frowned on here. Thats why Im here. I feel accepted. I like the way they feel with it.
Ironically, he does immunizations for children. The tattoos are not only a calming mechanism for them, but some children tell him they want tattoos someday, despite wincing from a single shot he just administered.
It kind of gets their mind off whatever theyre here for, if theyre not feeling well, he said. If they have to get a shot, something like that, and they take just a second and look at my tattoos, we relate a little bit. So it helps, I think.
Self-expression more acceptable
Many agree that workplace tattoos and piercings have become more acceptable in the workplace in recent years. Once thought of as the mark of a degenerate, almost 25 percent of Americans now have tattoos, according to a Pew Research poll from 2010. This likely makes having them in a professional setting more acceptable than before.
I have definitely seen a shift in the acceptance of tattoos and piercings in the workplace during the past decade, said Kathy Dickson, Director of Career Development at Bluffton University. For some employers, its still very much a big deal, but it depends ... not only on the field, but the individual employer, because every organization has its own culture.
There are some fields, though, that have remained more traditional about the issue.
The business and education fields are still two of the more conservative as far as having piercings and tattoos right out there in front of customers or students, she said. Some of the professional etiquette rules are more conservative about everything: The color of your suit, the color of your tie, the color of your shirt when you go to an interview. Whether your shoes are closed tie or open. So when you get to these types of rules, any trainer is probably going to encourage you to err on the conservative side when making first impressions and theyre getting to know you.
It all depends on the organization.
Lorne Howden Sr., owner of the Tat-2-U tattoo parlor on Elida Road, said the majority of his clients work in professional fields, such as law enforcement and health care. He likes it that way most of those customers take body art very seriously, meticulously planning what they would like to get and where.
The newer thing is to have a tattoo, he said. Society just need to be more accepting of it.
Being in the field for more than 25 years, hes seen a dramatic shift in the kind of clients he gets. Hes owned Tat-2-U in Lima for about 10 years, but had previously owned a shop in Seattle.
Ive seen it go from sailors to professionals, he said.
Aversion to tattoos, piercings still remain
Angela Wilbert, who mostly has had good feedback from her tongue piercing, once had an informal marketing meeting that left a bad taste in her mouth.
A marketing man said he may have a job opportunity for her at a bank, and could set up an interview. But he had a caveat.
You have to take out the tongue ring, he told her.
I was floored, said Wilbert, 34, of Lima, who does freelance writing. It wasnt in his place to say something to me about my tongue ring.
Normally, she would have taken it out for an interview, she said. But because this was more informal, she made the decision to leave it in. She had the piercing for years in early adulthood, but had taken it out and had gotten it re-pierced when she was 30. She said she made her own decision, and its not easily noticeable.
No one outside of that ever said anything to me, she said.
Dickson said the most important thing for young people to do if they decide to get a piercing or tattoo, is to do research about potential companies where theyd like to work someday. Others make decisions on where they work based on whether they have tattoos.
People set decisions, Dickson said. They may say: My piercings are part of my identity and who I am, and if they dont want to hire me, based on this on this industry, then thats probably the industry I dont want to be working in.
I remember my grandfather got a tattoo in 1917 of a panther on his forearm when he was overseas in World War I. He spent the remainder of his 94 years wearing long sleeve shirts to hide it. Had an effect on me and I never got one. I don’t condemn anyone who has them but I would not hire someone who had an in your face kind of tattoo or piercing.
Ive seen it go from sailors to professionals, he said.
Sailors aren't "professionals".
They are accepting because they don’t want to be sued if they openly disapprove. However young people should realize that prominent tatoos and piercings are not likely to enance their employment prospects and careers. It may not be politically correct to say, but a significant percentage of the population (often employers and managers) view tatoos as the indelible mark of the lowlife.
If he's arranging an interview for a private employer who has a policy regarding such things, it certainly was in his place.
Bull. If I can see a tattoo I will end an interview. I'm not hiring some side show freak to represent my company. Same goes for body piercings...only more so!
To this day, I just don't understand the need to "express one's self" through the use of a (somewhat) permanent tattoo. The passing follies of one's youth, the quotes and images you identified with...why would you want to carry that into middle and old age? Why would you want to explain why you thought some random lyrics from a 90's grunge band were important enough for you to prominently etch them into your skin? I don't get it. I wouldn't hold it against someone in a casual passing, but I can see why businesses wouldn't hire someone with some major work.
All employers I know of accept them but nothing says, “Me, too!”, like a piercing or tattoo. Nothing original about the person. They are likely to go along with whatever fad comes their way. I want individual thinkers for employees, not sheep.
I think it’s gross between that and the piercing of every body part yuck!!!!!!!!!!
I didn’t get my tattoos to “fit in”, “stand out”, “be cool”, or “reject societal norms”.
My reasons, now as then, are my own. If you don’t want me around, don’t hire me. Easy-peasey...
1) How many Under-30 types are totally lacking in ink and piercings? When your choice is between circus freaks and NO employees, whatcha gonna do?
2) Under the current regime one runs a very high risk of being accused of RAAAAAACISM if applicants with tats (and particularly facial jewelry which, after all, is of African origin) are summarily rejected.
A coy fish.
Perhaps they meant KOI.
Will copy-editors EVER be hired for major news organizations?
I’m working on my second degree and I make six figures.
While some might people might think tattoos are works of art, they inevitably turn into nothing more than ugly purple splotches.
They have no choice, whole world is pierced or tattooed...
Tell truth, if you could snap your fingers and all your tats would be gone, would you do it?
as for me,if I go someplace to eat and the staff have nose,eyebrow, etc piercings,I just won't come back..
Could the writer, perhaps, be talking about a fish that is playing hard to get on a man’s upper arm? Give a hard-working modern journalist the benefit of the doubt!