Articles about tattoos in the workplace have been popping up everywhere and I have received a number of emails from engineering students who are questioning how tattoos might affect their chances of getting a job after graduation.
Every time the topic of tattoos and employment is brought up I give the same answers, so I thought it was time to write a little more about it. Referring back to one of my earlier posts which is now well over 2 years old, Some Basic Tattoo Advice, I said this
Think about how tattoo placement will effect your possibility of future employment. Qualified or not, I doubt these guys are going to be hired any time soon.
The Facebook group ‘Tattoo acceptance in the workplace’ currently has over 1.6 million page likes. This is written on their “about” page:
Our goal is to take away the stigma attached to people who have tattoos in the workplace. Tattoos are art. Some of us have chosen to express ourselves not with vibrant shoes, or a colorful tie, but with body art. What is the difference?
I agree with the sentiment, but I really don’t know how I feel about this page lately. It seems like they exclusively post 4 things on their wall. First the good things:
1. Pictures of employed tattooed people. These posts are at least a step in the right direction and do help to support the cause of the page. But they usually fall short in my opinion. They range from detailed stories to simple captioned pictures. The better submissions contain information about the type of job the person holds as well as whether they are allowed to show their tattoos or not. Some of the less useful posts don’t give much info at all.
2. Advertising, advertising and more advertising. Every other post lately seems to be about either promoting their tattooed and employed t-shirts or one of their other pages like “Inked animal lovers” or “Inked and sexy”.
3. Asking for opinions on random pictures of tattoos. I really have no problem with this type of post, but I don’t think they do much to further the acceptance of tattoos in the workplace.
4. Finally, there has been a large number of terrible tattoo related memes which are usually full of grammatical errors. Just look at the 3 most recent ones:
First of all, I don’t consider tattoo a lifestyle. Using this terminology only helps reinforce the idea that people with tattoos are different in some way. After all, it’s a whole different lifestyle. It’s obvious that the point of this image is to show that people with tattoos are capable of having faith, respect, comforting… Wait a minute, shouldn’t that be “comfort”. As you continue reading you encounter more and more words that just don’t fit in. Healthy should be health, funny should be humor and cherish just doesn’t seem to fit at all. I know the people that run Tattoo acceptance in the workplace did not create this graphic, but they should have recognized how terrible it was before deciding to post it. The horrible grammar, misleading title and poor graphic design work all add up to something that takes away from the message the page is trying to convey.
Next up is this gem. Tattoo’s and Piercing’s, really??
80% of the comments were people saying “I see you don’t understand how to use an apostrophe, excuse me while I put my clothes back on.” Besides those glaring errors, the old style picture just doesn’t work for me here. The guy clearly doesn’t have any tattoos or piercings, or at least not anything visible.
I think this one takes the cake. What the hell is a pregnant? Again, I get the message they are trying to convey here, but it is so poorly written that it really can’t be taken seriously. Even if he would have said “pregnant women”, instead of “pregnants” it still doesn’t make sense. “…looks at others guy’s face like saying “You should be ashamed of yourself.” Whoever wrote that should be ashamed of themselves.
For a page that is supposed to be all about “taking away the stigma attached to people with tattoos…” I feel like recent posts are doing the exact opposite. If someone visits this page for the first time and all they see is a bunch of poorly worded crappy internet memes, what do you think they are going to think? Most of the comments on the site reflect my sentiment with more and more negative comments appearing with each new post.
It’s a shame that a page that has the potential to reach a very large audience and spread a positive message about people with tattoos is wasting time posting crap like this. Sorry tattoo acceptance in the workplace, you really need to try harder if you want to make a difference.
The following comment was posted as the “comment of the day” on the Denver Westword Blogs page. It was written in response to this article: Five reasons restaurant employees should be allowed to have tattoos and piercings
I like to go to restaurants where the staff has a lot of piercings and tattoos because it’s a great way to teach my kids a lesson.
I make it clear to them that if they pollute their body with piercings and tattoos, then low-paying service industry jobs will be the only opportunity available to them in life.
I plan on taking my 13-year-old to Old Major for his birthday so he knows where he will end up if doesn’t shave or exercise.
The only lesson he is teaching his kids is intolerance. It blows my mind that people can think this type of “lesson” is actually good for their children. Pay attention kids, daddy doesn’t like tattoos so he’s going to try to prove a point.
Just how far can employers go in acting against workers based on professional image alone? In this week’s webinar, “Addressing Tattoos, Piercings, and Cross-Dressing in the Workplace,” Ballow discussed some of the risks of taking adverse employment action based on a worker’s appearance.
Teachers can’t sport outlandish hairstyles or facial piercings, and tattoos have to be covered up at the Litchfield Elementary School District.
Fifth-grade teacher Tim Schooley, who says he’s surprised it’s taken so long to implement a dress code, isn’t sure how school officials will enforce the tattoo rule. He has a tattoo on his calf, but keeps it covered.
“Tattoos can be a symbol or something of extreme significance that you have,” he says. “That, to me, is a little bit different.”