The Truth about Piercings, Tattoos and Hiring Managers

By Dino Londis

Yes, you’re cool. Yes, you’re talented. But when you show up for a job interview, you’d better have given some thought to what the hiring manager’s going to see when you walk in the door.

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There’s no such thing as impartiality. We all make hundreds of judgments about people every day. People’s prejudices don’t stop at the office door. And since the whole interview process is essentially one big judgment session, why would you think a manager would just look away from your body art?

Today’s hiring managers tend to be from a generation where tattoos were limited to Marines and bikers. Even if you had a thick beard and hair halfway down your back, you were always a barber shop away from becoming “respectable” for a job interview.

And like it or not, a hiring manager has to answer to his superiors, who are even further separated from your age. Even if he has no personal problem with body art, the manager’s perception of what’s expected by the company’s owners or executives will prevent him from looking the other way. Because businesses today rarely have a formal policy about body art, hiring managers are left to make assumptions about management’s expectations, and often lean toward the equation’s conservative side.

Employees who’ve tried to challenge discrimination based on body art have met with limited success. For example, Costco management asked a cashier to remove an eyebrow piercing, or even put a bandage over it. The employee refused on the basis of religion, there was litigation - and the company won.

Companies can limit employees’ personal expression on the job as long as they don’t infringe on their civil liberties. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers are allowed to impose dress codes and appearance policies as long as they don’t discriminate against a person’s race, color, religion, age, national origin or gender.

Of course you’re not your body piercings, and we all know that many employees who don’t have body art are lousy workers. You may believe that your talent, your resume, and your interview skills will be enough to overcome any prejudice. Or you may think you don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t allow body art.

Don’t delude yourself. The job market’s not so great that you can easily dismiss the idea of working for a company that doesn’t like your nose ring. You want the job, so you have to factor out anything that could affect your chances of getting hired. So remove the jewelry, and cover up the art.

Dino Londis is an applications management engineer in New York.

Comments

  1. BY tech -b says:

    these kind of articles are only pushing forward the stereo types and narrow-mindedness that fashion over function is ok, and that unfortunately is why old-school business practices get us in messes like big banking, corporate fraud, and ceo greed is today. i am a hiring manager for an extremely large and conservative non-profit and i personally have several (visible and non visible) tattoo’s not to mention larger than normal earrings in both ears.
    i work in IT so when it comes to hiring it all depends on how they answer my questions, what routes i can see them taking in their heads to find the solutions i am looking for (even if sometimes they land on the wrong answer) and how well i think they will meld with the team. the very last thing i care about is there appearance (of course this has to be taken into consideration to a certain degree, dirty, ‘ftw’ tattooed on their forehead would all be unacceptable) but i am more concerned with talent, fit and making myself and my org succeed.

  2. BY tech -b says:

    these kind of articles are only pushing forward the stereo types and narrow-mindedness that fashion over function is ok, and that unfortunately is why old-school business practices get us in messes like big banking, corporate fraud, and ceo greed is today. i am a hiring manager for an extremely large and conservative non-profit and i personally have several (visible and non visible) tattoo’s not to mention larger than normal earrings in both ears.
    i work in IT so when it comes to hiring it all depends on how they answer my questions, what routes i can see them taking in their heads to find the solutions i am looking for (even if sometimes they land on the wrong answer) and how well i think they will meld with the team. the very last thing i care about is there appearance (of course this has to be taken into consideration to a certain degree, dirty, ‘ftw’ tattooed on their forehead would all be unacceptable) but i am more concerned with talent, fit and making myself and my org succeed.

  3. BY tech -b says:

    these kind of articles are only forwarding the stereo types and narrow-mindedness that fashion over function is ok. unfortunately that is why old-school business practices get us in messes like big banking, corporate fraud, and ceo greed has.
    i am a hiring manager for an extremely large and conservative non-profit and i have several (visible and non visible) tattoo’s not to mention larger than normal earrings in both ears.
    i work in IT so when it comes to hiring it all depends on how they answer my questions, what routes i can see them taking in their heads to find the solutions i am looking for (even if sometimes they land on the wrong answer) and how well i think they will meld with the team. the very last thing i care about is there appearance (of course this has to be taken into consideration to a certain degree, dirty, ‘ftw’ tattooed on their forehead would all be unacceptable) but i am more concerned with talent, fit and making myself and my org succeed.

  4. BY tech -b says:

    these kind of articles are only forwarding the stereo types and narrow-mindedness that fashion over function is ok. unfortunately that is why old-school business practices get us in messes like big banking, corporate fraud, and ceo greed has.
    i am a hiring manager for an extremely large and conservative non-profit and i have several (visible and non visible) tattoo’s not to mention larger than normal earrings in both ears.
    i work in IT so when it comes to hiring it all depends on how they answer my questions, what routes i can see them taking in their heads to find the solutions i am looking for (even if sometimes they land on the wrong answer) and how well i think they will meld with the team. the very last thing i care about is there appearance (of course this has to be taken into consideration to a certain degree, dirty, ‘ftw’ tattooed on their forehead would all be unacceptable) but i am more concerned with talent, fit and making myself and my org succeed.

  5. BY Gabriel says:

    Judging from the previous comments, and my own experience, there seems to be little middle ground here. Either you like tattoos (a lot) or you don’t, and neither side will be dissuaded. So this debate is fairly fruitless. The article itself is mostly common sense, but if it prevents the clueless from getting a tat that can’t be covered up, then good for them. And, unless the guy in the photo is “Linus fricking Torvalds,” I have my doubts about his career prospects. (The irony is, he did it to himself). Perhaps what is needed here is more transparency in marketing and promotion. The anti-tattoo people could start “Main Street (or “Old Fart” or “Empty Suit”) IT Solutions,” and the pro-tattoo people could start “Goth (or “Hipster” or “Douche Bag”) IT Solutions” and let the market decide. As least clients would know what to expect ahead of time. :P

    BTW, It’s Cary Grant and Heath Ledger

  6. BY Gabriel says:

    Judging from the previous comments, and my own experience, there seems to be little middle ground here. Either you like tattoos (a lot) or you don’t, and neither side will be dissuaded. So this debate is fairly fruitless. The article itself is mostly common sense, but if it prevents the clueless from getting a tat that can’t be covered up, then good for them. And, unless the guy in the photo is “Linus fricking Torvalds,” I have my doubts about his career prospects. (The irony is, he did it to himself). Perhaps what is needed here is more transparency in marketing and promotion. The anti-tattoo people could start “Main Street (or “Old Fart” or “Empty Suit”) IT Solutions,” and the pro-tattoo people could start “Goth (or “Hipster” or “Douche Bag”) IT Solutions” and let the market decide. As least clients would know what to expect ahead of time. :P

    BTW, It’s Cary Grant and Heath Ledger

  7. BY Miles says:

    What ever happened to personal responsibility?

    I have tattoos, (six as a matter of fact, all received while in the Marines), but none show when I am dressed for work. Those who belittle and insult those who decide to decorate their bodies are part of the generation I cant wait to see die off, they are holding to the same prejudice that required segregated lunch counters and water fountains. They speak hatred, not understanding. Those who decorate their bodies, and do not consider the long run are only damning themselves. When you plan on getting a tattoo, or a piercing, you must remember that it is permanent, (tattoos at least, not so much piercings), and that the content of the tattoo, not just the tattoo itself will come under the most scrutiny. I considered my professional career each time I went under the needle, and planned my art accordingly.

    Really, the only thing that will change the unfortunate way HR Managers, and The Powers That Be look at body art, will be their own deaths due to that wonderful thing we call entropy.

    In a few years when all the higher up positions are filled by those from Gen-X and later, will we see body art become less and less of a liability in a professional career.

  8. BY Miles says:

    What ever happened to personal responsibility?

    I have tattoos, (six as a matter of fact, all received while in the Marines), but none show when I am dressed for work. Those who belittle and insult those who decide to decorate their bodies are part of the generation I cant wait to see die off, they are holding to the same prejudice that required segregated lunch counters and water fountains. They speak hatred, not understanding. Those who decorate their bodies, and do not consider the long run are only damning themselves. When you plan on getting a tattoo, or a piercing, you must remember that it is permanent, (tattoos at least, not so much piercings), and that the content of the tattoo, not just the tattoo itself will come under the most scrutiny. I considered my professional career each time I went under the needle, and planned my art accordingly.

    Really, the only thing that will change the unfortunate way HR Managers, and The Powers That Be look at body art, will be their own deaths due to that wonderful thing we call entropy.

    In a few years when all the higher up positions are filled by those from Gen-X and later, will we see body art become less and less of a liability in a professional career.

  9. BY Miles says:

    It pains me to see people still so eager to discriminate based on appearance. I cant help but think that the “Old Guys” who run everything are still stuck in a world where segregated lunch counters, and bathrooms are still ok. It would seem that the only cure to this issue is time. For all those who discriminate against those younger people will die before we do. Now, those who decorate themselves have certain responsibilities as well, like thinking about what you want to do for a living before deciding where to place that tattoo. I have 6, all received while in the Marines, and their locations were planned based on uniform codes, and where I wanted to go after I became a civilian. Needless to say, mine dont show unless I want them to. But in all honesty, I have never come across a hiring manager who even asked about them.

  10. BY Miles says:

    It pains me to see people still so eager to discriminate based on appearance. I cant help but think that the “Old Guys” who run everything are still stuck in a world where segregated lunch counters, and bathrooms are still ok. It would seem that the only cure to this issue is time. For all those who discriminate against those younger people will die before we do. Now, those who decorate themselves have certain responsibilities as well, like thinking about what you want to do for a living before deciding where to place that tattoo. I have 6, all received while in the Marines, and their locations were planned based on uniform codes, and where I wanted to go after I became a civilian. Needless to say, mine dont show unless I want them to. But in all honesty, I have never come across a hiring manager who even asked about them.

  11. BY tech-b says:

    ben,
    i think you are way off. i am sure you enjoy your suit and tie just fine and if you are in sales i would agree that appearance is a key factor.
    while for some schmoozing and networking to get sales is a highly compensated career and obviously valuable to big business, it holds no merit to those that invest in learning and putting into practice skill sets that go beyond moving their lips and can actually accomplish something.
    e.g. if you sell cars you probably can’t fix yours if it breaks down on the side of the road, you’ll have to call that tattooed mechanic.
    if you cant figure out how to install your corp. vpn and you can’t access salesforce at 23:00hrs guess who you will be calling to get you back in working shape? that tattooed guy in the IT office that knows how to configure your firewalls and routers that keep your info safe.

  12. BY tech-b says:

    ben,
    i think you are way off. i am sure you enjoy your suit and tie just fine and if you are in sales i would agree that appearance is a key factor.
    while for some schmoozing and networking to get sales is a highly compensated career and obviously valuable to big business, it holds no merit to those that invest in learning and putting into practice skill sets that go beyond moving their lips and can actually accomplish something.
    e.g. if you sell cars you probably can’t fix yours if it breaks down on the side of the road, you’ll have to call that tattooed mechanic.
    if you cant figure out how to install your corp. vpn and you can’t access salesforce at 23:00hrs guess who you will be calling to get you back in working shape? that tattooed guy in the IT office that knows how to configure your firewalls and routers that keep your info safe.

  13. BY Tattoos R Great says:

    Why is there such a hangup over tattoos? I got multiple tattoos while in the Marines and have not yet had a problem in the civilian world. I work in IT at a non-profit hospital and I have never been told to cover up my tattoo.

    I can understand policies that force people to cover up offensive tattoos (like a naked woman, etc) or not to hire someone that has a swastika on their forehead, but to judge someone simply because they have a harmless tattoo thats visible? That is the definition of prejudice, no if, and or buts about it.

    Those of you that think not having tattoos defines you as more professional and with more merit need a reality check. Its no different than saying someone who got a funny haircut is worse at his job than a similar employee who has a normal haircut. Grow up and get over yourself.

  14. BY Tattoos R Great says:

    Why is there such a hangup over tattoos? I got multiple tattoos while in the Marines and have not yet had a problem in the civilian world. I work in IT at a non-profit hospital and I have never been told to cover up my tattoo.

    I can understand policies that force people to cover up offensive tattoos (like a naked woman, etc) or not to hire someone that has a swastika on their forehead, but to judge someone simply because they have a harmless tattoo thats visible? That is the definition of prejudice, no if, and or buts about it.

    Those of you that think not having tattoos defines you as more professional and with more merit need a reality check. Its no different than saying someone who got a funny haircut is worse at his job than a similar employee who has a normal haircut. Grow up and get over yourself.

  15. BY TechieGoddess says:

    Tech-b, I actually just cheered for you. Twice.
    Ben – you are wrong in many respects, but one “nugget of wisdom” stands out: no, people like *you* are not the backbone of the US workforce. People who WORK (whether tattooed or not, pierced or not, garbage man or scientist) are. I work (quite successfully and for many years, I might add), so whether you like it or not, we’re in the same boat, buddy (that is, assuming you have a job). I can agree to disagree, right up until you start stating opinion as fact, and small-minded assumptions as reality. At that point, I only agree to shake my head in amusement.

  16. BY TechieGoddess says:

    Tech-b, I actually just cheered for you. Twice.
    Ben – you are wrong in many respects, but one “nugget of wisdom” stands out: no, people like *you* are not the backbone of the US workforce. People who WORK (whether tattooed or not, pierced or not, garbage man or scientist) are. I work (quite successfully and for many years, I might add), so whether you like it or not, we’re in the same boat, buddy (that is, assuming you have a job). I can agree to disagree, right up until you start stating opinion as fact, and small-minded assumptions as reality. At that point, I only agree to shake my head in amusement.

  17. BY Ben Dover says:

    Tech-b, I am not often required to wear a suit and tie, I am in my forties (don’t know whether that makes me “old” or not), and I am most definitely NOT in sales. For what it’s worth I know how to work with my hands, and have done so for decades. My ASE certified mechanic is reputable, and gets the job done the first time without any tattoos or piercings. Likewise, the IT people I encounter do not suffer in their job performance because they practice personal hygiene, grooming, adhere to a company dress code, or lack tattoos. Not having tattoos and piercings is no guarantee you’ll get the job, but it can’t hurt. To the Marines, I understand that your motivation to get a tattoo (tradition, esprit d’corps, overseas rite of passage, etc.) was probably very different from the guy pictured above. If you think it made you a better Marine, I’m not going to quarrel with you.

  18. BY Ben Dover says:

    Tech-b, I am not often required to wear a suit and tie, I am in my forties (don’t know whether that makes me “old” or not), and I am most definitely NOT in sales. For what it’s worth I know how to work with my hands, and have done so for decades. My ASE certified mechanic is reputable, and gets the job done the first time without any tattoos or piercings. Likewise, the IT people I encounter do not suffer in their job performance because they practice personal hygiene, grooming, adhere to a company dress code, or lack tattoos. Not having tattoos and piercings is no guarantee you’ll get the job, but it can’t hurt. To the Marines, I understand that your motivation to get a tattoo (tradition, esprit d’corps, overseas rite of passage, etc.) was probably very different from the guy pictured above. If you think it made you a better Marine, I’m not going to quarrel with you.

  19. BY Ben Dover says:

    TG, You said people like me are not the backbone of the U.S. workforce (stating opinion as fact), and then you said that we’re in the same boat. So go ahead and be amused, it changes nothing. Gabriel’s comments summed up things well.

  20. BY Ben Dover says:

    TG, You said people like me are not the backbone of the U.S. workforce (stating opinion as fact), and then you said that we’re in the same boat. So go ahead and be amused, it changes nothing. Gabriel’s comments summed up things well.

  21. BY Jesse says:

    I think this is so true and we forget when we make these decisions that it could cost us in the long run, I have always liked office jobs etc. and went thru some kind of phase a couple of years ago and got a tattoo on my wrist and lower arm and I am seriously paying for it….Always having to cover it up is no fun and im scared to reveal it for fear of what might happen

  22. BY Jesse says:

    I think this is so true and we forget when we make these decisions that it could cost us in the long run, I have always liked office jobs etc. and went thru some kind of phase a couple of years ago and got a tattoo on my wrist and lower arm and I am seriously paying for it….Always having to cover it up is no fun and im scared to reveal it for fear of what might happen

  23. BY Chris says:

    I have a lip ring and a few tattoos, one on my upper back, my right arm, and the only ones you can see is the two sets on both my wrist. I never had to cover them, like stated above “You may believe that your talent, your resume, and your interview skills will be enough to overcome any prejudice.” I know i am good at what i do and worked for many big name companies and never have they mentioned anything about my body art. This could be my personal luck. The funny thing is i had one interview that a friend of mine set up for me and didnt get the job.Now this was not due to my tattoos or piercing, but to forgetting to take out my bluetooth set during the interview.

  24. BY Chris says:

    I have a lip ring and a few tattoos, one on my upper back, my right arm, and the only ones you can see is the two sets on both my wrist. I never had to cover them, like stated above “You may believe that your talent, your resume, and your interview skills will be enough to overcome any prejudice.” I know i am good at what i do and worked for many big name companies and never have they mentioned anything about my body art. This could be my personal luck. The funny thing is i had one interview that a friend of mine set up for me and didnt get the job.Now this was not due to my tattoos or piercing, but to forgetting to take out my bluetooth set during the interview.

  25. BY Bruno says:

    A question to the pro-tattoo folks: Isn’t a big part of the draw of tattoos that most people don’t have them, that you are boldly stamping your individuality (and pain tolerance and perhaps masochism) firmly and permanently out there for others to see, and that you are setting yourself apart from the flocks of plain, non-unique people out there by demonstrating your creativity, toughness, or whatever other traits you are hoping it shows about you, which likely vary in each peron’s individual case? Why then is it surprising that people would correctly perceive those motivations and conclude that you are in fact different than most people, clearly externally, and quite possibly internally since you made those choices. Tattoos, extreme piercings, etc. fit in really well with that crowd, and I would imagine that among like-minded and bodied people, you might feel a bit superior to the plain squares. Still, it is a fact that tatoo-wearers are hugely in the minority, albeit a growing one. (Note that if it weren’t you probably wouldn’t have been able to satisfy your individualist thirst through that means and would have had to find some other rare marker of individualism!) I’m pretty individualistic myself, but my preference has always been to express it in my activities and behavior. I’ve often been tempted to dabble in decorations of various sorts, but as Techiegoddess said about maintaining a blank slate, I’ve always wanted the flexibility to be whatever “by day” and then whatever else “by night.” ;-) My wife has a couple tatoos (all hidable), and I like that wild side of her too. But she was wise enough to do it in such a way that she can clean up and hit the office too. Gabriel, you made me laugh hard!

  26. BY Bruno says:

    A question to the pro-tattoo folks: Isn’t a big part of the draw of tattoos that most people don’t have them, that you are boldly stamping your individuality (and pain tolerance and perhaps masochism) firmly and permanently out there for others to see, and that you are setting yourself apart from the flocks of plain, non-unique people out there by demonstrating your creativity, toughness, or whatever other traits you are hoping it shows about you, which likely vary in each peron’s individual case? Why then is it surprising that people would correctly perceive those motivations and conclude that you are in fact different than most people, clearly externally, and quite possibly internally since you made those choices. Tattoos, extreme piercings, etc. fit in really well with that crowd, and I would imagine that among like-minded and bodied people, you might feel a bit superior to the plain squares. Still, it is a fact that tatoo-wearers are hugely in the minority, albeit a growing one. (Note that if it weren’t you probably wouldn’t have been able to satisfy your individualist thirst through that means and would have had to find some other rare marker of individualism!) I’m pretty individualistic myself, but my preference has always been to express it in my activities and behavior. I’ve often been tempted to dabble in decorations of various sorts, but as Techiegoddess said about maintaining a blank slate, I’ve always wanted the flexibility to be whatever “by day” and then whatever else “by night.” ;-) My wife has a couple tatoos (all hidable), and I like that wild side of her too. But she was wise enough to do it in such a way that she can clean up and hit the office too. Gabriel, you made me laugh hard!

  27. BY Ben Dover says:

    Job Seekers: An employer wants employees who will WELL represent their company. They don’t want workers who will scare customers/clients. Interviewers discern that an interviewee with tattoos and/or piercings has serious personal baggage, and authority issues. If the candidate is hired, their issues will manifest as disrespect, disobedience, and anti-social behavior. Here is a word to the wise, if you want a REAL JOB, choose not to get tattoos and piercings. They scream SKANK or FREAKAZOID. (Conversely, if you’re planning a career selling bongs, then go ahead and disqualify yourself from a brighter future). Since laser tattoo removal costs many, many times the price of the tattoo, you’re better off leaving your options open by avoiding that necessity from the get-go. The sooner you grow up, take responsibility for your actions, and conform to the Adult World rules, the sooner you will put yourself on a path to success. My apologies if reality causes your head to explode.

  28. BY Ben Dover says:

    Job Seekers: An employer wants employees who will WELL represent their company. They don’t want workers who will scare customers/clients. Interviewers discern that an interviewee with tattoos and/or piercings has serious personal baggage, and authority issues. If the candidate is hired, their issues will manifest as disrespect, disobedience, and anti-social behavior. Here is a word to the wise, if you want a REAL JOB, choose not to get tattoos and piercings. They scream SKANK or FREAKAZOID. (Conversely, if you’re planning a career selling bongs, then go ahead and disqualify yourself from a brighter future). Since laser tattoo removal costs many, many times the price of the tattoo, you’re better off leaving your options open by avoiding that necessity from the get-go. The sooner you grow up, take responsibility for your actions, and conform to the Adult World rules, the sooner you will put yourself on a path to success. My apologies if reality causes your head to explode.

  29. BY Techiegoddess says:

    There is a big difference between working at Costco (customer service) and working behind the scenes in a technical capacity. It’s like the difference between being a musical theater performer (need to be a bit of a “blank slate” to play many different roles) and being a rock musician (has one role, and more freedom to create a signature look).

    I have tattoos and a lip piercing, but I still find that there are far worse prejudices that effect me on a daily basis…such as those toward the fact that I am female, even though I have been in network and web engineering for over a decade. I dress respectably, and cover my art whenever I am in a professional/client contact setting. However, I certainly would not want to work for a company that puts something like the fact that I have tattoos under my blazer before my level of ability when considering me for a job. I may be a techie (and a damn good one!), but above that, I am a human being as well.

    If everyone stuck to judging people based on their brains and abilities, this whole world would be in much better shape. Companies have gone from seeing people as,well, people, to seeing them as just cogs in their money-making machines. If we keep playing into that mindset, we will continue to watch those at the top get richer and richer, while we lose ourselves just to survive.

    My two cents…I think there are much bigger issues at work here than whether or not Bob has a naked lady on his forearm. ;)

  30. BY Techiegoddess says:

    There is a big difference between working at Costco (customer service) and working behind the scenes in a technical capacity. It’s like the difference between being a musical theater performer (need to be a bit of a “blank slate” to play many different roles) and being a rock musician (has one role, and more freedom to create a signature look).

    I have tattoos and a lip piercing, but I still find that there are far worse prejudices that effect me on a daily basis…such as those toward the fact that I am female, even though I have been in network and web engineering for over a decade. I dress respectably, and cover my art whenever I am in a professional/client contact setting. However, I certainly would not want to work for a company that puts something like the fact that I have tattoos under my blazer before my level of ability when considering me for a job. I may be a techie (and a damn good one!), but above that, I am a human being as well.

    If everyone stuck to judging people based on their brains and abilities, this whole world would be in much better shape. Companies have gone from seeing people as,well, people, to seeing them as just cogs in their money-making machines. If we keep playing into that mindset, we will continue to watch those at the top get richer and richer, while we lose ourselves just to survive.

    My two cents…I think there are much bigger issues at work here than whether or not Bob has a naked lady on his forearm. ;)

  31. BY Bruno says:

    Tattooees: Isn’t a big part of the draw of tattoos that most people don’t have them and that you are boldly stamping your individuality (and pain tolerance and perhaps masochism) out there for others to see? Why then is it surprising that people would correctly perceive this and conclude that you are in fact different than most people, clearly externally, and quite possibly internally since you made those choices? It is a fact that tatoo-wearers are hugely in the minority, albeit a growing one. (Note that if it weren’t you probably would’ve needed to express your individualism through another means.) My preference is to express my individualism in my activities and behavior. I’ve been tempted to dabble in “decorations,” but as Techiegoddess said about maintaining a blank slate, I’ve always wanted the flexibility to be whatever “by day” and then whatever else “by night.” My wife has a couple tatoos (all hidable), and I like that wild side of her too. Gabriel, you made me laugh hard!

  32. BY Bruno says:

    Tattooees: Isn’t a big part of the draw of tattoos that most people don’t have them and that you are boldly stamping your individuality (and pain tolerance and perhaps masochism) out there for others to see? Why then is it surprising that people would correctly perceive this and conclude that you are in fact different than most people, clearly externally, and quite possibly internally since you made those choices? It is a fact that tatoo-wearers are hugely in the minority, albeit a growing one. (Note that if it weren’t you probably would’ve needed to express your individualism through another means.) My preference is to express my individualism in my activities and behavior. I’ve been tempted to dabble in “decorations,” but as Techiegoddess said about maintaining a blank slate, I’ve always wanted the flexibility to be whatever “by day” and then whatever else “by night.” My wife has a couple tatoos (all hidable), and I like that wild side of her too. Gabriel, you made me laugh hard!

  33. BY Techiegoddess says:

    Ben – it’s people like you that are the real problem. People who make assumptions about others and treat them poorly based on gender, appearance, skin color, religion, or orientation are more detrimental to any workplace than my ink will ever be.

  34. BY Techiegoddess says:

    Ben – it’s people like you that are the real problem. People who make assumptions about others and treat them poorly based on gender, appearance, skin color, religion, or orientation are more detrimental to any workplace than my ink will ever be.

  35. BY Raven says:

    I have to agree with Techiegoddess. When you make assumptions about people because of the way they sound, the way they dress, the art they wear, the jewelry they sport or the color of their fingernail polish and lipstick, you lower yourself to that of turtle walking down a tunnel backwards.
    I know successful tatooed biker doctors that I’d much rather see in a life or death emergency than the clean slicked up close minded doc of my parents and grandparents. I know cowboys with slow drawls and manure on their boots that could mentally run laps around 90% of the execs in the oil field business.
    And honestly, I know a lot more slick, clean, professional businessman that would stab you in the back to make an extra nickel, than ones with the tatoos here or there.
    When you are hiring, you hire an image and an ability that fits the job. If you want a model to help sell grandma her prune juice, then you probably want Carey Grant over Heath Ledgerman. But guess what.. That isn’t what most people are selling!

    Abby Shuto (NCIS) sells Goth and tattoos in a clean cut wholesome shell. I’d hire her any day!

  36. BY Raven says:

    I have to agree with Techiegoddess. When you make assumptions about people because of the way they sound, the way they dress, the art they wear, the jewelry they sport or the color of their fingernail polish and lipstick, you lower yourself to that of turtle walking down a tunnel backwards.
    I know successful tatooed biker doctors that I’d much rather see in a life or death emergency than the clean slicked up close minded doc of my parents and grandparents. I know cowboys with slow drawls and manure on their boots that could mentally run laps around 90% of the execs in the oil field business.
    And honestly, I know a lot more slick, clean, professional businessman that would stab you in the back to make an extra nickel, than ones with the tatoos here or there.
    When you are hiring, you hire an image and an ability that fits the job. If you want a model to help sell grandma her prune juice, then you probably want Carey Grant over Heath Ledgerman. But guess what.. That isn’t what most people are selling!

    Abby Shuto (NCIS) sells Goth and tattoos in a clean cut wholesome shell. I’d hire her any day!

  37. BY bama_gurl says:

    Living in the South and being a professional woman in a man’s environment is a struggle in the first place. But many here expect more of the Southern Bell mentality, which I do not have. I am a professional, educated woman that works in a typically male profession, I have a few (coverable) tattoos and ride a Harley. That is my personal life and yes I keep this private so as to avoid issues in the work place. Those who see me in a social setting or that come to my home are a little suprised but have not let it effect my reputable work relationships. Out of sheer respect for my employer and profession, I keep my personal life separate and leave it under my clothes. I don’t feel that it is too much to do to maintain my career, it is a small sacrifice that reaps many rewards. Don’t get caught up in it, your freedom to express yourself in ink is still there… you dont have to have it out in the open to prove your individuality.

  38. BY bama_gurl says:

    Living in the South and being a professional woman in a man’s environment is a struggle in the first place. But many here expect more of the Southern Bell mentality, which I do not have. I am a professional, educated woman that works in a typically male profession, I have a few (coverable) tattoos and ride a Harley. That is my personal life and yes I keep this private so as to avoid issues in the work place. Those who see me in a social setting or that come to my home are a little suprised but have not let it effect my reputable work relationships. Out of sheer respect for my employer and profession, I keep my personal life separate and leave it under my clothes. I don’t feel that it is too much to do to maintain my career, it is a small sacrifice that reaps many rewards. Don’t get caught up in it, your freedom to express yourself in ink is still there… you dont have to have it out in the open to prove your individuality.

  39. BY Rodney says:

    If an individual scares off a potential customer OR a client stops by to view work progress concerning a blade server and has already clicked off from what you are describing to her or him (tech talk or not) then YOU have created a work distraction or even worse, a work disruption. In 50 years we will all be cool; taking a dirt nap. Snap out of it and get back to work.

  40. BY Rodney says:

    If an individual scares off a potential customer OR a client stops by to view work progress concerning a blade server and has already clicked off from what you are describing to her or him (tech talk or not) then YOU have created a work distraction or even worse, a work disruption. In 50 years we will all be cool; taking a dirt nap. Snap out of it and get back to work.

  41. BY Ben Dover says:

    TG–We will have to agree to disagree. People’s outside appearance is a representation of what they are on the inside, and discernment is not merely an assumption. I believe people should be hired and promoted based on merit, so a person’s willingness to well represent their company with a professional appearance contributes to their merit. My comments were specific to this topic. Despite that, you pulled out the gender, race, religion and orientation cards. In reality, people like me are the backbone of the U.S. workforce, and we under gird the economy to the benefit of all.

  42. BY Ben Dover says:

    TG–We will have to agree to disagree. People’s outside appearance is a representation of what they are on the inside, and discernment is not merely an assumption. I believe people should be hired and promoted based on merit, so a person’s willingness to well represent their company with a professional appearance contributes to their merit. My comments were specific to this topic. Despite that, you pulled out the gender, race, religion and orientation cards. In reality, people like me are the backbone of the U.S. workforce, and we under gird the economy to the benefit of all.

  43. BY not offended says:

    If you are in a custoemr facing position, employers can expect anything they want from their employees. (within reason).
    It’s like a magazine, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it or look at it. If you don’t like the dive bars, don’t enter. But that is your choice.
    If that guy behind the counter has peircings, I have no choice but to go to his counter, that is not my choice.
    Mostly, I would die laughing at you.
    It’s good that you are working and you maybe the best, but guess what, looks are visible and stands out over any knowledge you may have that you consider greater than appearance.

  44. BY not offended says:

    If you are in a custoemr facing position, employers can expect anything they want from their employees. (within reason).
    It’s like a magazine, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it or look at it. If you don’t like the dive bars, don’t enter. But that is your choice.
    If that guy behind the counter has peircings, I have no choice but to go to his counter, that is not my choice.
    Mostly, I would die laughing at you.
    It’s good that you are working and you maybe the best, but guess what, looks are visible and stands out over any knowledge you may have that you consider greater than appearance.

  45. BY Cybertechie says:

    I agree with Miles here. Gen X is coming up and alot of them have tatts, over half the students at my kids high school have one or more. As soon as the baby boomers that are in positions of power retire and or die off, society will have no choice but to accept the inevitable. Personally, I can’t stand the suit wearing, holier than thou people who smell like they bathed in their cologne, but I do not go around making a big deal about it simply because I believe all people are entitled to their part of the American dream, whatever the definition may be for each of us. And yes, I have 14 Tattoos, all coverable. I did not get my tatts because they are pretty, I got each one when certain things or events whether bad or good occurred in my life….trials, 911, deaths, overcoming great odds and obstacles; they tell a story of my life.

  46. BY Cybertechie says:

    I agree with Miles here. Gen X is coming up and alot of them have tatts, over half the students at my kids high school have one or more. As soon as the baby boomers that are in positions of power retire and or die off, society will have no choice but to accept the inevitable. Personally, I can’t stand the suit wearing, holier than thou people who smell like they bathed in their cologne, but I do not go around making a big deal about it simply because I believe all people are entitled to their part of the American dream, whatever the definition may be for each of us. And yes, I have 14 Tattoos, all coverable. I did not get my tatts because they are pretty, I got each one when certain things or events whether bad or good occurred in my life….trials, 911, deaths, overcoming great odds and obstacles; they tell a story of my life.

  47. BY Mark says:

    Miles, Thanks for your service. I disagree with your last comment though. Comparing distaste of tattoos and piercings with racial prejudice is comparing apples to oranges. No black person made a choice to be born black. Most people with tattoos or piercings received them voluntarily. What amuses me about some of the pro-tat comments is the thin-skinned attitudes. If a person considers their tats art, and others consider them a lack of self-respect, or whatever, don’t get upset. Be happy with your choice. If you want ALL people to be just as happy with your choice as you are, that’s simply not realistic. Armageddon will probably occur before intolerance of tattoos turns to tolerance, much less full acceptance. Despite Ben’s strident tone, he didn’t say a professional appearance equals a suit and tie. Regardless, some of the pro-tat comments went about stereotyping men in suits as being less productive workers. That’s not automatic. Personally I prefer business casual or nice jeans.

  48. BY Mark says:

    Miles, Thanks for your service. I disagree with your last comment though. Comparing distaste of tattoos and piercings with racial prejudice is comparing apples to oranges. No black person made a choice to be born black. Most people with tattoos or piercings received them voluntarily. What amuses me about some of the pro-tat comments is the thin-skinned attitudes. If a person considers their tats art, and others consider them a lack of self-respect, or whatever, don’t get upset. Be happy with your choice. If you want ALL people to be just as happy with your choice as you are, that’s simply not realistic. Armageddon will probably occur before intolerance of tattoos turns to tolerance, much less full acceptance. Despite Ben’s strident tone, he didn’t say a professional appearance equals a suit and tie. Regardless, some of the pro-tat comments went about stereotyping men in suits as being less productive workers. That’s not automatic. Personally I prefer business casual or nice jeans.

  49. BY scott says:

    When you drop out of mainstream society, you’ve dropped out of the mainstream employment market.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too (or meth in many cases)

  50. BY scott says:

    When you drop out of mainstream society, you’ve dropped out of the mainstream employment market.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too (or meth in many cases)

  51. BY Mike says:

    And don’t forget to leave your iPud with (c)rap music, “nu metal”, or other noise at home.

  52. BY Mike says:

    And don’t forget to leave your iPud with (c)rap music, “nu metal”, or other noise at home.

  53. BY Withheld by request says:

    I’m a manager in an IT shop with many decades of IT technical experience. While the vast majority of technical folks never do much more with the public than interfacing with vendors, the simple fact is that the closer you are to mainstream, the better your chances of getting a good job.

    The problem is that visible body art has long represented a willingness to go against the establishment. While you may be a model citizen, volunteer for many civic functions, an all-around great person and an uber-techie, you will not get the consideration you are looking for in an interview. You’ve advertised your association with those who “rage against the machine” even if you aren’t really a troublemaker. Employers don’t want to take a chance on you really being a rebel or a bad seed that could cost them dearly in reputation or lawsuits.

    You can wear as much body art as you want. It is your right and your privilege. It is my responsibility to protect my company, its investors and its employees. We just won’t take that chance.

  54. BY Withheld by request says:

    I’m a manager in an IT shop with many decades of IT technical experience. While the vast majority of technical folks never do much more with the public than interfacing with vendors, the simple fact is that the closer you are to mainstream, the better your chances of getting a good job.

    The problem is that visible body art has long represented a willingness to go against the establishment. While you may be a model citizen, volunteer for many civic functions, an all-around great person and an uber-techie, you will not get the consideration you are looking for in an interview. You’ve advertised your association with those who “rage against the machine” even if you aren’t really a troublemaker. Employers don’t want to take a chance on you really being a rebel or a bad seed that could cost them dearly in reputation or lawsuits.

    You can wear as much body art as you want. It is your right and your privilege. It is my responsibility to protect my company, its investors and its employees. We just won’t take that chance.

  55. BY brn says:

    You can argue if it’s right or wrong, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s generally true. Heck, a lot of defenders here of body art are demonstrating their rebellious nature. More power to you, but why would someone hire someone that’s rebellious? Why does the employer have to put up with your idiosyncrasies, instead of the other way around? It may not be fair, but it’s the order of life.

  56. BY brn says:

    You can argue if it’s right or wrong, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s generally true. Heck, a lot of defenders here of body art are demonstrating their rebellious nature. More power to you, but why would someone hire someone that’s rebellious? Why does the employer have to put up with your idiosyncrasies, instead of the other way around? It may not be fair, but it’s the order of life.

  57. BY me says:

    I am an IT Guy who has worked for several large companies and have tats on my legs and arms. Now its a given when I go to an interview I do not wear shorts and a tee shirt I wear a business suit. but then I adapt to the expected attire for work. I have had CIO, CEO and CFO’s see my tats and they do not care as long as their network is running. I have presently moved to Oregon which I guess is a more evolved state because you see tatted people in Costco and Whole food and as long as they do their job they are fine. people are people I got my tats because I started with a tat of my daugther which lead to more tats because I like the art it has nothing to do with my ability as a IT person. I wonder if I got a tat of a rack with some blade servers on my back could I go to an interview shirtless.

  58. BY me says:

    I am an IT Guy who has worked for several large companies and have tats on my legs and arms. Now its a given when I go to an interview I do not wear shorts and a tee shirt I wear a business suit. but then I adapt to the expected attire for work. I have had CIO, CEO and CFO’s see my tats and they do not care as long as their network is running. I have presently moved to Oregon which I guess is a more evolved state because you see tatted people in Costco and Whole food and as long as they do their job they are fine. people are people I got my tats because I started with a tat of my daugther which lead to more tats because I like the art it has nothing to do with my ability as a IT person. I wonder if I got a tat of a rack with some blade servers on my back could I go to an interview shirtless.

  59. BY Susan says:

    I don’t think visible body art currently represents a willingness to go against the establishment; in fact, I think it currently represents a strong desire to conform to one’s peer expectations. I.e., a 20-something with tattoos is pretty much a sheep as far as I’m concerned. I’d have a lot more respect for a 20-something who did NOT run out to tattoo him/herself. Not to mention a lot of us find tattoos truly repulsive.

  60. BY Susan says:

    I don’t think visible body art currently represents a willingness to go against the establishment; in fact, I think it currently represents a strong desire to conform to one’s peer expectations. I.e., a 20-something with tattoos is pretty much a sheep as far as I’m concerned. I’d have a lot more respect for a 20-something who did NOT run out to tattoo him/herself. Not to mention a lot of us find tattoos truly repulsive.

  61. BY Misinformation. says:

    Tattoos have absolutely nothing to do with being ‘tough’ or ‘trying to stand out’. It’s simply a form of self expression like any other art. It’s about being comfortable with yourself, and presenting yourself as such.

  62. BY Misinformation. says:

    Tattoos have absolutely nothing to do with being ‘tough’ or ‘trying to stand out’. It’s simply a form of self expression like any other art. It’s about being comfortable with yourself, and presenting yourself as such.

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