For decades, tattoos have been used as a way to express creativity, exhibit special meaning, and show some differentiation from normal society. Many tattoos have special meaning, but some are just applied on skin to look pretty. Regardless of the reasoning, tattoos have been viewed as unprofessional and rebellious in most workplaces since the beginning of tattoo culture, unless you worked at Hot Topic or something along those lines. With the times always and forever changing, will tattoos continue to affect job opportunities, or will big bosses and CEO’s begin to solely focus on qualifications, rather than physical appearance?
Being someone who is probably going to want a few tattoos in the future, I feel as if I shouldn’t have to worry about the placement of my tattoos if I am a qualified professional who knows what I am doing in my field of work. I feel that society’s views on tattoos have been changing drastically in the past several years, but I have seen little to no change of mind in workplaces, mostly corporate, making me question the reason as to why it’s such a big deal to employers. Being a marketing major, most of my job opportunities will be in corporate, and if corporate society remains the way it is, most of my job rejections will be from corporate if I decide to add art to my body.
For some reason there is a preconceived notion (thanks to some close minded, older generations) that people with tattoos are delinquents and have no drive to work and succeed. Interesting, because, hm, there seems to be no correlation between having art on your skin and having a fully functional brain, and possibly a college degree, that qualifies you to be a success driven worker. If I were to see someone in a very corporate workplace with tattoos, I’d most likely think about how interesting the art on their skin looks and how open minded their company is. I would most definitely not judge that person and think that the person is the “scum of the earth,” like many employers seem to believe. If a company trusted a tattooed person enough to hire them, I would trust them just as much, since they are clearly qualified on the company’s standards. If my doctor I have been going to for years decided to get a full sleeve of tattoos, I wouldn’t trust him any less than I have since I was younger, since I know he is certified and qualified to be a doctor. So, what makes the difference if an extremely qualified, highly motivated person, who happens to be tattooed, applies for a prestigious job? There is no reason to trust them any less in a work setting.
From my own firsthand relationships, some tattooed people I know are the hardest, most driven workers I have ever met who are forced to work in a low paying, dead end workplace, even though they have so much more potential to live up to. I can remember when I first applied to jobs a few years ago and read some company guidelines, basically stating that body art and any form of creativity has no place in the workplace and is too much of a distraction from the company’s “outstanding prestige.” These were literally guidlines for a part time job at a shoe store. In all honesty, who thinks or even cares about the “outstanding prestige” of a shoe store when you really just want a new pair of shoes?
Although many corporate, as well as some non-corporate, companies are still very “anti-tattoo,” there are some companies that are tattoo friendly, including, MAC cosmetics, Ticketmaster, Amazon, and Google. If other corporate companies follow in these companies’ footsteps, a good portion of corporate America would be tattoo friendly by the time I graduate in 2020, which would be a very positive, significant improvment to the workforce. I just hope that in the near future companies and practices open up more to tattoed people. You never know, the cure for cancer or the next great inventor could be a tattooed individual who was never given the chance to show off their success and what they can accomplish.