Choosing Tattoos Over Job Prospects?

March 8, 2011  |  

by R. Asmerom

Sometimes, you gotta wonder: how does a young person cover himself with tattoos and not think about the consequences? Is he just living in the moment? Sure, many artists and idols in popular culture like Lil Wayne and Travis Barker help make the tattooed look appear cool and unique but they also work in an industry where self-expression is not regulated.

For many people who don’t have the opportunity to work as a professional artist or for a forward thinking tech firm, uniforms, dress code and professional appearance are still part of the corporate workplace dynamic. “Sporting a “sleeve”, an arm full of tattoos, or a scorpion across your neck, may work in some office environments but the majority of corporate cultures still frown on tattoos and piercings,” said Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in corporate etiquette training. “When a college student or young adult is interviewing for a job, a tattoo can make an unfavorable impression, even if the impression is not verbalized.”

It is evident that for many young people, factoring career advancement into their decisions to get tattoos is not a priority. It’s testimony to an evolution of the perspective on career, work and life. “Gen Xers began the modern tattoo trend as body art and many were thoughtful about having tattoos that could be easily covered,” said Diane Spiegel, CEO of The End Result, a firm specializing in corporate training and leadership development. Millennials have taken this art form to the next level and view it as an extension of their brand, who they are, what they believe, how they view the world and many are not concerned that there will be any consequences.”

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  • Chris

    Wow WingtipOxfords, you got away with writing so horribly and arguing like an ignorant?

  • WingtipOxfords

    Guess what, I probably make more than all of the persons who feel like having a tattoo hinders you. 21 with a full body suit, working for the government and making more money in a year than you may gross in a lifetime. and yes im a African American without a degree as well. Xoolboy & Lovi you guys sound ignorant.

  • T from Houston

    This is why being black is hard. Everything blacks do is under a microscope. Everything that blacks do is perceived to have some negative agenda or has derived from something negative. If you take notice to this article it has a general tone but when you look at these comments posted you see what race is on the platform being judged even though there was no mention of any race of people. To mention lil wayne as an example of someone flaunting numerous tattoos before many others such as tons of rockers now and before who have been sporting this look should be considered disrespectful. Yes some people do see tattoos as trend and they follow it, thats no different than any other trend that we as people follow. Is this a silly trend, no it is not, it is something that will actually define a generation just as short dresses define the women of early america as they stepped out of the social norm. If finding a job is a problem for these people who sport these tats then that is there problem and a problem that their dealing with. The problem is not people standing out it people trying to hard to fit the mold. its people like u who bash others for being themselves when honestly, you wish u could live a free and optional as they seem to be.

  • openminded

    Where is it written that the only successful job a person can have is in Corporate America? Fact of the matter is that people are going to work where they are happy and they are accepted. Who knows what goals a person may have, where they currently work, how educated they are, what their upbringing was, etc. The guy with a full sleeve could definitely be his own boss OR yours, or even be the one protecting the wall while you sleep at night, yet you still judge this person not knowing one fact about them.

    I'm 27, I deal with clients on an international level and take pride in my work. Tattoos have helped me cope, helped me celebrate, & honor. In my years of working my way up the ladder, I have never been kicked off one of the rungs because of who I am. My work speaks for itself, not my tattoos.

  • your2sheltered

    If you think getting a tattoo is the only way to get Hep C you are sadly mistaken and being that you are in your late 20's I would hope you are more educated than the comment you made. And to give you a bit of knowledge a majority of those that do get tattoos are smart enough to know that if the needle was not opened in front of them, to include the needle for shading, than they can either tell the artist to get a new set or walk away. These people aren't dirty they are just different than you. Scary…I know.

  • No tattoos for me! #swag

  • Veronica

    Tattoos are so unattractive. They, in my opinion, make people look unclean…as if they need a bath. I love it when men are tattoo free….no ink on their bodies at all. I won't even talk about how tacky it is to see women who have tats on their chests, necks,and faces. Why?

    The truth of the matter is that shallow people follow these so called "stars" and emulate their trends. Thus, the thinking is that if Lil Wayne has tats everywhere and he's famous and gets the women, then having a tat must be what women like, etc..". Silly. Don't put anything permanently on your body, period. Doing so is like making a commitment to wear the same hairstyle for the rest of your life. Again, silly.

  • Tattoo's is not a representation of one's character. Tattoo's represents self expression. The freedom that this country his given everyone. I have tattoo's, on my neck, arms, etc I work in corporate America. Time's have changed. You can not in this day of age react to a tattoo as if a verbal disagreement between the associate and the employer. I work harder then most of the people that is on here reading this post as well probably make more money then the ones that have something to say negative about tattoos.

    We live in different times now where tattoos aren't as bad as they use to be considered back in the day.

  • lacesyn

    u dont kno what u talkin about…………ur trying 2 tell some1 how 2 live…….this is the problem corporate america………just cuz u have tattoos doesnt mean that u a bad worker or person……that person could work much more harder then the person that doesnt that person with tattoos could b a better over all person then the person with out…tattoos just tell a story it doesnt tell what type of person he/she is or nothin like that..

  • rubi

    I do actually ask myself where this people work at, but I always find that some of them work at very cool places where they choose to, maybe we should decide what place works for us when trying to get a job not how would we work for them?

    Anyways last time I checked we all had one life. And yeah some pieces of art are not good when it comes to put it on your flesh but that it's not the point of tattoos.

  • truthbtold

    There is no art that I like well enough to let someone put it on my flesh! All of these individuals are walking around displaying tats as if they are the artist. You are the moron (the canvas) that's displaying someone else's work, someone else's skill. Most of the art never looks good enough to display on the walls of your home, let alone on your flesh. It's just like grafitti, you can find some really cool – very artistic work, but would you want it on the outside of your house?

    • Lacesyn

      N thats good 4 u……..tattoos been around as loung as we was here……been here b4 this new world….all yall tryin 2 do is tell some1 how 2 live…..