Think before you ink

Visible tattoos still viewed as part of the counterculture

Tattooing has been an art form and means of expression throughout history. However, the trend of tattooing has taken on a whole new means of expression.

Colorful arm sleeves and elaborate back art are now replacing small tattoos. Areas once thought as forbidden for body ink are now acceptable places for marking. The idea of “it’s alright as long as no one sees it” has become a thought of the past. Facial tattoos, hand art and stretched earlobe plugs are part of a subculture influenced by self-expression and fashion.

Though our younger generation has accepted the sight of visible body art, there still lies a preconceived notion in regard to professional employment that can negatively influence those with visible tattoos.

The sight of visibly tattooed doctors, lawyers, professors and politicians has yet to become a societal norm that can allow those with extreme body art to show their tattoos in a hiring office without it influencing an employer’s decision. Even if hired, employers adamantly request employees cover visible tattoos with bandages to comply with company norms and dress code policies. Some companies may even have policies where visible tattoos are considered inappropriate to employment.

Though we have accepted the sight of leisurely seeing our friends with extreme body ink and other forms of body modification, wide-ranged acceptance in a professional environment has yet to be achieved.

Regardless of the personal significance, physical beauty or meaning behind a tattoo, they are often still associated with a “bad boy” personality. This can alienate would-be employers and cause individuals to feel discriminated or stereotyped in the workplace. Since it appears to be a long time before a tattoo-covered politician is accepted into the White House, consider how the people you’ll shake hands with in the business world will receive the new ink you’re thinking about getting.