28 May 2008

Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace

Let's face it. Many young people nowadays have tattoos and piercings and they are coming into the workforce. I remember the first time I saw a young lawyer with an eyebrow piercing. I thought she was brave to wear it in a profession that was very 'old school', but now I am seeing it more and more.

At the gym I saw a young woman with a tattoo on her arm from her wrist to her shoulder. I think she likes it, but what do her co-workers think?

Click here for an article on just that.

My thoughts have always been, be discreet with tattoos. What you like when you are young, you may not appreciate when you are older and tattoos are so permanent. My daughter wanted to get a tattoo when she was a teenager. The only advice I gave her was not to get a tattoo of a rose on her breast. I said a lot of women who start out with a short stem rose, are very surprised to find when they get older that they have a very long stem rose.

Is it only Wednesday today? Hopefully, this article will help get you over the hump...


Dr. Lois Frankel said...

I agree that tattoos and piercings have become more common, Patricia, but I'm going to take it a step further. Where you put your tattoo and what your tattoo is (flower, dragon, etc.) is a reflection on your judgement. Prominent body art is a serious liability in the workplace. Think long and hard about what you put on your body.

Patricia Robb said...

Thank you Dr. Frankel for your comments. I agree 100%. If only the young people will listen because it is very hard to remove a tattoo without leaving a scar of some sort, and even some piercings can leave a scar.


Chrissy Scivicque said...

Hey Patricia - first let me say that I love your blog! I'm so glad to have found it through your comments on OfficeArrow.

Anyway, here are my experiences with this: I've always been the "younger" one in every office I've worked in. I've also worked in some pretty conservative places. I have a few tattoos and one (on my foot) that is somewhat difficult to hide when wearing a skirt. I also have a scar on my eyebrow from an old eyebrow ring in high school. I don't know if this has hindered me in any way in my professional career, but it has definitely "characterized" me. I remember when my previous boss saw my foot tattoo he was so perplexed. He was in his 70's and was just amazed. After that he was always asking me what kind of crazy antics I got into over the weekend. I suddenly became his "crazy young assistant". Even though I was probably the most professional person in the office and I certainly dressed the most professionally. I think in some ways, I almost HAD to do that - go over and beyond to show I wasn't some wild and crazy punk.

On the other hand, I look at my generation and I feel like the majority of us have tattoos. So this won't really be an issue when we're the ones in the corner offices ;)

Patricia Robb said...

So what you are saying is there will be a lot of people with long stem roses :)

I told my daughter that I was happy that I wouldn't be around when all these tattooed people start moving into the old-age homes. That could be a bit comical if you really think about it. But I do realize that many of these people will be assisting me when I am a senior so I am not complaining...

On a more serious note, I was considering that very thing when I brought up the topic. There are more and more people in the office with piercings and tattoos. If you went to the link I referenced they quoted a statistic that said people feel uncomfortable around people with tattoos and piercings.

I think as the younger generation moves into the office it will take a bit of getting used to, but as you say, eventually they will be the ones in the corner offices, it's just what do we do in the meantime?

I wonder what challenges your generation will have to face from those coming up after you?

I really like OfficeArrow by the way. Excellent writing and content.


Babyanne said...

Hello Patricia,

This is the first chance I have had to read this post...One of those busy weeks. I am 37 and have a tattoo on my back that is quite large (about 4" by 6") but I purposely put it in the middle of my upper back to conceal it while at work (backless tops still aren't appropriate in my mind for workplace attire) I did however sit on the design for over 3 years and didn't go into it lightly for the very points you brought up. It is a celtic knot representing my husband and I so there is real meaning.

When I was getting it a coworker of mine side "what if you are 80 and have a sagging back" my response was "then I shouldn't be wearing a backless shirt at that point!!"

I agree that the workplace demographics are changing but I also think that one should think, as Chrissy very eloquently stated, that "typcasting" very well may happen. It might not be fair but it might happen.

Thanks for listening