Tattoos and piercings in the work place

Erica Maxwell
Features Writer

Everywhere you look in this day in age you see people with some sort of body art: tattoos, piercings, or both. Tattoos have become a way in which many express themselves. Lots of planning and careful drawing by the artist goes into it. One in four adults now have beautiful ink designs placed on their bodies but not everyone thinks that these works of art are actually art.
One main argument that surrounds students who get tattoos is that they will not be accepted in the workplace. Most students who plan on entering the professional world think about that very possibility, so they carefully plan where each design will go and how it can be hidden. This is a way to have a tattoo without giving up the possibility of being a professional.
Ashley Carver, a senior at Millersville, has 15 tattoos and is in love with each and every one of them, calling her body a “canvas.” When asked if she thought her tattoos that could not be hidden would hinder her job searches she said, “I honestly think that with so many people that have tattoos entering the workforce that they will have to accept tattoos in the workplace now. I have already gone on a few interviews and my ink has never come up, each one of my possible employers seemed more interested in my abilities to do the work than the fact I had tattoos.”

Sophomore Angelique Robinson shows off her tattoos which are song lyrics that keep her moving.

This seems to be a common thought among many students and some teachers as well. Dr. Susan Mclean, a retired Communications professor from the University of Maryland, said that 10 years ago she thought that anyone who had tattoos could not be a professional but this has changed drastically.
“Some of my best students had more than one tattoo and loved everything about those they did have. I have realized, as I believe most employers probably have as well, that having a tattoo or a piercing does not mean you are unintelligent or unprofessional, and should in no way be a determining factor when getting a job,” she says.
This seems to be a recurring thought and for many allows a bit of breathing room, but the key is to make sure that anything you place on your body can be covered.
Dr. Mclean did mention that facial piercings and tattoos that are obscene or that cannot be covered up (or mostly covered up) may change the way a future employer will look at you. “An earring sticking out of your chin or cheekbone may definitely affect the way an employer looks at you, as will a giant tattoo that you have shown no interest in trying to cover up.”
Brad Dean, a tattoo artist from Time Bomb Tattoo in Fredrick, agrees with Dr. Mclean. Dean is an educated man who is also an award-winning tattoo artist. He says “Think a lot about any tattoo you are going to get; make sure it means something to you and is something you will want to look at every day for the rest of your life. Remember to think about your future and if you know it may need to be able to be covered up at some point that it is in a place that will allow for that to happen.”
Dean continued to say that piercings and tattoos are a great way to show self-expression and each tattoo can tell a story and have meaning to the individual who it belongs too.