Opinion: Tattoos shouldn’t determine your future

I nervously laid down on the black leather table and mentally prepared myself for the temporary pain I was about to experience. The buzzing of the tattoo gun filled my ears and the needle pierced into my inner bicep.

I was in a Denver, Colo. tattoo shop getting inked. It was my third tattoo.

It’s visible at times. In some short-sleeved T-shirts and most certainly, sleeveless tops, the thin black lines emerge.

When it comes to whether or not this decision was right for my future employment, I’ve heard it all.

“The economy is bad. There’s no room to be choosy.”

“The job market is competitive. Employers want clean cut employees.”

“Your skin will stretch and sag. The tattoo won’t look nearly as good on your aging body.”

But I love tattoos—the colorful stories behind each one, the memories they embody and the beautiful art form of tattooing keeps me captivated and wanting more.

Some say it was a risky choice because there are certain workplaces that disapprove of visible body art. I don’t want to work in an environment that doesn’t want me—tattoos and all. I don’t mean to come off as brash or naive, but I am confident in my educational background and my professional experience. I do not fear finding employment upon graduation.

As I grow, my body will experience physical changes that I will loathe. It’s inevitable. Stretch marks, wrinkles and spots will appear on my body, but I will not regret the distorted images and text that hold great meaning.

This is not meant to be an advertising ploy for the local tattoo shops, but I do want to pose questions to those who fear the wrath of the job market and their future 70-year-old body: Would you consider tattoo removal if a potential workplace didn’t approve? If you are considering a tattoo, what aspects are preventing you from making the appointment? Can tattoos exist in the workplace?

Inked or not, let’s keep the conversation going.

Photo used with permission of Sarah Fiorillo 


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    So far I’ve made sure that all my tattoos can be easily hidden when dressed professionally. I’d like to think that I’ll always be able to work somewhere that will accept me for me, the whole package, or that by the time I’ve reached that point in my career, tattoos won’t be considered so taboo, but the reality is that MANY places still consider it ‘unprofessional,’ and not everyone has something to fall back on if even places like Wal Mart or McDonalds won’t hire them because of their tattoos. To each their own, but I’m keeping mine easily hidden for now because I’m smart enough to realize that thing don’t always go as planned.

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