Op-Eds Opinion

Tattoos and Professionalism

Matthew A. Harris

Staff Writer

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Photo courtesy kariaddisonbeautiful.com

Since the turn of the century, once known as taboo, tattoos have become a staple in American culture.


Tattoos have gone from “low status” material to self expression through personal triumphs. Nowadays, wherever you look, it is not unusual to see people showing off their body ink.


With the rapid growth among tattoos in millennials, there is one question that still lingers: Does having tattoos make you unprofessional?


“Absolutely not,” said Sophomore Drew Nirchio, “What’s on your body doesn’t change who [you] are. If you take Bill Gates and you put a tattoo on him, does that make him any less successful or any less of a businessman?”


“I do not think it’s unprofessional for workers to have tattoos, as long as they are appropriate tattoos,” said sophomore Kellse Ericson. “Tattoos are a form of self expression.”


Companies and businesses want to abide by the standards and guidelines in which they implemented, however, with more and more of the population getting tattooed, these requirements for the positions available have since diminished. Companies have compromised and work around the fact that more and more applicants will be inked.  


High status jobs such as Doctors, entrepreneurs, broadcasters, and many more professions have workers with tattoos. We (the public) just don’t realize this because the workers have their ink covered up by jackets or suits.


“I don’t think it matters what your profession is. I think you should be able to have tattoos showing because for me personally, if I go somewhere where somebody is working and they have have tattoos showing, I feel more comfortable,” said Ericson


“In certain instances it is true that first impression matter, so if they have something unprofessional like a neck tattoo of a dragon or something like that, for sales purposes that wouldn’t look great,” said Nirchio.


The general population keeps hearing that tattoos are a form of self expression. It has no direct correlation to someone’s work ethic. “For me the meaning of a tattoo is what’s gone on in my life, what i’ve gone through, things that inspire me,” said Nirchio. “Both of mine have a lot of meaning. One, my brother is a true inspiration to me. So I got his birth year on my arm, and the other one is a quote about not giving up even when life gets really tough.”


So should management of a business focus on how the person performs their job rather than what they look like on the job?


Job Employers should only have one goal in the hiring process, and that is to find the best candidate for the position based on their skill set. This has nothing to do with how someone looks.


It all depends on the job. If one was to work for a fast food restaurant, chances are having tattoos won’t particularly matter. If you work at a school, chances are the policy states to cover it up. If you’re a businessman it’s alright to have tattoos due to the fact that you’re always going to be wearing a suit. We tend to want to show self expression, but sometimes we have to cover it up to maintain status and reputation.

Even though tattoos are becoming more acceptable in the workplace and in society, some may still feel uncomfortable showing off their ink when trying to snag a job. “ I would say cover up, because I am afraid that people will profile me and I wouldn’t want that to get in the way of getting a good job,” said Nirchio.


“From what I’ve experienced with people, what you look like and what you have on your body doesn’t show your work ethic. It doesn’t show who you are on the inside and what you choose to show of yourself. It doesn’t show if you’re a hard worker or a nice person. You can’t judge any of those characteristics based off of someone’s appearance,” said. Kellse Ericson


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