As I gear up to get my third tattoo done, one of the first questions I find myself wondering is, “How am I going to hide this if I ever need to?” It then came to my attention that that fact alone is one of the main reasons I’m only on tattoo number three.
Unfortunately, this is the case for most young people as they decide whether or not to risk job opportunities in order to get some ink. Why is this? Tattoos are nothing more than a statement— similar to wearing a colorful tie or fancy earrings—so why are these other things acceptable in the workplace while tattoos aren’t?
It’s 2016; the stigma that tattoos are unprofessional needs to end.
A 2015 survey revealed that around three in 10 Americans have at least one tattoo. This was a huge jump from 2 in 10 just four years earlier. A stunning 47 percent of adult millennials have ink. It is a growing form of self-expression, and the workplace needs to update the way they view tattoos.
Tattoos can mean anything to a person. Whether it’s a quote, a dedication to a loved one, or simply a piece of art they enjoy, tattoos are just another way to express ourselves. Some even believe that their tattoos help define who they are. So why are they so looked down upon while working?
Imagine this: you are at the doctor’s office. Your nurse walks in to take your blood pressure when you suddenly notice that she has a small tattoo on her arm. Do you freak out and refuse to let her take your blood pressure? Of course not. It’s an absurd thought to think that a picture on someone’s skin better determines their medical knowledge than their nursing certification and college degree.
So now that we’ve determined that a tattoo doesn’t define intelligence, we need to get rid of this universal stigma that it does. We shouldn’t have to hide our ink in fear of not getting hired because of it. My body is not my resume, and it does not show how qualified or unqualified I am to do my job. If things like gender, race, sexuality, or age don’t play a factor in the workplace, then my tattoos shouldn’t either.
I view my body as a blank canvas just waiting to be covered in art. I should not have to limit myself because of what my future employer might think. I will be college educated, have real world experience, and a friendly and professional interview. Shouldn’t that be enough to get me hired? The choices I make with my body should not play any part in that process.
Now more than ever, jobs are becoming more and more accepting of tattoos. Society is becoming comfortable with teachers, caregivers, doctors, police officers, and lawyers sporting tattoos. Parents are caring less and less about whether or not the people handling their children have visible tattoos. The stigma is finally dying, but it’s time to get rid of it once and for all. It’s 2016. The time is now.
The world is constantly changing, but tattoos seem to be a trend that will not be going away anytime soon. Outdated policies on tattoos need to be changed, otherwise in a few years there may not be any non-tattooed people left to hire.