Tattoos/Professionalism

An unknown artist at their place of work preparing to give a customer a tattoo.

Although we, as a society, have become more accustomed to tattoos and piercings, some individuals have the opinion that something on one’s body makes them unprofessional in the workforce, when in reality, this is quite untrue. 

Tattoos and piercings are just physical aspects of a person’s body. One’s intelligence is characterized by how smart they are, what goes on in their mind as well as their work ethic and professionalism in their place of work. Intelligence is not defined by physical features that are on one’s body.

Students all around the United States and even at East Carolina University might struggle with finding a job post-graduation because of their body art since it can be seen as unprofessional. According to CollegiateTimes, 29% of Americans have at least one tattoo. Denying someone a job for their body art is a form of discrimination, because it is based on their physical appearance.

This discrimination is not as severe as that against people of different races, ethnicities, gender or sexual orientation, but basic human rights are still being denied due to their appearance. Some places of work may even ask their employees with tattoos to cover them up with either bandages, makeup or long sleeves. 

Personally, I have seven tattoos on my body, alongside having multiple piercings in my ears. I’ve had some of these tattoos and piercings since I was 18 years of age, and it hasn't changed my work ethic or my professionalism in my place of work. 

Currently, at almost 22 years old, I work at my apartment complex’s front office, and I’ve been working with The East Carolinian, for over two years. My tattoos and piercings do not define my work ethic or how professional I am. When I am told to do something wherever I am, I always do it to the best of my ability, the task gets completed and I always make sure it is accurate. Even when I am not asked to do a specific job from my workplaces, the duty at hand always gets completed in an effective way despite the body art I have.

I do my jobs well. My tattoos and my piercings have no correlation with how I perform at my places of work. My body art does not deem me unprofessional, nor others. 

I would like to be a news anchor on camera when I graduate college and get a salaried job at a news station. I am afraid I will have to cover up my tattoos even though I am great at reporting on and off camera. I should not have to be worried about my body art, because I know I can do my job well.

We, as a country and society, have improved in regards to being more accepting to those with body art, but we still have a ways to go. Some businesses still discriminate against body art, and I think this is unacceptable.

Some people who have tattoos and piercings may be unprofessional in the workforce, but is it because of their body art? I think not. I think they are unprofessional because of deeper issues. Such as how they grew up with their parents and seeing how they work, how their previous jobs treated them, how they performed at those workforces. 

Although some individuals see body art as rebellious and irresponsible in their personal lives, that still does not define professionalism in the workforce. I know several people who have body art and are not unprofessional. They complete every task at hand to the best of their ability even though they have several tattoos and body piercings.

I understand some businesses might be hesitant to hire someone with body art because there is an amount of people who have tattoos and piercings who are not up to par in their work ethics. However, not all people who have physical alterations are like those few who lack work integrity and responsibility.

If you want to get tattoos and piercings, I say do it. If workplaces deny you the opportunity to work for them due to your body art, it’s on them. Body art does not define who you are.

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