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Can't get a job? A tattoo might help.

By Chicago Tribune

Nora Flanagan’s first tattoos hid strategically under her clothing. An aspiring teacher, Flanagan worried the ink could cost her a jobRead full story

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  • When I was teaching high school my tattoos were assets. The only place I ever felt like it was an issue was when I was in meetings with suits in DC, or consulting in Jordan (where the issue was probably more that I was a tattooed American woman not covered). I have held back with getting more, and what I have can be covered if needed, and I would still recommend subtlety and tact, but most importantly have a story and have it be authentic to you. I have small astronomical tattoos connected to my

    When I was teaching high school my tattoos were assets. The only place I ever felt like it was an issue was when I was in meetings with suits in DC, or consulting in Jordan (where the issue was probably more that I was a tattooed American woman not covered). I have held back with getting more, and what I have can be covered if needed, and I would still recommend subtlety and tact, but most importantly have a story and have it be authentic to you. I have small astronomical tattoos connected to my love of space science, and I can always lead into who I am through my tattoo. However, a large cartoon character tattoo on your calf might not age as well.

  • Kavitha Davidson
    Kavitha DavidsonSportswriter

    Love this. I have two tattoos -- both of which are easily hidden (not that that should matter), one of which is the chakra from the Indian flag. I'd love to hear an argument for why this is unprofessional in 2018.

  • Peter Green
    Peter GreenFounder at FoodMakers.NYC

    Nobody cares about ink. That’s why newspapers are dying and NewsPicks will succeed.

  • While I fully applaud this study... because I think we need to allow for employees to be authentic at work, I don’t know if I fully believe this.

    My 19 year old just had an internship in the film business — so a creative field — and as part of the program they were given advice by career coaches. And they were told in no uncertain terms that to be “hireable” they should avoid any second piercings, tattoos... basically anything that made then “not vanilla” was the takeaway. Their advice “don’t give

    While I fully applaud this study... because I think we need to allow for employees to be authentic at work, I don’t know if I fully believe this.

    My 19 year old just had an internship in the film business — so a creative field — and as part of the program they were given advice by career coaches. And they were told in no uncertain terms that to be “hireable” they should avoid any second piercings, tattoos... basically anything that made then “not vanilla” was the takeaway. Their advice “don’t give them a reason not to hire you.”

    While I get this advice I would very much hope that we can move beyond this. I’m so tired of panels that tell women in particular that they can’t wear hose, to wear red lipstick etc.

    We need to get to a place where we don’t judge a book by its cover. Where we allow for diversity. And where our corporations are places that the younger generation doesn’t feel stifled.

  • Alex Lockie
    Alex LockieNews Editor at Business Insider

    tattoos are way more acceptable now, but it still depends. depends on the person, the job, and the tat. that said, my pastor has full sleeves.

  • Yep saw this one coming. Besides of the fact of popularity of the tattoos it is worth drawing attention that they rarely mean anything... except purely aesthetic value. In other words they are not expressing: “i love you Anne” or “X 1971-2004”... they are just a form of art.

    But since the art is politics, often unintentionally, it does actually means a lot: concerns and aspirations of people and the state of society in general. From this perspective the current tattoo wave is very mad-maxish and post apocalyptical.

  • This interesting study found no adverse employment outcomes for the tattooed, regardless of whether they were men or women, blue-collar or white-collar workers, in management or not. #HR

  • Anthony Duignan-Cabrera
    Anthony Duignan-CabreraCEO at ADC Strategy

    Queer culture created tattoo culture in the early '90s. REsearch magazine's "Modern Primitives" issue turned every alt-rock rebel into a sexual provocateur—pearls embedded in your privates, Maori family symbology across your shoulder, Chinese characters that didn't mean what you thought it meant. Seriously, unless you're a Yakuza hitman, those sleeves just look silly if all you do is make craft beer or if you're a barista. Having a tattoo is like having a pet, you have to maintain it or it fades

    Queer culture created tattoo culture in the early '90s. REsearch magazine's "Modern Primitives" issue turned every alt-rock rebel into a sexual provocateur—pearls embedded in your privates, Maori family symbology across your shoulder, Chinese characters that didn't mean what you thought it meant. Seriously, unless you're a Yakuza hitman, those sleeves just look silly if all you do is make craft beer or if you're a barista. Having a tattoo is like having a pet, you have to maintain it or it fades and bleeds. Or as a friend of mine, wise beyond his years once said, "tattoos are like a$$#0les: everyone has one, but we all don't need to see it."

  • Mark  White
    Mark White Founder at White Label Media

    I don’t think ink has become main stream yet, can you imagine anyone at Goldman or Morgan Stanley sporting visible tats? I never had any interest until Anthony Boudain, but I don’t think I could pull of Boudain-like tattoos. Hiding some dozy mini ink symbol on my ankle seems like a big cop out.

  • The NY Times ran a piece on face tattoos this week. Specifically about how face tattoos are no longer taboo. It will be interesting to see if they become acceptable in corporate culture.

  • Kyo Kaku
    Kyo KakuVice President at China-Japan J/V

    There is a huge difference between the judgement based on tattoos and that on looks. What tattoos represent is not “who they are,” but ”who you want to be”, meaning it is their own choice to have tattoos, while people’s looks are congenital and intrinsically represent “who you are.”

    So I don’t think it’s fair to punish companies for eliminating tattooed candidates.

    I always wonder what the inked expect their tattoo will look like after 40 years on their spotted wrinkled skin.

    A gorgeous angel on

    There is a huge difference between the judgement based on tattoos and that on looks. What tattoos represent is not “who they are,” but ”who you want to be”, meaning it is their own choice to have tattoos, while people’s looks are congenital and intrinsically represent “who you are.”

    So I don’t think it’s fair to punish companies for eliminating tattooed candidates.

    I always wonder what the inked expect their tattoo will look like after 40 years on their spotted wrinkled skin.

    A gorgeous angel on your shoulder may be reduced to an evil black spotted pig or something worse.

    Having said all that, tattoo may work in freedom America, or the West EU, but never expect the same outside your world. Tattooed teachers will face a severe backlash in the East Asia and you will be socially bullied

    until you feel like running away.

  • Amanda Smith
    Amanda SmithCommercial Insurance Agent

    Things change. Possibly, 50 years ago, tattoos did tag “scary people”. Maybe that’s, statistically, exactly what it meant back then. Since I’ve been alive though, they’ve never meant that to me. Tattoos have always indicated to me that a person has a story to tell. Tattoos are now associated with sentimental people (to me anyways). I always ask people what they’re tattoos mean and they always tell me a long story. Sometimes these stories are so cute and a lot of the times they are meaningful. Some

    Things change. Possibly, 50 years ago, tattoos did tag “scary people”. Maybe that’s, statistically, exactly what it meant back then. Since I’ve been alive though, they’ve never meant that to me. Tattoos have always indicated to me that a person has a story to tell. Tattoos are now associated with sentimental people (to me anyways). I always ask people what they’re tattoos mean and they always tell me a long story. Sometimes these stories are so cute and a lot of the times they are meaningful. Some people have tattoos that are personal and deep.

    The only reason I don’t have any is because I simply don’t want to spend my money on that. If I had $500 I would not buy a tattoo, but that’s just me and I don’t represent the entire population. Also, I’m just not a sentimental person. On an unrelated note, I have a needle phobia (hehe).

    Times change, so do tattoo stigmas :)

  • Tattoos still matter, particularly to what is it your trying so desperately to communicate!.

    Whether it is a social tat "my friends and I decided we would all get one" . Or If it's decorative, a beauty tat, accentuating a feature on your body. Or hiding an injury from an accident or a scar.

    These all tell a benign story, far from the ones were the tats tell a deeper darker tale of struggle and triumph, or demons one might still be battling with. Or perhaps a trophy tat or belonging to club, like

    Tattoos still matter, particularly to what is it your trying so desperately to communicate!.

    Whether it is a social tat "my friends and I decided we would all get one" . Or If it's decorative, a beauty tat, accentuating a feature on your body. Or hiding an injury from an accident or a scar.

    These all tell a benign story, far from the ones were the tats tell a deeper darker tale of struggle and triumph, or demons one might still be battling with. Or perhaps a trophy tat or belonging to club, like Delta Force. It is those tattoos that communicate (as intended) a cautionary tale to heed the warnings.

    The reactionary behavior on behalf of the hiring party tells a tale in itself of how they perceive these tattoos, and what they mean in their own psyche.

  • Casey Aitken
    Casey AitkenCreative Director at JWT INSIDE

    Express yourself is the original treat yourself.

  • David Price
    David Price

    “But the study found no adverse employment outcomes for the tattooed, regardless of whether they were men or women, blue-collar or white-collar workers, in management or not. In fact, having one or more tattoos was associated with slightly higher employment and more hours worked, the study found.”

    “Tattoos still carry some stigma. Nearly 30 percent of adults without tattoos think those with are less intelligent.”

  • Nafis Wilson
    Nafis Wilson

    They also seem not to care about employees looking neat.....

  • Yu Matsushita
    Yu MatsushitaFashion

    In Japan people having tattoos are tend to be discriminated.For example Sento which is place to take a bath often prohibit them to enter

  • Tye Chatelle
    Tye Chatelle technical expert at Apple inc

    Yeah about time.

  • Joshua James
    Joshua James

    If you have facial, neck or hand tattoos, they 100% will limit higher level career choices. It's pretty simple if you aren't an auto tune mumble rapper or a "dancer" (stripper) don't get them. Otherwise tattoos that can be covered should never have effected your career or job choices.

    Side note creating or wearing terrible tattoos should be a crime lol. Way too many of those around.

  • Ash C
    Ash C

    This is great! I am a tatted up university professor but unfortunately, where I live, tattooed are still very much taboo. I’m looking forward to the day when I move back to the US and can show off my ink without negativity coming my way.

  • Student would love them.

  • Andrew Jake Mladinich III
    Andrew Jake Mladinich III

    I am 60 and I raised my 30-year-old in my 29-year-old son not to get tattoos. They have been employed at conservative business and have successful marriages with children. Waiting for the country to be forced to except tattoos because half of the workforce now has tattoos would not have worked out for them 10 or 15 years ago.

    Although they are millennial’s, they know better than to do that. Besides your lymph nodes are full of ink.

  • Michael Weston
    Michael WestonUtrzymac Wielka Ameryke

    A comment for Verla Farrens Gardner,

    Last week while having my lunch at a grocery store dining area, I observed a young woman, nice looking, dressed appropriately for Phoenix summer weather. On display was significant graffiti, shoulders, arms, legs. All of this did nothing to improve her looks. What caught my attention was, she was shopping for ORGANIC produce. Too funny! I wonder if she shopped for an artist that uses organic ink?

  • Komachi Sakura
    Komachi SakuraJapanese millenial

    If you want to work with only American people, tattoo may not cause any issues. But if you want to work at international companies especially working with Asian people, tattoo will be problems.

  • Carlos Yescas
    Carlos YescasCheesemonger and Author

    Some industries will always be more tolerant and accommodating to people with tattoos. In cheese ink art is celebrated as part of our identity as an industry full of creative - out of the box thinkers.

  • Robert Petris
    Robert Petris

    Neo-primitivism at its peak!!!

  • JC Thompson
    JC Thompson

    I have multiple tattoos and hired many staff over the years with tattoos to work in the parole and probation area of criminal justice. Never was a problem. By the way I am retired and most of the hires were Gen X !!!

  • Kevin Merz
    Kevin Merz

    Personally, any tattoo is fine if it is concealed where no one can see it. I agree that having a tattoo can give off an unprofessional vibe, but if you can cover it up, it is acceptable.

  • Cindy  Rupe
    Cindy Rupe

    If one is in a customer facing position it’s a slippery slope. Customers need to be able to relate to the associates they work with.

  • Chuntao Zhao
    Chuntao Zhao

    Good

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