Magazine Opinions Volume 69, Issue 1

Should Tattoos and Piercings Have An Effect on Professionalism?

Tattoos and piercings are a common way to decorate one’s body, because a person gets to decide what will be imprinted on his or her skin forever. Because of their permanence, many people believe that these modifications determine a person’s level of professionalism and credibility. For example, having a bee tattoo could ruin your chances of getting a part-time job at ACE Hardware. While it’s understandable that some tattoos and piercings can seem distasteful to some, most are harmless designs that give a person more confidence. California and other West Coast states tend to be more lenient when it comes to having tattoos and piercings while working in a serious profession, which I personally respect. Tattoos and piercings are a type of art form, just portrayed on someone’s body instead of a canvas. 

Oftentimes, people’s tattoos are meaningingful to them and important aspects of their personality, and so they display them wherever they go and whenever they want. What could be a simple fleur-de-lis on a person’s wrist to you, could have personal connotations like a trip to Paris where that person was proposed to. Many companies prefer that their employees keep their tattoos covered, but sometimes that is impossible depending on the placement of the tattoo. In many cases, the disposition of a tattoo can be important to the person and have a symbolic meaning. People may have gotten their tattoos just above their collarbone so it’s near their heart and therefore closer to them, which, can be hard to cover up. 

Even if a tattoo doesn’t have a specific meaning, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to who wears it. Like piercings, tattoos are a way of decorating the body and expressing oneself. A tattoo or a piercing isn’t going to change how a person acts, talks, or works. The quality of people’s work is not defined by the ink on their skin or the holes in their ears, but how they physically complete a task. If a person misses a deadline, that’s not the tattoo or piercings fault! Companies want to keep a more sophisticated, or “grown up” look, and for some reason tattoos and piercings don’t seem to fit that bill. What about a piercing or tattoo deems a person unprofessional? Certainly, there are tattoos out there that are worthy of causing one to get fired, but the majority of people with tattoos are not showing anything vulgar, inappropriate, or hateful. Those tattoos, in my opinion, should have an effect on a person’s professionalism, because those types of tattoos can show the person’s belief towards another person and could be a racist, sexist, or homophobic mark that promotes the hate of another human being.