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tattoo acceptance in the workplace
Topic Rating: +14 (16 votes) 
November 10, 2012
6:59 pm
Phoenix6435
San Antonio Texas
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Hi everybody! I work as a night auditor at a hotel. This position requires a uniform and I have a choice of pants or a skirt. I prefer the skirt, in part because I have tattoos on my legs and like showing them off. Although there is nothing specific written into the dress code prohibiting tattoos the topic keeps being brought up. I've had visible tattoos on my legs since April and I saw a note on my GM's desk that says "night auditor cover tattoos". But though the note is dated October 19th nothing has officially been said about it, just the odd hint or comment here or there. I'm not sure if my manager has been instructed by his superiors to address this issue, or if word has gotten back to him that I have pointed out that a few other employees have visible tattoos and much more interaction with guest than I do and that I would view being singled out as discriminatory. True that one employee has been told to cover his arm tattoos, but I think that is mostly because they are largely unfinished and look tacky. But the others that have visible ink are much smaller than mine. Every time I go to work I wonder if I will be told to cover my legs, and when/if I am how I should respond. I am inclined to speak up for myself and take my concerns to my HR department. If the official policy changes I will be forced to comply, but as the company has taken no official stand and I have thus far been allowed to dress in the skirt I won't bring it up until management does. Does anyone else live in constant fear of action being taken against them for displaying their tattoos? Advice is welcome.

November 12, 2012
4:14 pm
KristenAtkinson0
South Korea
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I don't live in fear at all, but I also work in a kitchen, it doesn't really matter. What I do fear is this teaching contract I've accepted for next year. It's in Korea, and I'm not sure how the culture/school will be okay with it. I mean, I have coverup and most of them are very easy to cover, but I also have suspension scars everywhere that I can't much cover. 

I say, oh well. We'll just see what happens.

Again, this comes down to the ago-old question: which do you prefer, having a job or not? If my boss suddenly asked me to cover my tattoos, I'd probably ask if there's a way we could compromise, but if he wouldn't budge, I'd cover them. It's a professional environment and most places still equate tattoos with unprofessionalism. Yes, it sucks, but it's getting better. I understand that you like to show off your tattoos(doesn't everyone!?) but at the workplace it's probably best to work with your superiors. However, until they bring up anything, keep showing them off! They can't fire you without warning unless you're in an at-will employment state(like me). 

November 27, 2012
1:53 am
Phoenix6435
San Antonio Texas
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Thanks Kristen. My manager did bring it up when we had a quality assurnace inspection. So I came early and asked the inspector if there were a compromise. I agreed to wear dark tights with my skirt when the inspector or other big wigs are on the property. Fort the most part people don't care about themm one way or the other because I'm not in direct contact with too many people and I do a good job keeping their paperwork in line.
I hope the teraching job in Korea works out well for you :)

November 27, 2012
7:20 am
Oakbear
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Well done, it sounds like everyone is happy. It's often the fear of uncertainty which is worst.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
November 28, 2012
5:27 pm
London Hernandez
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@ Phoenix6435 that really cool you made a stand and found a compromise.It a small win for all of us.

December 1, 2012
6:41 am
BlakeGrey
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I don't think so there should be a problem related to a tattoo unless it is written something wrong and at your work place your hard work matters more than anything.

December 4, 2012
5:24 pm
Sommersett
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I deal with this topic in such a different but real way. I am a stay at home Mom with one in school and one going into private school. I am the most modified person ANY of the people in the private school have ever seen. I feel two major things from other parents and staff… one is intense interest and the other is 'please protect my kids from seeing her.' Maybe that seems dramatic, but it's true. When I was a piercer living downtown Atlanta and Philadelphia I never thought twice about wearing boots or spiked heals and funky modern clothing and all the jewelry I wanted. Now I am faced with a very different song and dance. My husband is not very modified, only a few small tattoos, so he tries to do most of the conferences and school related activities, but that totally chaps my hide!! I WANT to be involved!! I am, and I do everything and anything I can, but I am very attacked in many ways.

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
December 5, 2012
11:57 am
Sommersett
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And please don't suggest I compromise because I already have. I'm not going to have my ears surgically closed, which is what it would take… why? Because I like them!! This is how I think I am suppose to look, and I think I'm going to stretch these lobes BIGGER. I also want a beauty mark tattooed on my face. To me it's perfectly natural to have several more tattoos in mind. The only thing I can do is keep going. My kids are the adults of the future who will be contributing members of society with mods just like us. It just sucks that I have to hide and remain in the shadows in order for them to have a good education. Thanks for being here for me because I know even if you don't have kids, you can relate to my struggle. I stand alone in physical form, but you all strengthen my spirit and calm my reactions towards people who just don't understand at all. In the past I have stood in the place of daughter, sister and lover, but now I walk the path of Mother which requires a massive amount of patience and strength. I have a group of other Moms around me with kids of similar ages, so that helps, but I am the only truly modified person in the group. Colored hair is a little different than scars, tattoos and stretched piercings that can't be covered or hidden. I am glad I am the way I am, and I love myself, this stuff is just challenging in a whole new way!!!

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
December 5, 2012
2:47 pm
vampyremage
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I am not a mother but my sister is. She is t as modified as I am but she does have stretched ears and numerous tattoos and piercings. I hear about the struggles of being a modified mother from her and its incredibly unfortunate. In a way, perhaps, she's fortunate that most of her work is hidable when at school functions but that's not something she should have to worry about. Even so, I know that enough of her work remains visible that she still gets the judgemental looks.

December 5, 2012
8:28 pm
Sommersett
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A huge part of me feels like it is a gift to be the person who is put face to face with the upper echelon of the education platform and society as a whole. I feel like I am in a position of constant scrutiny and I do my best to assimilate without compromising my integrity.

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
December 5, 2012
10:38 pm
vampyremage
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I can imagine that it must be different when children are involved. In my own case, its just me and any consequences and judgements are my own to bare, but I can imagine that its different with children. Then, its not only oneself that faces the consequences but one's progeny as well. Its one of the many reasons I'm thankful I don't have that burden to bare.

December 7, 2012
5:14 am
Oakbear
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I would caution against compromise here Sommersett, much less advise it.

I strongly feel it is more important to teach children the importance of being happy and confident in your own skin, and going your own way, rather than to fit in and conform out of fear and low self esteem.
What have you got to lose? Well your child may have a harder time, but i still think that lesson is more important.
Ignorant people may try and make you feel small? Don't let that happen, you know what you are worth, and it isn't about money or fancy clothes or being part of some close minded crowd.

I'd advise going to the school as much as you can (even if it means telling your husband to back off), getting involved, and showing people who you are, regardless of how they may judge your appearance. Put that effort into being kind and pleasant and thoughtful. In time those who are more enlightened will put aside prejudice. Others won't be ready for that, which is sad for them.
You will be attacked, but it only hurt if you agree with their rules about life. People who act like this often think about themselves by those same rules, and it must be awful. To miss out on the beauty of life because you worry so much about impressing others.

Most importantly your children will see you fight for what you believe and role model being a good person.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
December 7, 2012
10:33 am
Sommersett
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I think this whole thread (for me) is really more about learning to project the image I am willing to be judged by. It's not something I worry about here, or at the store, or at other events, but there are times I feel forced to look in a different way than what I think is my best. I MUST, and maybe we all MUST, choose to look appropriate in the opinion of others in order to maintain the level of education, job security, or safety we desire. To me personally, it is totally fake and a false projection of self, but this is what I deal with. It's unjust IMO… don't look too interesting or different or sexy or act too happy or have too much energy or be too calm or look at anyone with suspicion or ask too many questions or have blue hair or wear big beautiful jade earrings because ANY OF THOSE THINGS may cause stupidity or poverty.
I am attempting to navigate the system of education in America by projecting my kindness, creativity, and reliability… not my personal beliefs of wisdom and self expression. These people are not MY friends, but their kids are friends of my kids. The path is pretty solo, but I continue. Maybe the image of me, body modifications and all, will slowly become the image of the good things I share in the minds of a pretty closed minded group. It's about the learning, not just the seeing.

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
December 7, 2012
10:40 am
Oakbear
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learning to project the image i am willing to be judged by

A lot of wisdom there i think.
I'll wager that the path becomes less solo. When we earn it, we can build respect in the most unexpected of places.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
December 12, 2012
4:03 pm
jessica2n2
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I often find dealing with these issues somewhat difficult. It's hard because we don't want to cause a scene with fellow coworkers and higher ups and accidentally create a negative stigmatism.. But at the same time we should be able to feel comfortable in our own skin and comfortable doing what we do. I agree whole heartedly with the notion of going into the school as much as you can and getting involved.

I find the best solution in these scenarios is proving to those who look down that we are capable like anyone else, and can often be just as (if not then more so) passionate and dedicated as anyone else. And the best way to prove is by doing. It might take more work or effort at times but I find it's the best way to generate positivity. Again this is just me. I realize that it's sometimes more easily said than done.

Going into the healthcare field I'm curious to see what similar issues I run into.. Though if there's one thing I love it's a good challenge :)

December 16, 2012
3:39 am
Phoenix6435
San Antonio Texas
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At my job there are several employees with tattoos and piercings. Despite being the least visible employee by virtue of working graveyard hours I get a lot more notice from management for mine. But really I know that a large part of that is because I make it a POINT to arrive and leave in my civilian clothes to show off my work. I don't believe in hiding who I am to appease others. I am happy to observe the rules and work within the system or at least appear to in certain situations to keep the peace as long as I am in uniform. However when I am off the clock I will be who I am and don't care for narrow minded folks who try to tear me down for being who I am. It is important to be comfortable in your own skin and if that means altering it then I say to each his/her own. WTBS I think I'll draft a letter to my HR department advising them of my membership in CoBM and of my personal beliefs. I haven't had any long lasting or major issues as of yet, but there is no telling what future changes in management or in how my modifications might be viewed could change that and I just think its better to be forthcoming with information.

December 19, 2012
5:47 pm
KendrahLi
Los Angeles, CA -818
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I'm not supposed to have visible piercings at work, but I noticed something. I chose the colours of my gems per my usual spiritual reason, but they seem to blend in with my skin colour and choice of lipstick. Literally have had them near a month and no one has noticed when they talk to me lol.

-= www.khaotyk-artwerx.com =- Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; E Luce Ad Tenebras
January 12, 2013
10:00 pm
DutchessOfNill
Wenatchee, WA
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I've recently (since Nov) rejoined the workforce since both of my children are now of school age. I work for a non-profit in the office as a clerk/secretary and assist with intake for our homeless shelter. I am the only person at our office that has visible mods (outside of ear piercings) and was confronted by a couple of board members about my appearance. I was a little worried that I may get some heat for not covering up more and removing my piercings but to my surprise, my boss stood up for me. She wrote a e-mail to the board stating how well I preform and that she felt it was unnecessary to ask me to remove my jewelry or wear long sleeves since it clearly did nothing to affect my job duties. Ever since she wrote that email, the comments about my appearance have stopped and, although it may just be me, it seems some of the more hesitant board members are now more receptive to me.

January 12, 2013
11:01 pm
KristenAtkinson0
South Korea
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That's really awesome to hear!

January 13, 2013
6:01 am
Oakbear
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Great stuff Chyvonna!
Reacting to discrimination the way you have is tough, but i believe it pays in the end and brings positive change instead of conflict. Kudos to your boss too. Laugh

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
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