• Mon, Feb 21 2011

Poll: Are Visible Tattoos Appropriate for Work?

Over at CNN, there’s a raging debate (just kidding, it’s just a video) about whether or not tattoos are appropriate for the office.

I’ll be frank with you — I don’t have any tattoos, but I could honestly not care less whether people have visible tats at work. Granted, I work at home by myself, so who would I be mad at if they got a tattoo? No one.

Anyway, what do you think? Do tattoos fly at your place of employ?

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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  • Carolyn

    There are still a few places where visible tattoos are frowned upon (I cant really picture them at my work…I work in a financial aid office at a college) but the older generations need to face the fact that tattoos are becoming more and more acceptable and common. It’s more rare for young people NOT to have tattoos than to have them. I’m one of the only people in my age group I know without one. Give it 10 or 20 (or maybe even 30 years) and I really believe the taboo will be completely gone.

    • MNiM

      I agree, broadly, with Carolyn.

      Rules about clothing, body art, jewelry, etc are all highly specific to their time and place. With the exception of a very few cultural groups, the most conservative dresser today would have been considered indecent by Victorians, for example.

      But overall, the trend historically has been toward greater freedom of choice in terms of how we decorate ourselves (for lack of a better word), and given how very common tattoos are today, it’s not hard to imagine a sea change in attitudes toward displaying them in the next few decades.

    • Ellen W.

      I think you’re totally right. It’s funny- in the most conservative offices pants- which totally cover ones limbs – are not okay but sheer stockings are required with a skirt. Tattoos aren’t okay but cosmetics are required. Shoes are supposed to have high-ish heels and sensible shoes are frowned on. It seems more and more ridiculous as time goes on.

  • Sarah

    I have tattoos and don’t think they’re appropriate for the work place. I like all of mine, but I also put them in places that are easy to conceal. I just don’t think it’s professional to have them out and about.

  • Sheena

    I think it really depends on WHAT your tattoo is…if its something that could be taken as offensive, like skulls and dark stuff – then yeah, the little old ladies probably won’t like it and won’t want to do bidness with you. If it’s something feminine like flowers or whatever, I’m sure its fine. Better to err on the safe side and keep them off your knuckles, neck and chest. I think tasteful arm pieces are OK.

    • Eileen

      I agree. I worked retail for awhile, and one of my coworkers had a yin-yang on her ankle; another had a ladybug on her foot. I thought it was ridiculous that they had to cover them with band-aids. But anything really large, potentially offensive, or overtly religious in nature (just because that can be a legal liability) should probably be covered up.

    • Jesy Kessel

      agree’d just depends on how offensive or non offensive it is.. also just depends on the company dress code. if you get them you have to be willing to cover them if you want a job.. not all places are cool with it and depends on who you are trying ot work for.. up to them.. they are paying you :) ** i have 18 all over… and i can cover all of them if i want or not.. my job doesn’t care but i still respect my workplace and keep them covered.

  • Christina

    I have a ankle tattoo that i absolutely love, but i would think twice before showing my tattoo at work. I feel that people, especially in a white collar workplace, will take you less seriously if you show your tattoo. With that said, I really love tattoos and I am in no way offended if my waiter or the girl behind the counter has a sleeve, I like it.

  • Daisy

    I do have tattoos, all in places that could easily be covered up, but mostly I prefer not to. I have one on my back, not really big, but people never get to see it (unless on the beach). I have small ones on my feet though (one on each, very girly), and I do like to show them off with open pumps. No-one at my job minds, not even my boss or HR.

    Some things are over the top though, but have to do with your clothes as well. I would never wear a short top that doesn’t cover my back tattoo. I don’t think tattoos on your knuckles, chest or neck are appropriate for work either. And nothing to dark or sinister. But as long as it’s small, not too attention grabbing and not offensive, why not?

  • Chelsea Rae

    I don’t have any tattoos, but I could because I work in the magazine industry (in the beauty department) and no one really cares.

  • Missy

    I have 6 tattoo’s 2-4 of them are almost always visible at work. It hasn’t been a problem thus far and my boss actually thinks they are really cool. I work in architecture though which for the most part is pretty arty and the people I deal with don’t seem to mind and I have seen some people actually be taken more seriously when they’re ink shows. Maybe they look more creative? Not sure, but I did work in a place where visible tattoos were not permitted (but neither were excessive earrings, facial hair and unpantyhosed legs) and that didn’t bother me because we knew that going in to the job.

    The lady in the video says that she covered her tattoo’s for her interview. I actually do the opposite. If it is going to be a problem, I would like to get that out in the open so neither party is wasting our time on something that isn’t going to work out in the end anyway. That said, I wouldn’t have a problem covering them for work if that was asked of me either. A paycheck is a paycheck.

  • Diva With Cents

    I work in the IT/Telecomm field as an Engineer. I see a lot of people with visible tattoos and they may be because a lot of guys in my field are ex-military. However, you don’t see these guys in top management positions like Directors and VPs. I have three tattoos and I don’t really show them often. The one one my arm and upper back can be visible depending on what I’m wearing. But my jobs knows my brains are more than my body art.

  • natalia

    I have one tattoo on my wrist and its usually visible and never been a problem. I’ve worked mostly in non-profits, so offices tend to be more laid back, but even at my first job as a temp at Morgan Stanley my boss didn’t care. She actually complemented it. It depends on HOW visible the tattoo is and what it is of I think. Also, its really different in each kind of work environment. Friend of mine works in management at a big retail clothing store and tattoos would absolutely NOT fly in that environment. It all depends………

  • http://ginandjudgment.blogspot.com Coho

    I work for a Catholic charity. I have 6 tattoos and just finished the design for my 7th. The little ones on my wrists are fine to display but the half-sleeve on my right arm – not so much. At my second job, bookseller at B&N, they could care less about showing my tattoos as long as I don’t have facial piercings. As long as you’re presentable, and professional, and you do your job, that’s the important thing.

  • AriadneP

    Who cares? It is more common to see them, than not, especially here in Portland, OR. I seriously think it should be frowned upon to talk about them though. TMI – If I have to hear another nauseatingly trite conversation about the symbolism of your “personal expression” and the mondo pain you had to endure to get it – that borders on really boring at the least and really unprofessional at the most. Share it with your lovers, not your coworkers.

  • AriadneP

    Funny enough- I’ve read numerous places on line that one of the biggest growth areas in cosmetic surgery procedures is tatoo removal.