Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tattoos, Piercings, and the Job Search

Unfortunately judgment and unfair stereotyping still occurs all the time for people like myself that are tattooed and/or pierced. Luckily I live in one of the most liberal and diverse regions of the world, and I work on a very liberal university campus. But many people with body modifications are still looked down upon, discriminated against, presumed to be criminals, rebellious characters living on the fringes of the law and society, unintelligent, and/or irresponsible vagabonds. This makes me sad. The way I see it, how I choose to decorate my body is no different than how I choose to decorate the walls in my home - each to his own, right? Some people like very conservative artwork, others are into bright colors and abstract designs, and others are perfectly content with plain white walls. And that has absolutely no reflection on someone's intelligence, their work ethic, or their overall character. It is simply just another level of difference that exists in our diverse world, one other dimension of how we choose to express our uniqueness and our individuality. Luckily tattoos and piercings are becoming more accepted in mainstream society, but wet still have a long way to go....
The blog below is one I peruse regularly, and recently covered the topic of tattoos and piercings in the workplace...
By: Karen L. Hudson, Tattoos & Piercings Blog
The current economic situation of the world can very well be called a “stormy present.” Unemployment and poverty are at an all-time high, and even those who are fortunate enough to still have a job are feeling the sting of reduced wages. The amount of available jobs versus the amount of people desperately seeking work is a staggering ratio of unbalanced proportion.

But how desperate would you be to get a job, any job? Would you be willing to change how you present yourself, modify your total image, and even hide important, and even self-defining parts of your identity just to become or stay employed?

Pride vs. Practicality
Unfortunately, that often means that people with body art who seek work often find their applications and resumes at the bottom of an employer’s pile. It’s still considered an undesirable trait in most industries and professions, and prejudicial stereotyping abounds. If you have tattoos, piercings, or any other visible modifications, you’ve got an automatic strike against you when it comes to impressing a potential future employer. As much as it pains me to say this, we have reached the point of the proverbial “desperate times” that call for “desperate measures.” This series of articles are designed to help you seek and find a job, but I’ll warn you right now that you’re not going to like some of it.

I applaud anyone who stands up and says, “I don’t care. I’m not covering my body art for anyone.” Well, I applaud them as long as they can pay their bills and take care of their families. However, if pride and stubbornness are preventing you from being able to do those things, then your priorities need to be examined. The fact of the matter is this: you need money to survive, and you need work to have money. If that means going against your natural inclinations and shunning your rebellious side for a few hours a day, so be it. It’s time to “think anew and act anew.”

But there’s more to finding a job than just covering up your body art. In this job seeking series, I’m going to do my best to show you what your options are and how to make the most of them.

Body Art Friendly Employers
The good news is that more and more companies are shedding the old perceptions about body art and are changing their policies to at least allow some visible tattoos and/or piercings as long as they meet a certain criteria. As long as you’re not looking for a corporate position, you may be able to find a part or full-time job at one of these companies. So, the first thing you need to know is what career fields and companies are body art friendly.
Let’s start with the easiest option first, and that would be finding a job with a company that doesn’t have a problem with visible body art. We all know that you can get a job at most fast food joints if you have body art, although most of them will still make you cover any piercings with a band-aid. But for most adults, especially those with families, an entry-level job in fast food isn’t the optimal situation (although you should be willing to at least get a job in fast food temporarily, if that’s what it takes to put food on the table while you search for better work. A little money is better than no money at all.) So, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial than flipping burgers, where do you start?

I’ve started a very preliminary list of places that have been reputed to allow tattooed and/or pierced employees. Obviously, this list will grow over time. *Note!* It’s always possible that the policies are different from one region to the next. This list is just to help you get started; it will still be your responsibility to find out exactly what your local branch allows. If you click the name of a company below, it will take you to a page with information on what the company is, where they're located and how to apply. When possible, I will also include specific details on their current visible body art policies, but so far the companies I've contacted have been less than helpful in that regard.
Body Art Friendly Companies/Employers

And if you're still in school or thinking about a new career, here are some Tattoo and Piercing Friendly Jobs and Career Fields

No comments: