Tattoos do not have to dictate connotations in workplace

“Now no one is going to hire you!” is what I hear from my parents every time I tell them about the new ink I get. I am sure that I am not the only tattooed young adult attempting to get a job that has heard this from a loved one.

In 2013, about 14 percent of Americans reportedly had some kind of ink tattooed on their skin, according to a Pew Research Center study conducted that year. As the number of tattooed Americans grows, does permanent body art really determine our professionalism in today’s workplace? The answer is simply no.

It is understandable that different industries require different dress codes that contain strict policies on inked skin. Legally, companies can still ban visible tattoos in the workplace. But as inked skin is becoming more prevalent in communities around the world, tattoos should be accepted as a representation of one’s individuality, even in professional settings.

As modern contemporary companies continue to encourage diversity awareness, tolerance of tattoos in the workplace continues to increase. Artistic companies generally have more relaxed policies with inked skin, but there is also an excitingly increasing tolerance developing in other professional fields like education and medicine.

Tattoos should be accepted without distraction or second thoughts because of their irrelevance to the work performed in the workplace.

I believe that someone’s appearance is nowhere near as important as the professional skills they encompass. Employers want to hire the person who will complete the required tasks most effectively and efficiently. A little visible body ink does not interfere with that at all.

Assessing somebody’s employment capability based on the fact that they have visible tattoos is completely discriminatory. Tattoos are so familiar in today’s society that it shouldn’t be a surprise to see one peeking out of a rolled up sleeve while in a meeting.

San Francisco is a city composed of many eclectic residents, many of whom have body art. A stigma is unfortunately attached to tattoos and people who have them. Those who sport inked up sleeves are often perceived as less educated, rough or dirty when the reality is quite the contrary.

We are not the delinquents that Baby Boomers and corporate leadership think we are. As executives of substantial corporations and startups are getting younger, tattoos are becoming more acceptable and what was once considered offensive is now acceptable.

Tattoos are a method of expression and no one should be held back from expressing themselves artistically. As long as tattoos are not offensive, there is no reason they should be a problem in the workplace.