Tats For Hire: Are Tattoos More Acceptable in the Workplace?
GAINESVILLE-- You might expect to see a tattoo or two at a party or tailgate but not necessarily the workplace.
Policies allowing tattoos for blue-collar and art-related jobs may not sound surprising.
But the growing number of people with tattoos in corporate, educational, and medical industries may be.
More professionals are now leaving their mark... for anyone to see.
Workplace tattoo policies vary among and within industries.
But with many modern companies committing to diversity, tattoos are no longer considered taboo.
"More and more people have tattoos and less people are actually shocked or concerned or even really noticed the tattoos that I have," said Nicki Weaver.
Nicki Weaver of Gainesville has been a kindergarten teacher at Jordan Glen School and Summer Camp for seven years.
She says her tattoos have never been a problem.
"I had a project where my students did a Mona Lisa esq. painting of me at the end of the school year. They did pretty much my torso and none of them ended up with tattoos on them at all. Which just kinda made me think they don't even care or notice during the day," said Weaver.
According to a Pew study, 36% of young Americans of both sexes have tattoos.
So as the number of inked adults grows, is the assumption that tattoos and jobs don't mix really true?
Owner of anthem tattoo parlor, Mike Salay, says tattoo taboo is a thing of the past.
"We have everybody from all walks of life, really. You know, ER nurses, I've tattooed a neurosurgeon, we have clients from GPD, school teachers, the principal of my son's school…," said Salay.
While concealment policies at work may vary, having a tattoo in 2013 doesn't necessarily ruin one's chance at having a successful career.
"It's just a little bit more relaxed now, you know. A tattoo is not going to change a person's work habits or their attitude towards life. It's just art on your body. It's not going to make you not work the same if you didn't have the tattoo," Salay added.
A study by CareerBuilder shows that 31% of surveyed employers ranked "having a visible tattoo" as the top personal feature that would be a disadvantage to future employees.
But Jason Carr, owner of Express Employment Professionals-- an employment agency-- says tattoos have become more mainstream over the years.
"We see a lot of people with tattoos. And part of what we do in working with job seekers is try to equip them to be successful," said Carr.
Carr says that Express Employment provides "counseling" on what to do and what not to do in an interview.
And depending on whether the tattoo is visible, there are different things someone can do to present themselves as the best possible candidate for a position.
"Dressing professionally for the interview, being able to dialogue with a potential hiring manager, come across as professional, engaging, make good eye contact, have a good hand shake, be confident, those things I think are a lot more important than whether a tattoo is visible or not," Carr added.
"I've really just encountered really great parents. But I can tell there are some people that haven't really encountered someone that has tattoos in the way that I do, but usually once they figure out that I love their kids, you know, they don't really care how I look," said Weaver.
Nicki Weaver says that she brings up her tattoos in job interviews, to get the subject out of the way.
And at Jordan Glen School, the principal did indeed ask her several additional questions as a result, to make sure she would be a good fit for the school.
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