Many people with tattoos hide them at job interviews. When one women working at an employee benefits company in New Jersey meets with clients, she wears black tights to cover tattoos on her ankle. She said, “There are other parts of my body I wish I could get tattooed, but because I work in a corporate setting I have to keep them on a wish list.”
Years ago tattoos were only popular with sailors, gang members and garage mechanics. And, as one fellow put it, guys who were confident they will have the same girlfriend forever.
Things have changed. However, there still are many places where it does not make sense to show your artwork on your body.
It does not pay to sue on the basis of discrimination. No federal law bars employers from making a hiring decision because of a tattoo.
There are many stories of people who feel they did not get jobs because of their tattoos. And there are stories of people in more edgy professions like graphic arts who got the job, perhaps even helped by their tattoos. However, only rarely are tattoos seen as a plus.
One heavily tattooed executive at a health care firm in Chicago put it this way, “I put on a suit and tie to come to work and then I go home and put on a black T-shirt. If they only knew what I looked like under the suit.”