Today I am deviating from my “planned” post (which by the way, was a very informative review of Children’s Mucinex…but don’t worry, tis the season for sniffles and mucusy yuck so I’ve not junked it completely, rather just pushed it back a few days). Instead I thought I’d address what still seems to be a hot button for many (or maybe just me since it’s been eating at me lately); tattoos and professionalism. I am tattooed, and I am a professional. I fully believe that the two can co-mingle and have a very balanced relationship, however; there are some that disagree 100% and I regularly deal with these people. I try to be open-minded, but sometimes people seem so ignorant that I can’t help but get pissed.
Now I understand that part of professionalism is appearance. I understand that different generations have a different perspective on tattoos and piercings and there is still a certain stigma associated with body modification. But, does having tattoos or piercings make a person less capable of being professional? Personally, I do not tattoo my hands or pretty much anywhere that long sleeves and long pants wouldn’t cover up. This is because I am aware that in my profession (Commercial Insurance) I will come in contact with people that unfortunately will judge based on appearance. If I let them judge my tattoos before they have experienced my knowledge with regard to my area of expertise and ability to think, then I may lose a client before even having a real opportunity. Yes that’s sad, but I am realistic enough to understand that’s just the way it is and I’m okay with that. Once I’ve built relationships and gained confidence based on my work ethic and abilities in my field, then usually a tattoo does not drive a loyal client away.
What really chaps my hide though, is not the judgment I get from total strangers I really do get that – like I said they’re strangers, they don’t know me and yes initial appearance does play a factor I get it. It’s the judgment from peers that I’ve worked with for over a decade that has really been pushing my buttons though. I think that they should know me well enough by now to know that the ink has not gone to my head and my brain did not ooze out the piercing holes… I can still think and I am still good at what I do, even when I take my jacket off and the tattoos are visible. You’d think that after so long people could see you as a whole person and what you are truly capable of and support that, rather than tell you something along the lines of “you may not want purple highlights in your hair if you want to move forward in your career”. Maybe they think they’re helping and giving sound advice but really people? Do you really think the dye makes me incapable? No, it’s not the hair color, it’s the lack of support from the people that I work my butt off for, that tell me I am great at my job (you know all the work I do for them every day is fantastic) and the ones that are supposed to be my mentors and leaders in the company, their inability to look beyond what has historically been “taboo” into a more modern world of acceptance based on capabilities and not just looks…that’s my friends is what has been really grinding my gears. Rant over…
What do you think? Is it right to be judged on something superficial like tattoos, piercings, or hair color? Do you have any modifications or “unnatural” hair color that has keep you from getting a job, a client, or advancing in your career? How do you react? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!