Tattoos in the workplace
This is my first story, and the truth is im not sure how to write... I havent been on this site in years because of multiple problems, but thats another story... but it is good to be back... So... after years of piercing and bouncing for a living, i finally got a job that was secure in this area, only problem was my tattoos and piercings. See, for the last 10 yeaqrs I have been heavily tattooed, not as much so as some on this site, but heavily for this area, I have 2 full sleeves, neck, back, chest and leg tattoos. I also had my septum pierced, my labret, ears gauged, and nipples. I worked as a bouncer in the area for many years, and my tattoos actually helped alot, conversation starters that stopped problems, or gained friends. As for the piercings go, when I was apprentecing they helped alot. You wouldnt go to a mechanic who didnt have a car, why would you get pierced by a guy with none showing either. I loved every minute of this life, and finally feeling like me after years in school of not feeling right. It wasnt until I had my first little girl that I had to walk away from this life and find a more secure job. Body piercing or bouncing pays in bigger cities, but not really where I am from. I was 25 years old with out insurance and a baby on the way, and I had to fix that. It wasnt until that summer that I realzied how hard it is to get a job looking the way I did. For years this was the "norm", not to mention everyone in my "group" looked just like me and I saw nothing wrong with it. My own mother who cried when I got my first tattoo now stoped people to ask them about their ink, and what it meant, and I loved when she gave compliments. I started this change because of my dad and older brother, so again, this is the way life should be. At so many interviews I got dirty looks, or was given the "quick" questioning, knowing damn well when I left I wouldnt be called back. That winter saved me financially, because wihtout knowing it I was covering my tattoos because of weather, not to hide me. I walked in to this company, was asked so many questions, got a handshake, and a phone call before I got home.
When I accepted this job, it was under the terms i lose the facial piercings and work on closing my ears, so I started the process, which was hard to do. I will tell you I started this job in April, during a snow storm. It was not until June when I rolled my sleeves up fpr the first time that they found out about the tattoos I have hidden so well, without even knowing I was "hiding" them. My employer was highly upset about this, and told me "Had i known about this you wouldn't be here." This pissed me off, but I could also see where they were comming from, the only thing I did not get was that none of the tattoos I visibly have were bad in anyway... not saying I dont have some iffy tattoos, but these are not them. At this time I was hired to be a route driver, delivering building products to multiple contractors through Pennsylvania. Within 2 years I had become the new warehouse manager with more skill and responsability, and a larger desire to move up in the company, even though in some aspects my tattoos held me back. Last year I applied for a sales position and a manager position at 2 different times, only to be told that I would not fit the position, and that i did not look very "professional". I worked hard everyday, and was learning everything I possibly could until eventually I was "offered" the sales position I was earlier turned down for. I still have the goal to be the first sleeved manager in the company, and show that I have more skill and "know how" then the other employees.
I have 2 sleeves that are flames with faces in them. my right arm are monsters, and the left is family, and both sets of flames are different colors, blue with family, red with monsters. My chest says "Come Whatever May" and i have nautical starts for my kids. My back is a dragon wing on the right side, and an angel wing on my left with my lastname in the center, and a gargoyle at the base. I have 2 large dragons on m legs, and am now getting my legs sleeved. My neck is a large iron cross with my oldest daughters name on it, with a scroll. I have my 2 other childrens names are on my wrists. And the piercings I have are still semi-gauged ears, and my labret. Based on the earlier work performance, I snagged both nipple rings and removed them, and eventually had a serious problem with my prince albert.
I have been working on a group in my area, trying to bring tattoo acceptance to the workplace. I feel this is a form of discrimination, even though we make the choice to be tattooed, its our way of life and we should be accepted based on our ability and skill, not what is inked or pierced on us. Most of us are highly skilled, and more capable then the "general" population... Anyways, I have taken a new position with more responsibility, and more of a voice. I still cover my arms for certain customers, but have the right to bare arms with others. I am working on the piercings, and im not to sure how the company will react to this. The piercings I can not remove daily like piercings, but I will try. It is a good feeling when you see people come in for work, and they dont get blown off by my managers based on their artwork. We infact hired a guy with more tattoos then me, and he works in the warehouse, but he still deals with the public on a daily basis, and my employers were well aware of this when the hired him. I am hoping someday based on my performance and personality I can change things for the better with this "discrimination". Thanks for your time.
submitted by: inkddad
on: 28 Nov. 2010
in Miscellaneous Tattoos