Tattoos & Professionalism

     Tattoos are a controversial subject to which I intend to weigh in on.

Coming from experience, those with tattoos on their body are often judged by appearance rather than personality.

Obviously the derogatory judgement towards those with tattoos can be viewed similarly to race and culture, but I will save that for another time…

     Work ethic–

     This is a big one that really gets me in the feels.
As an example, I was previously employed in a position where I was in the view of the public at all times of the day. For all intensive purposes, I am a 5’9 man with full tattoo sleeves (Shoulder to wrist). For the first three months at my job, I wore neutral, skin-tone sleeves over my tattoos in an effort to hide them. For three months, my work ethic was outstanding. I gained the trust and respect of nearly every employee in the building, on just about every shift there is (I floated between shifts full time). For three entire months, I responded to various high tension incidents, negotiated with persons in crisis, and dealt with the general public and staff on a daily basis.

And then… one day…. I took the covers off and went into work as myself.

Do you know what happened??

     Most people did not even bat an eye! My work ethic was completely unchanged. I still did the tasks required of me. Those who had respect and trust in me still felt the same. Their trust that I would work to my greatest ability did not waver.

     Further, my overall happiness flourished, my stress level significantly decreased, and I was able to be ME entirely; Not just half of me, but all of me.

     Crazy, huh? My appearance did not change how I presented myself.

What kind of sorcery is this!?

     Professionalism— Another topic to which attracts significant attention.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines professionalism as “the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person;” and it defines a profession as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.”

     No where in this definition does professionalism encompass appearance, however, it is a  societal default that is generally included.

     So, what constitutes a professional appearance?

     A majority of businesses that still maintain strict dress codes work off a military style model; For men? Short hair, well kept hair, no piercings, no facial hair except for a mustache kept trimmed to the corners of the mouth. For women? Minimal studded earrings in the ear lobes, hair kept in a bun or above the collar and natural colored hair. Oh– and for both? No tattoos below the wrists and on or above the neck.

     (This is obviously a generalization and does not include everything)

    In this ever changing society, the status quo is an evolving door that changes through the years as different fads come into light. Even the military adjusted their appearance requirements multiple times throughout history. It’s time that the civilian sector does the same.

     Not for nothing… the general public is not militarized, nor should they be treated as such.

     Should there be some sort of standard in appearance? Absolutely! There should be some kind of commonality of acceptance for things such as piercings and tattoos that are adjusted to the societal demographic in which they live in. I do not think it should vary by state but more so by country. Obviously each employer is able to set their own standards of appearance codes, but perhaps if there is a more generalized outlook country-wide there would be blanketed acceptance of such controversial topics.

     Now i know what you are thinking– “Shit Matt, how is everyone going to jump on that bandwagon when we can’t even get race to be viewed equally”

So here is my non-conclusive answer:

It all stems from the same things– Ignorance, arrogance, and judgement.

     I will go into more detail on that in later posts but for now, lets just scratch the surface. Everyone needs to have their hands in the pot. Everyone has an opinion and feel theirs should be weighed over others. It is just a humanistic quality that has become ever so prevalent in such a connected society. Everyone has become an expert in matters they have only just recently come into contact with and similarly, they feel as though their judgement, their feelings should be considered over others.

“Oh I don’t like this so, no one else should”
“I think these people are wrong so, they should be ousted from society”

     It may be a bit extreme but hopefully you get the point. I understand I may have detracted from my point a bit, but I feel as though some of this needed to be said. My appearance is still professional and is not taken away by the fact that I have tattoos. Similarly, my tattoos ARE a part of me, just as skin color IS a part of them!  The only difference is that I voluntarily tatted myself whereas coloration of skin is hereditary. Just because we look different than others does not mean we should be treated any different.

     Just because YOU feel some type of way and do not like something does not mean that other people have to feel the same way. Just because you do not like whats someone else does with THEIR body does not mean the world has to revolve, evolve, and conform to you.

     GET OVER IT. —-and yes, now I am talking about race, gender, sexual orientation, and whatever else everyone wants to judge others by.



     Live how you want, but stop judging others based on how they live theirs. It has nothing to do with you except the fact that you get butt-hurt by things that do not have anything to do with anyone other than those directly involved.

Published by

Matthew Hurski

Just an avid writer sharing my mind with the world.

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