15 years ago anyone would have said that if you want to be taken seriously in the word avoid tattoos in open places. In some professions, such as military, it is still banned. But for most of the world the old preconceptions about tattoos are fading away.
It would be hard to determine exactly why, but slowly overtime tattoos have become more accepted in the workplace. The current generation entering the work force is by far more tattooed than any generation every before. It is also more prevalent in the mainstream entertainment world.
To be clear though, I’m not referring to face tattoos or fully covered hands. However, when it comes to arm, leg and other areas, people are generally more comfortable showing their tattoos when at work or in other professional settings.
Personally I have 19 tattoos and, when not working for Brandage, I am a Product Manager for a web development company. As part of my duties and responsibilities, I meet with lots of people in a professional capacity. Usually, the first meeting I wear a full suit, but for follow-up meetings I tend to be more on the business casual side. In this setting I may have my sleeves rolled up or even short sleeve shirts. This is very common as I am based in South Florida where it’s always warm.
When I first started I was a little hesitant because I have tattoos on both arms. They aren’t complete sleeves, but a good portion of my lower arms are covered. I can still remember my first job in the field as a software developer I was nervous to show them. After about two months in the office I asked my boss what their policy was and he laughed at me. He said no one really cared. He was an indian guy and this was in a corporate office and building. Yet he said he didn’t care so I stopped hiding them. And still to this day I haven’t received any negative attention.
Now of course I don’t have any obscene, gang related, or possibly offensive tattoos, but still it was amazing that it was okay. Since then I’ve noticed more in more in other industries that people are more open to the idea. It will be interesting to see what the next generations idea of the average “professional” will look like.