Arm tattoos and careers

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by K-Funk, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    My sister is a tattoo artist and a very talented one at that, and I'm considering getting my first tattoo from her. I'm no stranger to body mods; both my ears are stretched to 5/8" and I have surface bars in my wrists, but no tattoos as of yet.

    The design we have come up with is something I really dig (a take on the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra), and I'm almost positive I want it on my forearm. However, the prospect of future jobs is making me reconsider the location of the tattoo. I haven't had any problems with my earplugs and employee dress code, and I can remove my surface bars whenever I want. Tattoos are a bit more permanent, though.

    So, to those of you with tattoos on your forearms or other highly visible places: how has this affected your professional life and/or finding a job? Would you strongly recommend against it, or does it really matter? My post-grad work will likely be a shirt-and-tie business (I'm an English major with a focus on writing), so that may be a good thing :meh:

    Any input is appreciated!
  2. If you're asking us this question, it means you're not ready to get it.
  3. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    I've heard that answer already, many times :D I will be getting it, but I'm mainly torn between my upper back, and my right forearm. Learning of others' past experiences with things like this might help me decide. Why make an unresearched decision when I don't have to?
  4. Ziltoid

    Ziltoid I don't play bass

    Apr 10, 2009
    well worst that can happen is that you have to wear long-sleeves to go work , no?
    disclaimer:no personal exp., no tats,blablabla, imo, all the crap
  5. Bassguy61


    Feb 28, 2008
    Pearl, MS
    I've never had a tatoo, but I can tell you it can well come into play. I've spent 20+ years working at 2 businesses in "shirt and tie" type enrivonments, and in both cases the dress code specified "no visible tatoos" for both genders. The company didn't care if you had them, they just didn't want them visible in the workplace. If you decide to do it, just keep in mind that you may have to dress strategically (i.e., long sleeves even in summer, etc...) to meet the requirements.
  6. kcamsdog1387


    Jun 22, 2009
    Seacoast NH
    Well it kind of depends on where you plan to work. I'm in the printing business, namely silkscreen, and my "Die, Die, My Darling" tattoo on my inside forearm hasn't stopped me from getting a job. If you can get away with going long sleeved to and interview, and if its tastefully done, I think you will be ok. I dont think many places/people look at tattoos the same way they used to. At least in my experience.
  7. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    i see from your profile you're 20 - OK:

    i was 18 when i got my first tattoo, now 30. here are my thoughts.

    sounds like you've thought through the design - that's good. also you've got an eye on the future - also good.

    i wanted my first tattoo on my forearm; the artist talked me into having it on my upper arm and i'm glad she did. 12 years on i'm still glad i got it, but personally and professionally i'm glad it's not on my forearm.

    oh and i studied English too, i'm a publisher :) ...and i wear t-shirts to work without issue. this, i like.

    also bear in mind you won't be the same person at 30 (or 40, 50 etc - but i speak from experience) that you are at 20. like i said it's good you've put some thought into it, but i'd go for somewhere more discreet for your first.

    remember, there's always time for more :D (there was for me! i've had a fair few since then, all within the t-shirt & trousers battle lines. still want to get sleeved up but not til i'm good and ready.)
  8. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    My professor had full arm tattoos on both arms. Doesn't seem to have affected his career much. Though they still might be disadvantageous in job interviews, they're more socially acceptable now, and you can always just wear a long sleeve shirt.
  9. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    For a knumbskull, that's pretty good advice.
  10. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    Thanks for the advice knumbskull. The only real reason I'm giving strong consideration to my forearm is that the tattoo is an elongated bit of Tibetan text that might look better somewhere... long, like my arm. I'm giving equal consideration to my leg as well. The main reason I wanted to avoid my upper back was a second idea for a larger mural my sister and I designed that would only really work in that region of my body.

    Come to think of it, my leg might be a good choice. I'll put another favorite mantra of mine on the other leg :D

    And lastly; I certainly plan for the future, but I'm only 20 once :smug:
  11. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Academia is pretty different from getting non-academic jobs, from what i've heard...
  12. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    i regret getting this one. think it through.

  13. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the Mad Hatter Gold Supporting Member

    This is all very good advice. I am a mechanical engineer. I have tats on both forearms and both upper arms. Never has been a problem. I dress appropriately when its necessary; I also have to dress appropriately to accomodate concealed carry so its really not a problem there either. You get used to it.
  14. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    ^^Believe me, I've thought it through. It has a lot of meaning to me, and an intrinsic meaning that I don't think I could stop living my life by. Even if I abandoned practicing Zen, I don't think I would abandon wisdom, compassion, and love.
  15. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    cool - i see your thinking behind the positioning. go with what works best aesthetically and practically - EDIT - i'd go with leg but the decision is yours.

    oh, and since it's text-based, make sure they spell it right.... ;)

    anyway, sounds like you've got your head screwed on the right way about it, enjoy & good luck! remember, they're addictive...
  16. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
  17. That's the trouble with tattoos: They're just so darn PERMANENT.

    Tattoos + shirtless are a better match than tattoos + short sleeves (i.e. workplace). Do yourself a favor and alleviate your concerns by putting it somewhere that only shows when you go shirtless.
  18. Mr 600

    Mr 600

    Jun 11, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    I have some tats, including one on my forearm. I'm a maintenance supervisor at an upscale hotel, and it's never been a problem for me. I always go by the rule "Don't put it where a Judge can see it." Nothing below the wrists or above the neck. I'm 33, and have had my forearm inked for 15 years.
  19. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I have the bass and treble clefs on my inner forearms just below the elbow joint, along with a (half-complete) half sleeve on my left arm and some higher up on my right arm. I always wear short sleeves (polo or button up) and have never had an issue. It's probably not something that everyone I've ever worked with approves of, but I've never had a complaint. Usually it works to the opposite effect, lowering people's expectations which allows them to be amazed by the quality of my work.

    I work in the biotech/pharma field, and outside of my first internship, I've always worked for start-up/small companies which lend themselves to a more accepting atmosphere.

    Actually on my first day at work during my second internship, I wore a long sleeve shirt, followed by a polo on my second day. My boss was surprised by the tattoos and my response was "well I can't bring them out on the first date". We've been good friends for a long time now.
  20. Visible tattoos have a certain stigma associated with them (regardless of how many people post & say that its ok, never had a problem, etc.). As a result of that stigma, you WILL have to work THAT MUCH HARDER in order to prove yourself and the quality of your work. I'll bet everyone who has posted "no problems" makes extra sure their work is the best so they cannot be judged any other way.

    It isn't just your employer who minds tattoos, it can be a whole BUNCH of other folks. What happens if you leave the publishing world & go into sales? What if you & a potential client are out playing golf where you aren't wearing long sleeves & he/she doesn't like tattoos? What if a potential client isn't too fond of Zen sayings? Your company may lose business due to your appearance. That might impact your commission, position overall, etc. There's no telling where you'll be in 10, 20, 30, or 40 years.

    I'd recommend avoiding it at all costs. There's no way to know where you'll end up and in what situations, so why even remotely jeopardize any potential future income with an arm tattoo?


    (P.S. Before the flaming starts - I'm not against them personally, but know plenty of folks who are & who are of a mind to not do business with tattooed folks. For me, the potential to make money & income supercedes my desire for tattoos)