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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Tattoos and piercings should not indicate a person’s degree of professionalism

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Illustration by Makenna Timoteo | Staff Illustrator

Many changes come with college as this era of life is characterized by modifications — both physically and mentally. Tattoos, piercings and shaved heads are some of the ways college students change to become more comfortable in their own skin. Some of these choices may affect an individual’s chance at seeking employment, especially in the service industry.
With the school year finally ending, students will be returning home for the summer. For many students, this means racking up as much cash as possible at a part-time job for impending rent, utility and tuition bills. This is where body modifications conflict with plans for a summer job.
Visual body modifications have the ability to call one’s professionalism into question, but whether or not someone has ink in their skin should not hinder their ability to get a job done. What bosses seem to care more about is the image of their employee. Why are employers penalizing future employees for self-expression in a society that supposedly values such practice?
It is routine to encourage a potential employee to remain themselves in an interview, but are then asked to sacrifice parts of what makes them just that: an individual.
Part-time and seasonal jobs mostly employ young people who are desperate for money and on summer break, either from college or elsewhere. It is all too common that after applicants receive job offers, they are told any and every modification they have has is to be covered during work. For some individuals, this is no easy task, as tattoos are not removable and taking out certain piercings does more harm to the body than leaving them in.
Prospective employees who refuse to submit to these restrictions would most definitely be out of a job. Even though not hiring on the basis of tattoos and piercings is not legally classified as a form of discrimination, statistics show 60 percent of professionals who work in human resources claim that having visible tattoos affect one’s chances of being hired significantly. The percentage only goes up to 74 percent when discussing facial piercings.
This despotism masquerading as “company policy” is outdated and unfair. Outward appearance is an extension of the self that lies within. It shouldn’t be assumed one is supposed to compromise that based on the squeaky-clean image a business wants to impose.
Despite what employers think, patrons are more interested in genuine workers first and professional workers second. Businesses that celebrate differences will find that the progressive generations are more inclined to think better of them.
Instead of throwing out someone’s application who is heavily tatted/pierced or has brightly colored hair, an employer should take the time to get to know why employees have chosen to express themselves in that way. The point of an interview is to get to know someone before hiring right? So get to know them, and not the cookie cutter image you would like young people to fit.
– Mena Ashwood is an English sophomore

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