Tattoos used to be a symbol of danger, a proclamation to the world that you’re tough and not to be messed with. Because they were so frequently associated with prisoners, the general population feared people with tattoos. There was a huge perception that if someone had tattoos, they were bad news and not to be trusted with, and certainly weren’t going to get a second look as a job applicant. But in the last 10 to 15 years, there’s been almost a complete reversal on the attitude surrounding tattoos to the point where it’s now almost accepted. It doesn’t mean all employers are okay with tattoos, but the following are.
Tattoo and Piercing Studios
So this one is fairly obvious but we wanted to start with it. Obviously, if you work in a tattoo and piercing studio no one is going to bat an eye at your full Mighty Mouse inspired tattooed sleeves. In fact, it's something of the opposite-- if you work as a tattoo artist and you DON'T have any tattoos, you'll probably take a lot of flack for it.
Working as a tradesperson, such as being a welder, plumber or electrician, still has a certain stigma attached to it. The trades are a collection of blue-collar jobs, and tattoos are one of the first things that come to mind when thinking of a blue-collar worker. But while they’re largely accepted within the industry, making it okay to come to work with full sleeves, they still may scare off potential clients. It doesn’t hurt to cover them up at first, gain the client’s trust, and then relax about the tattoos.
We were surprised to learn this too but the percentage of young academics with tattoos is significantly higher than the general population and while the job market in Academia IS difficult, your tattoos won't outshine an amazing thesis and you should be able to still land any job you would have otherwise.
Obviously, not all jobs in the IT and Computer Programming world are created equally but in a field dominated by young people it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that tattoos aren't looked down upon in the general sense. Of course, in some more corporate environments they may ask you to keep your tattoos covered but in general you shouldn't have a problem.
Artistic fields have seemingly always been immune from some of the more formal norms of the general business world and graphic design still falls into that field- ad agencies, internet start-ups, and dozens of other fields are always willing to accept moderate eccentricities when it comes to hiring a talented designer.
In the world of fashion taste makers, avante garde fashion designers, and everyone else associated with the fashion industry the stigma around tattoos faded nearly two decades ago. If you need proof you don't have to look any further than the number of inked contestants (and more importantly finalists and winners) on Bravo's Project Runway.
Kitchens have always had a culture of their own (if you're interested take a look at Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential) and tattoos have been a part of that culture since the 80s. The only thing better to some chefs than a tattoo is a culinary related tattoo. Monster's Chefblade actually as an amazing gallery of some of these tattoos.
Although there are countless of other jobs where your tattoos don’t matter, these five are some of the most common we deal with every day in our society. Not every job is one we can enter or have the ability for, but that’s also reflective of society in general. But if you want a mini selection of jobs where tattoos absolutely don’t matter, here’s the definitive list.