Today: Apr 23, 2024

Are tattoos still a taboo in today’s job market?

Photo Courtesy zeldAlily.comHEATHER FRANCIStaff Writer

The buzzing, a stinging sensation and the final product of art etched in one’s skin is all it takes to get some people addicted.

Or at least that is all it took for Amanda DeVellis to get hooked on getting tattoos.

DeVellis is a junior English major at Southern. She has a total of 11 tattoos. One of which is in a noticeable spot—on her wrist.

“I chose to get the tattoo on my wrist because it is more noticeable to me when it is not concealed, as well as easily concealable by my watchband,” said DeVellis. “I wanted to pick a place that I could put a significant tattoo that would be a reminder to myself whenever I looked at it. I have the word ‘always’ and a heart-like abstract design to the right of it on my left wrist because it reminds me to always remain true to myself.”

Charles “Duck” Unitas, owner and operator of Excalibur Tattoo & Design, LLC in Shelton has been tattooing since 1994. He said he sees a difference with them in today’s society.

“It most definitely is more accepted today than even 10 years ago,” said Unitas. “Our society has had a big push for acceptance on very many levels across many social, economical, racial and religious levels. The countless ‘reality’ shows designed around the tattoo industry; ‘Miami Ink,’ ‘Inked,’ ‘L.A. Ink,’ ‘Ink Masters’ and documentaries on the history of tattooing all helped make tattooing accepted.”

More and more college students are getting tattoos and putting them in obvious places such as on their wrists, the backs of their necks, behind their ears and on their forearms.

Unitas said that people are getting them in more obvious places because they are more accepted and there is a diminished regard to hiding body art.

“Part of the problem of young kids getting tattooed is the lack of self-control and forethought,” said Unitas. “I see this most in young people still living at home under a parent’s care. Once they are on their own and begin realizing that their actions have consequences they start giving more thought to the lifelong commitment of a tattoo.”

DeVellis said she is hoping to graduate and get a job teaching literature in a secondary school and doesn’t think her tattoos will stop her from finding a job.

“I do not think that my tattoos will jeopardize any future jobs because of their design or location,” said DeVellis. “There are respected professionals that both conceal and display their ink. Personal qualifications deem whether someone is worthy in the workplace rather than appearance.”

Unitas said it has become easier in many fields to find jobs when a person has tattoos in obvious places, especially those that require some kind of manual skill.

He said not so much for those jobs where trust is built on knowledge and first impressions such as religious, political, technological, medical and educational fields.

Unities said he thinks a person working in these fields can have tattoos but they would have to work harder to prove their abilities.

Jeanine Lagrow is another artist who works at Excalibur and she, unlike Unitas who only has one tattoo, is covered in body art.

Lagrow thinks that college students most tend to act on impulse when getting tattoo.

“Of course they act on impulse; they’re in college,” said Lagrow. “I’m sure an impulsive tattoo is on a long list of things that they regretted doing in college.”

Unitas said he has seen and heard it all in one form or another when it comes to what people want for tattoos.

He said he can usually tell when someone has put thought into a piece or if they’re acting on a whim.

Unitas said he tries to guide and educate someone who he thinks is heading into a potential regret in the hopes that they will at least give it further thought.

Even with that, he said he has done tattoos that people have later regretted—but fortunately not too often.

According to the website tattooing has become a well-established art form and has undergone major changes in past decades, which make it so much more acceptable. DeVellis agrees with that.

“I believe tattoos have become more acceptable in today’s society because of their abundance,” said DeVellis. “People fear what is unfamiliar, but with tattoos becoming a regularity—they are less fearful and more part of a norm.”

DeVellis said she thinks the stigma still does exist that people judge based on tattoos.

She said as much as she tries to not be judgmental she make assumptions of others based on appearances.

“If I see a butterfly tattoo on someone’s shoulder blade or a Tinkerbell on a girl’s hip, or a symmetrical ‘tramp stamp’ then I wonder what provoked them to get it,” said DeVellis. “Maybe the butterfly is a symbol of their grandmother that recently passed, or on a completely less respectable note—the butterfly came about when they were too drunk to remember their name and went to the nearest tattoo shop and got it to match their two other friends’ butterflies. Friends that they no longer speak with after a drunken quarrel the same night. There is a story behind every tattoo and therefore a judgment to go along with each one that is exposed.”

DeVellis said she thinks stigmas stick but are not always barriers and that tattoos are no exception to this concept.

Lagrow, who even has her knuckles tattooed, said she experiences the judgment of her tattoos all the time.

“People are quick to judge and they’ll let my appearance affect how they view me,” said Lagrow. “My appearance does not reflect on who I am; my personality does. Don’t get them twisted.”

1 Comment

  1. Stay away from vulgar, gang related, or offensive tattoos and you really shouldn’t have that big of a problem with employers. But I still think it will give you a disadvantage… Like when some one with equal qualifications than you also applies for the job but doesn’t have tattoos, the job may go to the one without the tattoos.


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