Tattoos at work:  Think before you ink



“Art is the expression of the most profound thoughts in the simplest way,” quoting the words of the famous scientist Albert Einstein. Every individual in the society has a need to express themselves. This expression may take many forms- some may choose to express themselves through music, some through their writing, acting, theatre or films, through dance or even painting may be few to name. The goal or purpose of art is simply the expression of oneself to the world.

Getting inked or tattooed holds a special place for a person to express themselves to the world. There is usually a story behind getting a tattoo; it may be to honor someone or something that gives an individual power or strength in a difficult time. Tattoos can also help to signify the turning point in a person’s life.

Tattoos are gaining more popularity today because it makes a person feel unique, attractive, or special. Tattoos have been around for a long time, and have always been a subject which causes conflicts and contradictions both positively and negatively.

Many times, getting inked may hold negative perceptions in the society. Some people perceive it to be a sign of ‘rebellion’ or ‘danger’.  The history of tattoos in India traces back to ancient times with the lower stratum or tribes.

Tattooing was practiced among the rival tribes to avoid the abduction of women from their community. Women getting taken away was a common occurrence. To avoid that, women of their community got covered with tattoos to make them unappealing to others. It was a safe way of protective cover.

The Singhpo tribe followed a set of rules on tattooing for both men and women. The unmarried girls are not allowed to get tattooed and the married folk is allowed to wear tattoos on specific parts of their body. Tattoos are mostly used for tribal identity in the region during war times.

Let us now try to look at this situation from today’s perspective with respect to its acceptance at the workplace. In times, when getting tattooed is becoming the latest fad among the youth, both male and female there may be certain reservations about it in a working scenario.

Many corporate houses generally discourage the recruitment of tattooed persons into their fold because of the general impression that they won’t be serious enough with their work. The army rules ban having a permanent tattoo of more than one square inch in size have been in place for quite some time. The guidelines also restrict the body parts having a tattoo to forearms only. Having a tattoo is allowed in some government jobs, but is prohibited in others such as IAS, IPS, IRS, Indian Defence Services.

While many organizations are breaking this stigma today, mostly when it comes to the media field or even teaching at certain times there are certain jobs with a strict dress code and grooming conduct. However, many corporate organizations try to inhibit their perceptions and hire a candidate for the job if he/she fits the bill, but may ask the individual to cover the tattoo at the workplace in order to adhere to the dress code of the organization.

Even though tattoos are sometimes viewed as unprofessional and offensive, tattoos are just a form of art and should not hinder someone from anything in life and people with tattoos are just as human as everyone else.

However, a person may exercise caution when it comes to what has to be tattooed and the body part to get it. For example, getting a tattoo on the back or on the leg would have less visibility as opposed to one on the wrist or arm. A tattoo is a permanent commitment, so before getting one done ask yourself, “Will I like this on my body when I’m fifty years old?”

For example, in our youth, we may think that we look good with a spider tattooed on the bum, but be unsure of it by the time we are forty. None of us would like to act so impulsively and then end up with a symbol of embarrassment on some part of our bodies.

Thus, this saying always holds true, “There are always two sides to the same coin,” so just as there are positive and negative impacts of getting a tattoo done. Always decide what is in your best interests. Don’t let negative apprehensions hold you back, but exercise caution before you get inked.

“Tattoos have a power and magic of their own, they not only decorate the body but also enhance the soul.”

~Michelle Delio

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