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Long Haired Freaks Need Not Apply (Then), Tatooed Workers Need Not Apply (Now)


In the world of work there is a lot of discrimination. Yup, I said it out loud. Not the kind that can be legislated or regulated against but bad nevertheless. In the 1960’s it was long hair, today, it’s ‘body art.”

In a recent article titled, “Top personal attributes employers hate about you;” piercings and tattoos are listed among several ‘undesirables’. The article states if people have these, employers are less likely to consider them for promotion. Yikes!

I don’t really understand why. Look, I’m a Boomer, I get all the dress for success ‘stuff’ we’ve been raised on and understanding one’s customers is very important. It is never a good idea to appear disrespectful to your clients. However, I believe that most people would continue to ‘buy’ from you whether your IT, HR or sales person has a tattoo or not.

Not considering them for employment or promotion because they look different from you is a big problem.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished us to, ‘judge on the content of a person’s character,” (or in this case, their work output) ” not on the color of their skin,” (or in this case whether or not they have a tattoo or a piercing. ) Let me clarify… if someone is inappropriately dressed for an environment for safety or collegial reasons– then that’s not acceptable. But I don’t think that sneakers, flip flops, jeans, or some tattoos etc. are inappropriate in most environments.

The millennial generation (20 something’s) love their body ink. It nearly a rite of passage for many.  In 2010, nearly four in ten persons age 18 to 29 had at least one tattoo. (Pew Research)

Get used to it folks, it’s here to stay and there’s nothing wrong with it.

Photo credit: Big hand, small hand Xurble

6 Responses
  • Margaret Kienzle
    January 13, 2013

    I don’t have to get used to anything, and tattoos are a real turnoff. Put them on your body where no one can see them if you’re wearing clothes. Have you ever seen what a 45-year-old tattoo looks like on a 65-year-old man? GROSS.

  • Deborah
    January 13, 2013

    Hi Margaret, thanks for your comment. Of course you don’t need to get used to anything. You can treat people, co-workers and employees any way you choose.

  • Carl Hoffman
    January 13, 2013

    For me it is just the opposite. I expect the good artists to be pierced and have body art.LOL But seriously I find out that is not always true. As an art collector I have met many artists and some of the finest dress conservatively. Sure, I played by John T. Moloy’s rules and it worked for me. However, does society have the right to enforce such rules? Good manners is one thing as polite language but the ones who get noticed, take risks, and some are rewarded for crossing barriers? As this century is shaping up many of the things we held sacred will fall and I hope I can be on the winning side. I think freedom helps move us forward. Thanks for posting again I was beginning to think that you were ending your helpful blog. Seriously consider using YouTube as I am considering that right now. I am soul searching to see if I can contribute good content that people want to see. I have viewed some of my practice material and I come across as arrogant. Nobody wants to watch that. So I have much work to do. IMHO You have a message more need to hear.

  • Deborah
    January 14, 2013

    Hi Carl, thanks for your comment.
    I completely agree that many of our long-held negative ‘common views’ are falling by the way side and it’s a good thing!

    We will either succeed together as a nation or we’ll go the way of empires past… arrogance and ignorance will take us down.

    I really appreciate your support. I did take a longer break than I intended. I even have posts written – I just get too busy to post them! I like your suggestion about YouTube. Did you know my daughter Jenna Marbles is the #4 most subscribed to YouTuber? So, I think I’ll stay away from that medium for now. Full disclosure — she uses unseemly language so if that offends… 🙂

  • Michele heine
    January 15, 2013

    I agree that people need to be more open about who they hire and not prejudice themselves against good candidates just because of some of surface appearance issues.
    My 17 year old son is one of those long haired kids (no tattoos) that I’m concerned won’t be able to find a job to support himself because his appearance will limit where he can apply.
    Thanks for bringing the issue to people’s attention.

  • Deborah
    January 15, 2013

    Hi Michele, thanks for your comment; you are in good company regarding your son.
    It’s not the 20 somethings who need to change… it’s the older generation. If they are not wise enough to see past his long hair to see his talent then someone else will. I wish I could hire him!

    What do you think?

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