Confessions of a Heavily Tattooed and Pierced Woman in Corporate America

Many people assume that because I have tattoos and piercings, that I likely work in retail or am a tattoo artist myself. Wrong. I work in an office and it isn’t that uncommon.

Growing up, all I’ve heard is that people who are tattooed and pierced people are dirty people who don’t have great job prospects. I never saw people that way. I saw people with tattoos and piercings as free spirited people who love showing their personality on their skin.

When I graduated high school I didn’t get a tattoo right away. I was too scared to. I had a Monroe piercing about 3 months after I turned 18, my mother was never going to let me do it prior to when I turned 18. I thought tattoos were beautiful but was so scared of the pain so I put it off until I decide there was one I wanted. It was simple lettering on my hip for my favorite band. My boyfriend at the time hated it but he hated anything alternative, which was weird because I had piercings when we got together but I digress.

My pierced face

There was a time where I was fired for getting a nose piercing when I worked at a fast food establishment. I never handled the food, I just took the orders so I didn’t quite understand why. They told me for appearances…it’s fast food. No one cares what I look like and they may want to mention that to a couple of my old coworkers with an issue with oral and body hygiene. Not only that but the manager fired me in a Facebook message. Want to talk about professional…

After that, I had a string of jobs that didn’t care about facial piercings so I had upwards of 5 or 6 at one time. I have taken ones out that I felt didn’t fit me anymore. And that’s okay, sometimes we do grow out of them. I finally settled on what I have in the above picture. I had a handful of tattoos, all small. It wasn’t until I got married and had a good paying job I started investing into curating my body with art.

My favorite piece so far. Credit to Jacob Haag at KindHand Tattooo. Surrounding tattoos done by my buddy Jeremy MacMillan at Rezurrection Tattoo.

In total I have over 40 tattoos and 13 piercings (with 4 stretched lobes, 1st’s at 2g, 2nd’s at 8g).

I got most of these pieces while working as an office manager for an engineering consulting firm. Both bosses I had there had no issue with my alternative choices as it didn’t interfere with my work. Even still, if I have to cover up or change facial piercings to retainers for client visits, I can do that with them healed up. The size of my ear piercings are still small enough to pass as regular lobe piercings. Nose piercings are becoming a norm to have and I can switch to clear glass retainers. I have a septum which I can flip up or put a retainer in and my lip piercing is so open I left a piercing out for almost a year and I was still able to put jewelry in.

I do have some parting advice to young people breaking out into the professional field:

I say this because it is better to give a great first impression and let your work ethic speak for itself. Gradually at the job you may be able to show more of your unique side. Try to go for a place that has a lax dress code. The reason I knew the place I was at was perfect was at my second interview when the hiring manager was wearing a Batman shirt.

Now you don’t have to take this advice but it does help. I don’t have any of the mentioned tattoos. A job stoppper/job killer can eliminate your chances of getting a job in a field if upper management is older and strict. Once I am in a position where it ticks all the boxes: great pay, love what I do, can retire comfortably. Only then will I get a hand and neck tattoo.

Many piercers will tell you that piercings are a lifetime commitment and require care in the first year of having it. If you can’t handle that then piercings are not for you. Having them healed so they can have proper retainers put in for jobs will save headaches in the long run.

Over time, maybe in the Z generation, hiring for jobs will be based on merit rather than on appearance. A girl can dream.