Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tattoos, Piercings, dress codes, oh my!

I am very lucky that my current job is pretty easy going with the dress code and are subculture friendly. Most people are super down to earth and my office is pretty laid back. I have borrowed my colleague's scooter (not a Vespa but you know, a skateboard with handlebars!) and scooted around the office in my platforms! People are known to skateboard around and I really like that sort of atmosphere. Clients seem to like it too!

I had a conversation with a friend of mine about my visible tattoos and piercings. The main topic was company dress code and what would I do if I ever left my current job and worked in a more conservative place.

In the past, when I had less work experience, I took out my nose stud for a job.  I wore suits and even went completely "normal" for jobs. I don't think I could personally do that again, even if it meant a better salary.

I feel like I am at a point in my life, where I have enough experience under my belt, I can be picky with where I work. I would not want to work for a company that is too conservative. In the past, I worked in the financial service industry where dress codes were pretty strict but my boss was OK with me having bright red streaks in my hair.  I wore a lot of dark colored dress shirts, dressy boots, and pin stripped suits. When I left, I worked in places where they had a more casual dress code which was a challenge for me so I went "normal" with lots of gothic undertones.

 I started working where I am now and stopped the charade. I wear what I want, within reason. Club wear is obviously unacceptable. I do sometimes wear my Hell Bunny skirt or my red leopard print mini that has D-Rings hanging off of it (both worn with leggings since they are quite short) and no one ever mentioned anything about it. My main dress code, however, does consist of wearing mainly black with a plain top and a nice skirt.

This is the skirt! Source:

I guess I got used to a company culture where people can skateboard around and most of us have visible tattoos and piercings. I have seen people wear skull shirts, Metallica shirts, and ripped jeans. I do not wear these things so I think the occasional crazy skirt is acceptable!  In all honesty, I think I am more productive because I am not stressed about covering up my tattoos in the morning. I worked through college so I never was able to have that labret piercing until now. My half sleeve on my arm was done last summer.  It is nice that I can have that. If ever I was given an opportunity elsewhere, I think I would cover up the tats and would add some color to my appearance but I would not remove the piercing. It is a very small stud and to be honest, you would have to look closely to notice it.

I like to think I am at a point where I don't need to completely sell out. I think I am toned down enough (with the exception of the occasional fun skirt) and going back to a strict company dress code after so many years of being spoiled, I don't think I ever could!

This is me though and I do understand that it may not be for anyone. I was never one that wanted a career. I am happy and actually like doing administrative work! I am not one to sit in meetings on a daily basis, but I do so occasionally. I hate public speaking and dealing with people in general. I consider myself to be a little on the introverted side but do understand that I have to learn to adapt if I want to function properly in this very extroverted world! Working behind the scenes suits me fine.  I have always been the "regular job" type girl. I knew since I was a teenager that I wanted a family. I like the 9-5 gig because it enables me to be home. I rarely work overtime. I don't need to travel in my position, although if ever I was given the opportunity, I might take it but I wouldn't want to be on the road as often as some of my colleagues.  I have time to concentrate on my hobbies and even plan on taking some jewellery making courses for fun! I like being creative and am at my happiest doing artsy things! I may not make a stellar salary but I am pretty well paid at the moment. I can live quite comfortably. The great thing is, there is always a high demand for people like me, it also helps that I am bilingual!  It really doesn't take much to make me happy!

What is your calling? What sort of career do you have?


  1. I work in book publishing, which is super corporate, but creative, so I pretty much can wear whatever I want. Most people dress super corporate or "New England" but I've never gotten any crap. I'm midlevel and have to represent the department at meetings. I think they like the diversity...they give me all the gothy/metal books for the novelty I think.

  2. I used to work in a supermarket at the weekends and they were really weird about it. My supervisor once spoke to me about my lip ring (that I'd had for months) and told me visible facial piercings weren't allowed, but I pointed out that a number of other staff members had nose or eyebrow rings - to which my supervisor replied that "well, if it was a nose stud, it would be allowed because some indian women have them for religious reasons", I said "how do you know I don't have this for a religious reason?" and she replied in a really bitchy way "well you don't do you?". Sooo, as I'm clearly not indian, I wasn't allowed a piercing that reflects *my* culture. *sigh* sometimes there are just no words.

    Oh, and not to mention the fact i had coloured streaks in my hair for 2 years before one day someone decided that it wasn't allowed. I swear some places make up the rules as they go along. Thankfully I'm at uni now studying graphic design so it shouldn't be a problem in the future :)

    1. I know right. I respect that they have a dress code but it should be the same for everyone otherwise what's the point? :/

    2. I agree. For me, other people wear shirts with skulls and sometimes it rots my socks that my boss won't let me wear one. I do understand the people who do, don't deal with clients like I do but it still sucks. I am not going to make a big stink out of it considering the things I do get a way with. That totally sucks for you, I completely understand.

  3. What languages you speak as a bilingual, are they English and French? :)

  4. Until recently I was a grant programme manager for a charitable foundation, well paid, well respected, mid level. The month before I left they staff handbook was updated - and now includes a section where it is deemed misconduct to display tattoos or piercings that senior management deem 'unacceptable' - or to have hair that is not a natural hair colour (er, what about the bottle blonds, bottled tanned folk of the office then?!). This didn't affect me as I don't have anything other than my ears pierced - but it could have affected one girl in admin with both (she also left, a little before me). This is a left wing leaning charity, hugely into promoting social justice and equality, gay rights etc - but the (openly gay) CEO appears to have an issue with the alternative crowd. Being goth / alt is not seen as promoting a professional image as the company wishes to be seen.

    I think he's left the charity wide open to being challenged legally at some point in the future, given that anti-discrimination laws in the UK are being pushed to include people from alternative life styles - thanks to the wonderful work of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation & Manchester Police. However, it's quite an insidious rule to enforce - how do you prove you didn't get a job you were eminently qualified for because you openly live an alternative life style?

    I should say not one of my colleagues batted an eyelid at me being goth, they were all fascinated by the culture (with the exception of the CEO who always treated me like mould on old bread - but that's his default setting).

  5. I think you're doing great! You have a good sense about yourself. I work as an engineer and study to become a teacher. I have no idea how the school world says about tattoos. I have one wich is easily covered but wan't to get more.

    1. Thanks Linnea-Maria! I want to get more too! I don't know much about the school world but depending where you are teaching, I think it would be ok. If you end up teaching college or High School, I bet it would be ok. You could relate to your students!



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