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October 24, 2021

Is sporting a dramatic tattoo really such a job stopper?

Tattoos, once the domain of sailors and gang members, are an everyday choice for many young Canadians and, in some circles at least, not really a big deal. 

But, upon entering the job market, some are coming to realize that their tats could end up costing them a job opportunity.

“Sporting a “sleeve”, an arm full of tattoos, or a scorpion across your neck, may work in some office environments but the majority of corporate cultures still frown on tattoos and piercings,” says corporate etiquette coach Diane Gottsman.

“When a college student or young adult is interviewing for a job, a tattoo can make an unfavorable impression, even if the impression is not verbalized,” she adds.

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It depends where they are, what you wear, and what your company’s policy is, of course. Lots of restaurant workers, both in the front and back of the house, sport tattoos, for instance.

But there are still many fields where body art may not be as acceptable. If you are looking to work in business, government, education, or law, ink can often send the wrong message to employers and clients, career coach Meredith Haberfeld tells National Public Radio.

Let's face it, if anybody has anything to say at work, it's not generally to tell you add another couple of inches of ink. 

That's why it's not completely surprising to hear that laser tattoo removal has become something of a boom industry, with many clients citing employment as a main reason for the treatment.

Tattoo removal isn't cheap though. Laser treatments run about $200 per session and it can take as many as 6 or 7 sessions to get the job done.

Should a little ink make any difference? Have you had tattoos removed? Was work the catalyst or were you just fed up with your look?

By Gordon Powers, MSN money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...