Tattoos and other body modifications, Lindsey Taylor- Wise, Fine Arts major, said that for her and some other students they are able to find work with their ink and piercings.
She works for Il Vicino tap room and said that her body modifications have never been an issue for her.
“I haven’t been told to cover up or take any of the piercings out, they seem to enjoy my colorful hair too, which is nice,” Taylor-Wise said.
Fine Arts major, Alicia Garrett has not had an issue with her tattoo, but instead said that one of them may have influenced an employer to hire her over other candidates.
Garrett said that her tattoo of a band logo gave her interviewer a connection to her personally that might not have been there otherwise.
“I think maybe with tattoos, when you’re interviewing don’t hide them, because it may be a conversation starter to help them learn a little more about you on a personal level that may make them want to work with you more,” Garrett said.
In 2012 Albuquerque had over 50 tattoo parlors according to “Are tattoos becoming more socially acceptable in the workplace?” an article in UNM’s CJ 475 News, and the article also named New Mexico as one of the most accepting states for tattoos in the work place.
Taylor-Wise said she has had experience in several aspects of the restaurant industry and her ability to sport her body modifications has, in the past, depended on where she was working and what her job was at the time.
“I feel like it just depends on the owners and the management, depending on if they have tattoos or if they are open minded people,” Taylor- Wise said.
Although the tattoos and body modification may affect her employment in the future she said that her choice in a career in art should allow her to not only sport her tattoos but to get new ones as well.
Both Taylor-Wise and Garrett have visible tattoos and stretched ears, and both also work in places where they are visible to the public.
“If I’m applying somewhere, I want to make sure that I can be myself and put it out there, if I have and interview I try not to hide stuff,” Taylor-Wise said. “Tattoos No Longer a Kiss Of Death in the Workplace,” an article from Forbes magazine highlighted a UNM professor, Bruce Potts, who has a facial tattoos and other body modifications and had not affected his employment with the university.
Forbes also said that 14 percent employment aged Americans have tattoos and that policies on tattoos vary from industry to industry and workplace to work place.
At CNM the official Employee hand book contains no language pertaining to tattoos or piercings, but does say that wearing inappropriate clothing may be grounds for disciplinary action or termination.
Director of Communications & Media Relations Brad Moore said that CNM does not have a specific policy regarding tattoos.
“The standard for tattoos in the workplace at CNM depends on the work environment,” Moore said.
Supervisors can use their own discretion to deem what is appropriate for a specific workplace or a specific job position, Moore said.
Tattooist and shop owner Leo Gonzales said some of the shift in attitude about tattoos is because of the popularity of shows about the industry making it mainstream and more acceptable.
“Depending on where you live and what your job is having/being heavily tattooed isn’t as big of a deal these days as it was even ten years ago, and I think that has a lot to do with tattoos being portrayed in the media as much as they are these days,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said that this acceptance may have opened up the job market to people with tattoos, but that it is a double edged sword, meaning it has also taken away the mystery of tattoos, which used to not be socially acceptable.
Fellow tattooist Mathew Pippin said that the trend of television shows that highlight tattoos has not changed the overall taboo of body modification as a whole.
“That has always been a thing and that will always be a thing regardless of how many cool TV shows there are, there will always be that stigma,” Pippin said.
Taylor-Wise said that Albuquerque is a good town for people with body modifications to work, because it is college and the large amount of people have tattoos.
With so many people in town that are tattooed it has become less of an excuse for an employer not to hire a person who is well qualified and has the needed experience for a position, Taylor-wise said.
“I think it’s changed a lot and it’s continuing to change, because I feel like the people who are getting tattooed are only going to get more tattooed; then the next generation is going to be so used to it and everybody’s going to have tattoos and it won’t be such a big deal anymore, it’s just going to be an acceptable way to express yourself,” Taylor- Wise said.