Your first thought on seeing a tattoo-covered man is probably not “CEO.” But as tattoos become increasingly popular among every demographic, more professionals are getting inked and making tattoo culture the norm.
Young adults are expressing their creativity through tattoos, and the trend is only growing.
USF is no exception to the trend, and one can see ink on many students. For many students with tattoos, the experience is special and occasionally worthy of sharing.
Moises Colon Jr., a junior majoring in social work and health science, shared the story behind two of his tattoos. Across his upper back he has the message “hermanos hasta la muerte,” which translates to “brothers until death.” He said he got the tattoo with a friend from Kuwait to symbolize their brotherhood and family.
In addition to the larger message, Colon’s collection includes one he got on his arm for his 18th birthday. He decided to get the Nirvana smiley face with the phrase “Hakuna Matata,” which means “no worries” in Swahili. He said the Nirvana logo represents obtaining a state of bliss, and the phrase represents a way to obtain it.
Colon said consideration for the workplace played a part in the location of each tattoo. They were placed so they could be covered if necessary. But he believes young people will eventually not have to worry about visible tattoos at work.
“In the future, (tattoos) will be more accepted as a part of culture, and not delinquency,” he said.
Even students who work on campus have tattoos. Alexandria Moore, a sophomore majoring in nursing, works at the Campus Recreation Center. She has the phrase “the only way out is through” on her ankle. Moore said she spent two years thinking about getting the tattoo before going through with it at age 20.
She said she waited to be sure she wanted that particular saying. Even after she was certain in her choice, she worried about what her mother would think about her tattoo. She had the tattoo placed on her ankle, where it could be easily hidden, in anticipation of her future career.
Students are not the only ones inked on campus. Alessandro Cesarano, a graduate instructor, has the phrase “Carpe Diem,” Latin for “seize the day,” in script across both of his wrists. He said he chose the phrase because it has meaning behind it and isn’t just something random. Like many career-conscious individuals, he also chose to have the tattoo on his wrists because it is relatively easy to cover in a professional setting.
At Blue Devil Tattoo, the oldest tattoo shop in Ybor City, artists have vast knowledge on the topic of tattoos. They said they tattoo a large number of students and often face questions about how tattoos will affect the professional lives of customers.
The next most popular questions are whether or not the tattoo will hurt and which area of the body hurts mostduring the process. They have had many students change the location of their tattoo based solely on how it could potentially affect their careers.
Though being covered in ink may be a problem for some employers, the employees at Blue Devil Tattoo said in occupations like cosmetology, writing, journalism and mechanic work, ink is not only acceptable, but also normal.
The acceptance of tattoos seems to vary by employer. According to a 2011 study by Harris Interactive and CareerBuilder, 31 percent of hiring managers surveyed said they would be less likely to extend a promotion to someone with visible tattoos.
However, in a 2013 Forbes article, a Bank of America spokeswoman said the company does not have a rule against tattoos. Some of the most prominent medical facilities in the U.S. are surprisingly liberal in their tattoo policies. Both the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic allow employees to have tattoos as long as they are covered during work.
Nick Cangeme, marketing director of Blue Devil Tattoo and 7th Ave Tattoo shops said, with some consideration, tattoos could be acceptable even in the most elite positions.
“It’s all a matter of perspective,” Cangeme said. “If you plan on working in a corporate job, then getting a head or face tattoo may not be the best option, but something that could be covered could definitely have its place in the corporate world.”