The Greeps (greeps) wrote in academy_ink,
The Greeps

Ink in the "real" world

I currently have two small, inconspicuous tattoos (foot & lower back). I really want to get a third, preferrably on the back of my neck. Only problem is, I wonder how this will affect future jobs. I've recently been accepted to NYU Wagner for Nonprofit Management and hope to be moving out into the professional world in two to three years time. Up until now I have spent my tattoo-ed time as an undergrad, a social service employee (group home setting), and a Peace Corps Volunteer - none of them serious (ie. conservative) professional endeavors.

My question is - how much have you/do you worry about such things and have visible tattoos ever affected your job?

If I got a small tattoo on the back of my neck as I'd like, I could always cover it with longer hair while at work which would work for now. But for the past five years I've had boy-length hair and am considering chopping it back to that length this summer (it's only been long enough to cover my neck for the past 6 months now).

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I think part of it depends on what you get. A bloody knife and "death from above" might look worse to a future employer than a heart or a bird. :)

If you cover it with your hair when looking for a job, you should be fine because it would constitute an "existing condition". Thus if your employer later saw it, they couldn't fire you for it. But they *could* require you cover it back up again.

We've got a buddy who is covered (no neck tattoos, though) who got a massive post-doc position at Emory and they didn't have any problem. He also lectured in shorts, with big leg tattoos at UofM and no one gave him any guff.

I've been toying with the same problem, because I want something on the back of my calf and I just can't decide...
I have armband tats that show while I'm teaching, but nothing I can't cover for conferences, interviews, etc. While I agree with the above comment that the content of the ink is what really matters, I'm the type that likes to be overly cautious. I also like to be blunt honest. I'd approach some advisor-type-figure in your program and ask them what they think about the tattoo. You'll probably get a no, but you could get a yes or an I don't care, in which case you'd feel a lot better about doing it.

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really, you thought the back of the neck was most painful? Maybe it's because I got that one first, so long ago now, but I don't even remember feeling any pain with that one at all.
One of mine is on the back of my neck. I'm a fairly conservative program, so for the first 6 months or so, I'd wear collared shirts or scarves that covered it up. After I proved my worth to everyone, I figured they'd like me tattoo or no. While I'm not sure that all of the older faculty like it, I don't think they respect me any less for having it.