Mar 082004
Authors: Christiana Nelson

By choice and by necessity, Rebecca McIntyre bases her career

goals on her 13 tattoos and 15 body piercings.

The sophomore English major has no desire to hold a typical job

in the future nor does she believe she would be hired because of

her uncommon appearance.

“It’s just really sad that employers would hire someone much

less educated and less qualified for the job just because they look

normal,” McIntyre said. “I just get overlooked because of my blue

hair and my piercings.”

With the current trend of tattoos and body piercings, Robin

Pelkey, the office manager at Vaught Frye Architects, warned that

tattoos and piercings may hinder an individual’s ability to get a

professional job in certain instances.

“If someone was qualified I wouldn’t deny them the job because

of tattoos, but it would also depend on the kind of job,” Pelkey

said. “If the job is one where they are meeting with clients, it

would probably be negative.”

Rachel Evans, a junior merchandising major, pierced her nose

after high school graduation and said she is comfortable with the

temporariness of piercings.

“Depending on where I go with my career, I’ll most likely take

it out,” Evans said. “I’m sure I would look more professional

without it.”

Patrick Moran, owner of JP Moran Design, said that while the

disapproval of tattoos and piercings depends on the career choice,

students should realize that environment changes following


“Think hard about the placement of the tattoo,” Moran said.

“Just because you go to school in a relatively liberal and tolerant

area doesn’t mean you’re always going to be there. When it comes to

large scale businesses or teaching, it starts to become a bigger


Judy Brobst, associate director at the Career Center, said

students need to realize there are no legal ramifications to

denying a person a job because of tattoos and body piercings.

Therefore students should understand what is acceptable in their

future career fields prior to pursuing a tattoo or piercing.

“Students need to look at where they want to go career-wise,”

Brobst said. “Evaluate where they are going and how piercings and

tattoos will affect people that they are going to be interacting

with in the future.”

Brobst said she worked with a student who had gotten her nose

pierced and wanted to go into education. Upon applying for an

internship in the school system, school officials requested the

student either remove her nose piercing or minimize the size of the


The principal of O’Dea Core Knowledge Elementary, Ruth Herron,

agreed that piercings and tattoos are a deterrent for potential

teaching professionals.

“I’d have to take into consideration that it might be

inappropriate for young kids and I’d have to take into

consideration how the community and the parent community would feel

about it,” Herron said. “Whatever we would expect from our own

students we also expect from others.”

Jason Killip, a junior business finance major, has to remove his

ear piercings for his job at Lithia of Fort Collins because of the

company’s dress code, but said he understands the rationale.

“I think that (tattoos and piercings) are kind of a distraction

no matter what,” Killip said. “If a customer is noticing a tattoo

or piercing it could drive away business.”

While visible piercings and tattoos may hinder certain

professions, there are other areas in the professional world that

do not view them as entirely negative.

“In my industry (graphic design) it doesn’t give a negative or a

positive impression,” Moran said. “Piercings are sort of the norm

and with tattoos it would depend what the tattoo was: if it was

politically charged or socially charged it may give me cause to

investigate further about that person, but normally I wouldn’t

really even factor in the tattoos.”

While McIntyre has aspirations to own a bookstore and become a

tattoo artist rather than enter the business world, she believes

businesses will need to become increasingly accepting of piercings

and tattoos.

“It will get to the point that if a business is trying to hire

someone it will be almost impossible to find a qualified person

without tattoos or piercings,” McIntyre said. “I think it will

become more and more the norm.”

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