By: Stephen Martinez

Tattoos and piercings are becoming more prominent in the United States, especially among our youth. Practices once considered taboo are now becoming common accessories. However, just because it is becoming more acceptable among the population does not mean it’s becoming more accepted in the workplace. Well, not ALL workplaces.

Ron Perko, former accessories manager for Guitar Center in Eugene who is now a guitar technician, is very open to the idea of body modifications in the workplace. “I could care less,” he said. “As long as the tattoos don’t include swastikas or other offensive things, I don’t see why it would matter.” He also mentioned that his acceptance towards piercings and tattoos differentiates between business. “This is Guitar Center, of course we’re fine with it.”

Stephanie Reed, an assistant to Stewart Mones M.D. at Maitree Family Medicine, had slightly different views from Ron. “I don’t judge or hate people with body modifications. However, it would be hard to hire someone with extremely visible tattoos and piercings as a receptionist or nurse in a professional environment,” Reed said. “If it’s small and can be covered by clothing, that’s one thing. Really visible tattoos or facial piercings are a whole other ball game.” Stephanie also mentioned that other larger medical practices may not be as strict as her specific workplace. “Larger medical practices have a more diverse patient population. Our practice is smaller, working with older, more conservative patients,” Reed said. “As a medical professional, I need to make sure the focus of the patient’s visit is on the reason they’re there, which is medical help-not about me or any body modifications I might have. We need to leave any subjective judgements out of the mix.”

Tattoos and piercings are still not accepted everywhere. If you are a person experimenting or interested in expressing yourself through tattoos or piercings, then pre-thinking about future occupations is a must. However, just because one doctor wouldn’t hire someone with many tattoos, doesn’t mean another would do the same. There are hotel, hospital, and office managers who still hire despite body modifications. Whether one has body modifications or not, the most important asset of one’s self is to be confident in who you are, as that’s what is truly important.