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Thread: Tattoos? Can I have them?

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    Tattoos? Can I have them?

    Im going to be going to Rutgers for my undergraduate in urban planning. Before I get in to this field (I really have no other interest in any other degree) i would like to know if I can have tattoos on on my arms. I know I would have to cover them up and have no problem with that, but do you think I will have any issues with getting a job and or advancing?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Keep them covered.

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    As a department head who hires, if you must have them then have them in a place they cannot be seen. When deadling with the public, you must be presentable and professional. Visable tats convey neither one. Planning, like most government jobs, is very conservative in certain areas. Plus, you will be in competition for others who want a particular job. You don't want anything that will lessen you chances.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Cyburbian
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    Some girls at the county had some on their arm (oh yeah, and they also wore tank tops and flip flops to work). As a consultant, I am in nothing less than business casual when in public, and usually err on the dressier side for most situations. I never said anything to them, but I was outright disgusted that my tax dollars were paying them to work the counter.

    I don't smoke either, but if you do, don't let me smell it on your breath or in your clothes. Febreeze and breath mints are not terribly expensive, and they make a huge difference in me taking you seriously.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Unless you are a sailor or in prison:

    tattoos = lame.

    In an office, any office, they reek of failure.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chupacabra View post
    Unless you are a sailor or in prison:

    tattoos = lame.

    In an office, any office, they reek of failure.
    I think that is slightly unfair. Whilst i would never get a tattoo myself, there are many different reasons why people choose to get them, that may not be so lame.

    If you must get one, just make sure no one can ever see it through your work attire and you will be fine.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  7. #7
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Probably unfair, but tattoos are pedestrian, meaningless, and usually low quality. I don't dislike them because they are unsightly or unseemly. Quite the opposite. I dislike them because they bore me and, as far as I am concerned, they are the epitome of the banal.

  8. #8
    I don't have any tattoos myself, but I think tattoos turned into something a lot bigger than they actually are. I think that anyone who makes a judgment call based on a tattoo is rather immature and is probably looking for any nonsensical reason to place another human being below them. It's just human nature, but I think that most people with a good handle on logic are able to overcome a desire to look down on someone if they realize that their reasoning doesn't make sense. Unless their tattoo says something like "I drink before work," or if the fact that they have a tattoo actually wastes tax dollars by sucking them into the ink, then I don't understand the reasoning and would appreciate clarification.

    Also, as for finding tattoos boring. I'm not particularly fascinated with tattoos either, but I find looking at plain skin pretty boring as well, so I don't exactly understand your reasoning. Is it normal to judge someone based on how exciting their skin is?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    On Urban Cartography, one of their recent graphics was on tattoo locations.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    If you must have a tattoo, then have "I love Urban Planning" tattooed on your forehead in block letters (never script). That way you will look professional. Nuts, but professional.

    um, yes that is sarcasm. I think it is wise that you are asking about tattoos before getting them. Remember fads come and go. While tattoos seem to be forever, you could regret them. Remember while many people see tats as art, more people see them as some bizarre self-mutilation ritual. Therefore advice about keeping them covered should be taken seriously. I also think folks try to get these to be unique, however if everyone has them, then they are no longer unique. Read Dr Suess and the Sneeches.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  11. #11
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Isn't it a bit closed-minded to jump to conclusions about tattoos? Aren't planners mostly in the self-described "open-minded" camps more often than not.

    What about someone whose children were killed and he had their birthdays tattooed on his calf? What about someone who converted to a new faith and commemorated that with a symbol on his upper back? I know you'll say "well those are in places you can't see". It's perfectly fine to have one in a covered-up area.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chupacabra View post
    Probably unfair, but tattoos are pedestrian, meaningless, and usually low quality. I don't dislike them because they are unsightly or unseemly. Quite the opposite. I dislike them because they bore me and, as far as I am concerned, they are the epitome of the banal.
    I think you ARE being unfair. It's one thing not to like tattoos -- nobody is asking you to get one -- but another to judge people based on the fact that they have a tattoo. (FYI: I don't have any myself.) And they are not "usually" low quality. There are just as many that are works of art. We have a close friend who is a tattoo artist... and he is truly an artist.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Many planners work in the public sector and regularly deal with citizens, elected officials and other professionals. Even in the private sector you deal with those same groups of people on a professional level. If you are thinking about a tattoo, I would make sure you can cover it up daily.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chupacabra View post
    Unless you are a sailor or in prison:
    I resemble that remark. I was a sailor for years and never got ink. Mostly because I couldn't find anything I wanted for the rest of my life.
    I look at 3 rules for tats:
    1. It must mean something to you - forever not just today
    2. It should be covered when you need to
    3. Remember that bird will look like a teradactyl when you're 80

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chupacabra View post
    Probably unfair, but tattoos are pedestrian, meaningless, and usually low quality. I don't dislike them because they are unsightly or unseemly. Quite the opposite. I dislike them because they bore me and, as far as I am concerned, they are the epitome of the banal.
    Damn... so many things wrong with this. My brother is a professional artist with an illustration degree from one of the top art schools in the country. He's also a tattoo artist. He custom tattoos professionals every day and what he does is no less art than many paintings, sculptures, etc.

    Fortunately though, I think your attitude is that of a shrinking minority. I think the way tattoos are received varies by geography and generation. Among my generation (I think they call us Gen Y?), tattoos are much less stigmatized and I'm pretty confident that when we start taking over managerial positions, restrictions on visible tattoos will liberalize. My tattoo is easily covered, but I'm not ashamed of it, and I'd proudly admit to any of my supervisors that I have one if I was asked.

    If you honestly think tattoos are still relegated to sailors and miscreants, it's time to take a step out of the 1950s.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

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    Thank you all for the advice. Umm i actually am a sailor (now reserve) so i guess its ok?? right? ...Would anybody have any past memories of coworkers with this sort of issue??..or know anybody with tattos in the field? Also i plan to look professional wearing long sleeve button ups in a classy way. Can I get away with that?? And if you all must know my tattoos would be related to urban planning not saying that helps the cause

  17. #17
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    I've decided it isn't fair of me to judge tattoos so harshly without having one myself. So, I'm going to get a tattoo and experience life with it to better understand this issue.

    should I get the mandarin character for "courage" (or "fried rice") on my upper back or a barbed wire arm band?

    ifeeldope, I'm USNR too. Joking aside, I always dress conservatively at work and err on the side of appearance neutrality. Most people won't care if you have tats, but it would be prudent to keep them covered, especially if you work for/with the public. I would also add that tattoos on your face won't go over well and gang related stuff (pistol on your neck, tear drops, etc.) is obviously not a good idea.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    I am 36 years old and most of my coworkers in the same general age group have ink (I don't), heck most of my friends in general have ink or other body mod work done. Folks keep it covered at work, don't flaunt it and there is never an issue.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I'd say the same as most here- keep it small and in a place where it can be covered and you'll be fine. I even think they are OK in places where you might be able to see them sometimes, as long as they are not flaming skulls or pumpkin-headed motorcyclists with machetes. I have hired people with tattoos and most of them (not all) were within these parameters. I've had to deal with one tattoo-flaunter in my time.

    FYI, I don't have a tattoo and probably never will.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I hired two ladies at different times. One had a small star on her hand, the other a small butterfly above the ankle. No one had any problems with either, even in conservative rural America. It will take another generation before they are more accepted. Until then, no one cares what you have if it can't be seen.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    I'll go one step further: I'll defend tattoos and admit to having one - an urban planning one, in fact. Most people think I'm a huge geek when I explain what it is.

    I think everyone is giving tattoos too much credit. Hide it, done. Your respectability and professionalism doesn't disappear the second you get inked, though you don't know how people may perceive you judging from this thread. Sidenote: tattoos and business casual are a great combo.

    Maybe I should just get a PhD so I can get sleeves. Academia LOVES tattoos.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    The planning profession has always struggled to earn credibility and respect, not only from the general public, but engineers, architects, LAs, etc. Do you really want to make it harder than it already is?

    We show our creativity in many different ways, but we are still very much a staid profession of conformists. We are not artists, tight rope walkers, or circus freaks. First and foremost planners are servants, either public servants or servants to our clients. Tattoos might be acceptable, but they are not respectable.

    Keep them covered. Period.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Tattoos might be acceptable, but they are not respectable.
    Not respectable? That's strictly a matter of opinion and, I'd argue, not a point of view that is widely accepted anymore. It's also offensive to the millions of people out there who have meaningful, tasteful tattoos. I honestly believe this type of attitude will be anachronistic in the next few years and there will soon be a time when displaying tasteful tattoos is perfectly acceptable. From my point of view, whether or not they're respectable simply depends on the individual tattoo.

    There are probably still people who think women who wear slacks or have ear piercings are "not respectable" too.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    The best I can do for you is tell you to look under some of the companies dress codes. All the ones I've worked for will tell you it's ok, but it must be covered while at work.

    P.S. For those in the USNR - thank you, but you really need to spend more than a weekend at sea to be a sailor.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Women in slacks? I need to report that to the MAN. OK, with pants suits, but only on Fridays.

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