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Piercings and Tattoos: Have they made the Leap to Corporate?

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

By Michidael Ceard

Today, everyone knows someone who’s tatted, pierced out, or sporting some sort of body modification. During our college years at Barry, it’s easy to flaunt our body art to people who see it as acceptable. However, what happens when we get our degrees and are pushed into the professional, corporate world? 


Let’s begin with the employment practices at Barry University itself.


Jasmine Santiago is the associate vice president of the department of human resources. She said that Barry is an equal opportunity employer, maintaining fair and equitable hiring practices across the institution. 


“We do not have a policy specifically related to tattoos and piercings; however, we do have a personal standards policy that states ‘that each employee is responsible for presenting a personal appearance which recognizes the need for good grooming and neatness’,” said Santiago. 


Still, Santiago maintained that the university’s views on grooming have nothing to do with the presentation of tattoos and piercings. 


Recent Barry alumnus Felix Vega-Pagan currently works in the Office of Mission Engagement at Barry as a graduate assistant and has an expansive sleeve tattoo. 

He has never felt stigmatized at Barry but he knew that there were some places where it would never be welcomed. 


“In 2016, I worked at Disney, but I knew I couldn’t be employed if I had tattoos because you can’t show tattoos or piercings,” said Vega-Pagan. 


After leaving Disney, Vega-Pagan acquired his first set of tattoos and has encountered no problems since then. 


In another vein, nursing senior Anel Ramirez has a nose piercing but has found herself removing it due to the profession she hopes to enter. 


In the medical field, piercings and tattoos are taboo. 

“As a nurse, I can’t wear my nose piercing. In some cultures, it’s viewed as offensive and, in a hospital setting, it’s unprofessional,” said Ramirez. “In healthcare, it’s very big to cover tattoos or piercings.”


Sustainability AmeriCorps Vista at Barry, Jaedyn Amaro, has several nose piercings and tattoos.


He decides not to wear his piercings because he now works in higher education. He admitted that he experienced professional trouble with his piercings and tattoos in the past. 


“In the food industry, I hid my tattoos because the customers didn’t want to see it,” said Amaro. “As a man, it’s not seen as professional and mature to have piercings.” 

Nonetheless, many students choose to have tattoos and piercings even when it might pose professional barriers. 


According to a USA Daily poll done in 2013, 76 percent of employers felt that tattoos and piercings hurt an applicant’s chance of getting hired. 


However, this hasn’t stopped students from getting tattoos. 


Another poll conducted by Pew Research Center showed that 38 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.


The reasons for getting tattoos or piercings are plenty, especially for Barry students.

 

Vega-Pagan loved tattoos since he was seven. His father had a tattoo and he remembers it being normal in his family. 


“For me, it’s a way to