Piercings and tattoos have undoubtedly made their way into the mainstream. But can they affect your career?
Many of our clients are ready to transition from school to work, or from job to career. In a competitive job market, people want to make sure that piercings aren’t going to hurt their opportunities for work or advancement.
This article looks at body modifications in the workplace in an attempt to answer, “are piercings professional?”
Shifting Perceptions of Piercings in the Workplace
In general, there is a shift in how piercings are perceived in society. Their establishment as a part of mainstream culture, especially amongst youth, is changing how people receive them. This shift in perception, for the most part, extends to the workplace.
But it’s worth keeping in mind that this shift is still ongoing. Discrimination against body modification remains an issue. Certain industries, careers, and employers are more prone to this than others.
For example, creative, lifestyle, and youth-oriented companies are body modification-friendly. In fact, piercings and tattoos can even be a plus for prospective employees in these fields. Sales positions and fields like banking still often lean away from more “extreme” piercings, however.
Regardless of the position or industry you’re in, there’s no guarantee how an employer will respond.
Unfortunately, there are some people who still judge those with piercings, regardless of how society perceives them. On the other hand, others have a bias towards those with piercings. You often won’t know until you meet them.
When it comes to individual employers, you can’t really predict how they will react to your body piercings. As such, we recommend being true to yourself. If piercings are as important to your self-expression as they are to ours, then it’s worth getting. If you’re really concerned about how they’ll be received, you may want to go with some of the more common workplace piercings.
Common Piercings in the Workplace
If you’re looking to get a piercing but have concerns about its reception at work, the safest play is to go with the most common workplace piercings. Ear piercings, for example, are acceptable in most workplaces.
Lobe piercings are so common that few employers take issue with them. Even some of the more exotic ear piercings like helix, conch, and tragus piercings are rarely a problem. A more common concern with ear piercings in the workplace is the jewellery.
Some piercing jewellery types, like hoop earrings, flesh tunnels, and plugs are more likely to fall victim to scrutiny than others. A simple ring or stud is usually acceptable. As well, it’s worth using common sense. Many workplaces are more likely to judge jewellery with designs they perceive as aggressive (ex. skulls, daggers) or that are drug-related (ex. pills, cannabis leaves).
Once a piercing heals, you can always swap out jewellery you wear at work for other edgier or cooler jewellery when you’re off. If you get a chance to see what types of piercings and jewellery are in a workplace before an interview it can give you a chance to see what is the norm there.
Hiding Piercings at Work
Another good workaround if you’re unsure a workplaces perception of piercings is to hide them. Any piercing that is easily hidden by clothing, like navel piercings and nipple piercings, is unlikely to present an issue.
Others, like eyebrow and lip piercings, are all but impossible to hide without covering your face altogether. But with some simple adjustments, most other piercings can be adequately hidden at work.
Wearing your hair down, for example, is an easy way to cover your earrings. A curved septum barbell can be flipped up inside the nose, after all, how often are people looking up in there? Tongue and frenulum piercings take a little command over how wide you open your mouth.
Removing Piercings While at Work
For piercings you can’t hide, there is always the option to simply remove them. Of course, there are a couple caveats here. The first is that the piercing must be fully healed before removing the jewellery.
If the piercing does not fully heal first, there is a high risk of the hole closing up, and potential for infection. Instead, the best option is usually to have simple, work-friendly piercing jewellery in as your initial jewellery.
Another consideration is the type of piercing. Some piercings will close faster than others. Ask your piercer whether taking your jewellery out for several hours a day will put you at risk of losing the piercing.
Cartilage piercings, for instance, tend to close faster. As well, the newer the piercings, the faster it closes.
Are Piercings Smart for Professionals
Overall, there is a definite shift towards the acceptance of body modification. Today, most places have no problem with piercings in the workplace. But there are always exceptions. After all, this shift is still occurring.
Young professionals may want to err on the side of caution if they have concerns. Going with more common piercings and/or inoffensive jewellery will help you maintain a professional appearance all but the most scrutinous employers.
One of our piercing experts can help you choose a work-appropriate option if you are unsure which piercing is best for you. Contact us now, or visit us today at the Upper Canada Mall.
Need an Experienced Piercer in Newmarket?
Working with an experienced piercer can make all the difference when it comes to the amount of pain you may experience. If you’re in the Newmarket, Ontario area and are concerned about the level of pain with regards to various ear piercings, give us a call or stop by today. We’d love to help walk you through what to expect and help you choose the right option.