Do you cover your tattoos when you are at work? Do you know someone who does? Or perhaps you know

someone who has a tattoo and does not need to cover it up on their job? Expectations vary a great deal,

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but body art or tattoos are still controversial in the workplace. According to the San Diego Union-



• 20 percent of workers indicated their body art had been held against them on the job,

• 42 percent of employers said the presence of visible body art lowered their opinion of workers,

• 44 percent of managers surveyed have body art,

• 52 percent of workers surveyed have body art,

• 67 percent of workers who have body art or piercings cover or remove them during work hours.


In your line of work, a tattoo might be an important visual aid, or it might detract from your effectiveness

as a business communicator. Body piercings may express individuality, but you need to consider how they

will be interpreted by employers and customers.


Artifacts are forms of decorative ornamentation that are chosen to represent self-concept. They can

include rings and tattoos but may also include brand names and logos. From clothes to cars, watches,

briefcases, purses, and even eyeglasses, what we choose to surround ourselves with communicates

something about our sense of self. They may project gender, role or position, class or status, personality,


and group membership or affiliation. Paying attention to others’ artifacts can give you a sense of the self

they want to communicate.



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