Does a visible tattoo mean the end of a career as we know it? In this series of interviews, our man Tony Jones speaks to tattoo fans about getting ink above the collar and below the cuff. In part three, we speak to Claire, an I.T Project Manager at a university in the North of England, who has tribal tattoo work on her neck and head.
VIDA LOCA: When did you get your Everlasting Job Stopper?
CLAIRE: I’m thirty-five now and I had it done about 15 years ago so I’d have been twenty.
VIDA LOCA: Did you realise the implications of having a visible tattoo.
CLAIRE: In a way, yes I did because in those days I had long hair and so it was easy to cover. Also I’m fond of oriental style suits with high necks which do a good job of hiding it too. It’s easier to cover up than you’d expect and the small tattoo on my arm is often more visible.
VIDA LOCA: Your outfit and hairstyle today do nothing to cover it now though.
CLAIRE: That’s right; I don’t think I should have to cover it. Admittedly I had them covered when I was interviewed and didn’t really start showing them at work until relatively recently. By then I had my feet under the table and, having proven I’m good at my job, I expect to be appraised on that alone. I think it is wise to play it safe in an interview but I’m at liberty to show my tattoos if I like now.
VIDA LOCA: How’s that working out for you?
CLAIRE: Just fine thanks, both my main job at the University and in my other job as a fitness professional it hasn’t caused me many problems at all. In fact my tattoos have become a bit of a trademark. People know me and remember me by them. I think they’re an asset.
VIDA LOCA: So, no problems at all then?
CLAIRE: I have found some people to be initially judgemental but they soon get over it. It was sometimes an issue at my son’s school; some of the other mums were wary of me at first. But when word got out that I was a fitness professional some of the wary mums plucked up courage to ask me for advice.
VIDA LOCA: It’s good to know that an everlasting job stopper hasn’t been anything of the sort for you.
CLAIRE: No, not in the slightest. I think the design and the location help enormously in that respect. I don’t suppose a tattoo on the face would have been so easy to get away with. I think the culture in the places I have worked has been excellent and there has been very little negativity. Many of the people I work with at the university have tattoos too.
VIDA LOCA: As a mother, what advice would you give your son about tattoos?
CLAIRE: He’s only eleven at the moment but he has spoken to me about getting tattooed when he’s older. He’s talked about getting work on his arms and I’m quite impressed with his choices! If he decided to have work done on his hands or face I’d advise him to think very carefully about it as people will judge you whether you like it or not. If he really wanted an everlasting job stopper then I’d be supportive, so long as he had considered the consequences. It I’d recommend he speaks to someone with tattoos on their face for a first-hand account.
VIDA LOCA: Do you think that your tattoos have shaped your life or decisions at all?
CLAIRE: In some ways they have. For example, my tattoos lead directly to me getting work as a model and as an extra in films. I was in Hackers and Judge Dredd if you look really closely. Catwalk and photographic modelling was great fun and I even worked with Jean Paul Gaultier at one point. All of this was a direct result of having this tattoo. It has opened up a whole new world of experiences.