Thinking before inking
May 4, 2012
Filed under Opinion
The words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are inked largely and boldly on his knuckles. With his parent’s consent, Harold Tighe, a resident of Holland Mich., made the rash decision to get a tattoo at the age of sixteen. Now in his thirties, Tighe has had difficulty getting and holding a job. Unlike other tattoos located on the shoulder, back or lower leg, Tighe’s tattoo is unable to be covered by clothing. Employers have told him his tattooed knuckles could scare away customers or do not coincide with the standards set by the company. Because of these struggles, Tighe decided to share his story recently with the Holland Sentenial to bring an important issue to light that affects many Americans around the country. While tattoos are an excellent way to express individuality, placement and nature of tattoos should be considered before the needle inks the skin because they could affect a person negatively in the future.
According to an article in the New York Times, a job-training company called Strive has had to add a course in proper tattoo coverage with make-up. Strive is utilized by people in the job search process who have had rough pasts, including jail time or drug abuse. But a new group of people are walking through their doors- those with tattoos. The chief executive of Strive, Eric D. Treworgy stated that people with bachelor degrees and tattoos are living in homeless shelters because employers are continually turning them down. The poor job market is not kind to any person seeking employment, but to those with tattoos unable to be covered, the search can turn into a long, hard battle.
Keep in mind that there are many valid reasons to get a tattoo. Maybe someone wants to commemorate a loved one who died before their time. Maybe someone wants to showcase their love of a favorite piece of literature. Maybe someone wants to share their favorite saying that has helped them through hard times in life. But when deciding what to get, one needs to think it through. For most people, tattoos are permanent. The exact cost of getting a tattoo removed varies person to person depending on the size, color and skin type. But, on average, the rate of tattoo removal is $100-150 per square inch per treatment according to tattoohealth.org. Most tattoos require anywhere from three to eight treatments to completely remove the image. One month intervals between treatments are common.
Though there is a way to rid a tattoo from the body, it is often costly both in money and in time. Especially if one needs to have it removed for a job prospect, he could have difficulty acquiring the job because it could take months before the tattoo is no longer there. If it cannot be hidden by clothing, the employer could be hesitant to hire.
Deciding to get a tattoo when one is a teenager can be an emotional and exciting decision. As people age, the desire to express themselves and their individuality intensifies. For teens, tattoos are seen as a way to make a statement about themselves, their life or their beliefs. A person must be eighteen to get a tattoo. So, if a person is under eighteen, it is important that his parent(s) support the decision. While some teens find this process to be an obstacle and an annoyance more than anything, it can be beneficial. By having to convince the parent that the teen wants the tattoo, he has to evaluate his reasoning and can discover if the idea is thoroughly weighed and thought through.
If one feels that a tattoo is the perfect way to express himself and add flavor to his life for the better, he should make the mature decision to get it. But, in the few minutes or hours it takes to receive the tattoo, the next 70 years must be considered. Tattoos can affect anything from jobs, social lives and first impressions. While individuality is important and should be a part of everyone’s lives, it is important to consider what the tattoo itself is expressing.