Professional Career & Tattoos Existing Together?

Have you ever asked a parent or friend if you should get a tattoo or a piercing and they respond with concerns that might arise in the workplace from introducing such “extreme” looks? Personally, my mentor has made it clear where he stands on the tattoo spectrum but insists that it is because of how unprofessional it looks in the workplace. Growing up, I always wondered why expression through art could be unprofessional and frowned upon. Eventually, it occurred to me that there was a bit of a balance that had to be found to satisfy potential employers and myself in the process. But over time, workplace norms have been shifting especially with the curveball that COVID threw at us, and are moving towards more inclusive and open-minded regulations.

This week, Disney’s park division chairman Josh D’Amaro commented that the company would be updating the attractions at the park while modernizing the values they hold. This can be visually seen through the future easing of dress code restrictions on workers to allow “greater flexibility” and possibly create a more positive and inviting environment for people to be in. Some of these changes could be expressed through hairstyles, nail artwork, jewelry, company-mandated costume options, or even appropriate tattoos. This is a major step for employees all around as a large company such as Disney taking such actions adds considerable pressure on other companies, at least in the same industry, to follow suit.

The changes are not only to maintain relevance in a melting pot of a society but also to allow cast and crew members to express their individuality and backgrounds which make them unique. Disney has generally been strict about employee dress code as the brand image is something to be maintained and as a result, things like facial hair and visible tattoos were not highly encouraged and were often discouraged. Inclusion is a new pillar of Disney’s tenets that was recently explicitly introduced as it helps to appreciate people and ideas from all backgrounds to create a sense of solidarity and to help eliminate some of the negativity that plagues people on a daily basis, whether it is conscious or unconscious.

Disney is committed to this journey of adjusting with modern times and new ideas that are introduced every day. JPMorgan recently announced that they were planning to invest billions to help promote racial equality and create a more equitable workplace. These changes in any company could alter their brand image but in a potentially positive manner. Taking action to improve is only the first step. Remaining consistent and continuing to create change is necessary as a stagnant group of company values can be detrimental to future performance overall.

-Azaan Moledina

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