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Want To Land A Better Job? Then Lose the Tattoos

Note to the 18-to-34 demographic: Getting older is a pain in the ass. It gets harder to lose weight, gray hairs start sprouting, and the super-cute tattoo you got in your twenties suddenly looks more short-sighted than tribal. Then one day, you decide it's time to have your tattoo removed. Welcome to the growth industry of the 21st Century!

If you've ever quietly played a game of "I Spy A Tattoo" to keep yourself entertained at the pool or at the park, then you know that it can be a challenge these days to find young-ish people who aren't inked in some way, whether it's on the neck, calf, lower back, arm or ankle. It's estimated that 40% of American adults in the 18-to-40 demographic have some sort of tattoo or non-earlobe piercing, compared to only 3% in 1990.

If the tattooed person was sober or otherwise thinking ahead during the tattoo procedure, then the tattoo is either small or it can be covered up easily with work clothes, because the typical, mainstream employer doesn't exactly love large, visible tattoos.

In fact, tattoo removal services are on the rise in this job market with young-ish job seekers who are having trouble inking a job deal. Chances are, your local laser technician is keeping busy removing faded hearts, stars, the names of ex-ex-ex boyfriends/girlfriends, and in general, many a bad, spur-of-the-moment decision. As Wisconsin's TMJ4 (TMJ? Really?) reports:

Laser technician Renee Walters sees many cases like Adrian's at the Laser Centers of Wisconsin, where she has removed thousands of tattoos.

"I feel bad actually. I inflict pain on every client every day," Walters exclaims.

From eagles, to roses, to the dreaded significant other tattoo, she's seen it all. From ankles, to necks, to behind the ear, Renee has seen tattoos in visible places that many employers look down on.

"The majority of them I do get is someone changing careers, or maybe someone trying to better themselves in a career," Renee explains.

Holly Dumproff recently began the tattoo removal process. The mom of two admits her dolphin belly tattoo seemed a lot more cool when she was in her twenties. "It didn't stay as nice as it started. It was time to go."

Yes, a lot of things seemed a lot more cool in our twenties, didn't they? A lot more things.

I guess the larger question here is whether employers should be able to turn away the tattooed among us. Job seekers with visible tattoos call it hiring discrimination; employers call it good business sense. Hey buddy, no one forced you to ink yourself and it shows poor judgment on your part -- not exactly a hiring trait we're looking for. Plus, it looks trashy and this is my business that I've built from the ground up and I don't want you scaring away my customers. You seem nice and thanks for stopping by, though! I'm paraphrasing many an employer-inked message board posting here. Good luck getting employers to say it non-anonymously, however.

One thing is for sure, though: many men don't like tattoos of any kind on women, at least according to a new survey that finds tattoos are the number-one deal-breaker for many an average male seeking a serious relationship. I'm not sure how this thinking affects the hiring picture -- e.g., are visibly tattooed women less likely to land a mainstream job? -- but it's interesting to ponder.

Of course, today's teens, both boys and girls, are busy tattooing themselves here, there and everywhere when they're not piercing this, that or the other. So laser tattoo removal services could be the growth industry of the 21st Century. Everyone's doing it, before they're removing it. Enjoy that lower back dolphin tattoo before it turns into a saggy whale, ladies.


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