Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Ah, interview time: time to fluff out your hair, iron your underwear and carry your Tide stain stick concealed. But is it also the time to take out your piercings or cover your body art?

Because body art is usually voluntary, there are limited protections for possessors of body art.
I don't know if anyone can definitively say that a voluntary body modification would be the straw that broke the library job offer. But there are a few ways you can deal with this issue:
  • Check to see if there is a dress code policy for the organization that you are applying to. Piercings, as well as other art and modifications, may be listed in this policy.
  • Search in your local newspaper for stories about body modification and the workplace, looking for local decisions or statements (some of these stories may not be local, but may still be useful).
  • Check the websites for state or provincial guidelines in regards to dress codes and see if there are statements about body art or modifications (this could be important if you are relocating for work from a more tolerant to less body art tolerant clime).
  • Prepare a copy of this research showing with omissions or insertions, just in case, whether you are interviewing for a position or have decided to come in and impress your colleagues with your pain tolerance on Monday morning.
IMHO: constantly talking about people's piercings and other assorted body art and referring to them with a winky-nudge-nudge about how discreet/discrete (in both senses) they are and how the possessors of such strange magic cannot be talked about as if they were, well, people, makes me nuts. Quit looking at shallow, surface differences and actually look at the person's abilities. I guess because the piercing is voluntary some people in charge of hiring--and library patrons, too--just don't want to be bothered with looking past the surface. However, this is one group that should be capable of looking past the cover, or at least be willing to read the blurb on the back.

Yes, I too have my moments: I really want to ask those guys with metal doughnuts in their lobes if walking into the wind makes them hear bells. But I hope that I wouldn't turn anyone down for a public service position--nor relegate them to a back room--if they had any piercings or body art. Though I might change my mind about a really ill-advised facial Nazi swastika. And if someone can tell me about the chiming, I really want to know.

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