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Other Tattoos in academia

  1. Jun 28, 2016 #1
    Hello, Sorry if this is the wrong place to post it but thought it related to careers

    I am currently a undergrad with the aspirations of becoming a lecturer in physics at a university. (I know this is unlikely to happen but I have to give it my best shot) I was wondering if any people on here who are phd students, post docs, lecturers etc know how academia as a whole looks upon people with tattoos? As I already have some coverage on my legs and over the next 15-20 years intended to get both arms, both legs, back and possibly chest done, with 1 leg and 1 arm being completed by the end of the phd (if I get one of course). Note that I wont be getting any tattoos on my hand, neck, face or head so when needed I can cover all my tattoos.
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  3. Jun 28, 2016 #2


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    At least in California, nobody cares. One of my co-workers (a physics postdoc) has full sleeves. Another (an assistant professor) has purple streaks in his hair and yet another (a male) has earrings. I would say tattoos are somewhat rare but not unheard of.

    Not getting a neck or face tattoo is a good idea.
  4. Jun 28, 2016 #3


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    I suspect that would be the least of your worries. Universities tend to be rather liberal places, although, there are some smaller or private institutions that may frown on it.

    I supposed to an extent the nature of the artwork can play a role too. Prison/gang/hate-related tattoos aren't likely to be accepted, but that probably goes without saying.
  5. Jun 28, 2016 #4
    Thank you for the replies! :D
  6. Jun 29, 2016 #5
    Think twice if your Plan B is working in industry. Depending on where you want to work / who the potential customers are, tattoos like that might hurt your chances. Fair or not, that's the real world.
  7. Jun 29, 2016 #6


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    Tattoos in countries like Japan are associated with gangsters and some hotels don't like people with tattoos staying there. I suppose you might have issues if you wanted to attend a conference with visible tattoos. Should be ok if they can be covered.

  8. Jun 29, 2016 #7
    Everybody will envy you. While others were sitting at books, you conducted your youth good :)
    why? answer this question to yourself, not here, and be completely honest
  9. Jun 29, 2016 #8


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    As everyone here has mentioned, you probably won't get too much of an issue working in Academia, but gmax brought up an extremely important point that even you acknowledged will likely happen. There is a strongly likelihood that you won't get into Academia, and if you do decide to pursue working in industry and the private sector, this might be an issue.

    It is difficult enough to get a job based on one's qualification under the current competition. You do not want to be handicapped further by your appearance.

  10. Jun 29, 2016 #9
    In any case, OP, you should get used to people treating you differently than other people. For example, people might reject you at job interviews. Or a professor might reject working with you. They'll never mention it's because of the tattoo's, but it might cause you to miss some opportunities, even in a fairly liberal place like academia. It's not fair towards you, but that's the way the world works.
  11. Jun 29, 2016 #10


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    When it comes to industry jobs, I suspect times are changing and by the time you graduate, tattoos won't be as much of an issue. I'm a director (one level under VP) and I have two full sleeves that are always visible (I roll up my sleeves). My CEO has met me many times and commented on how he liked the art. I also happen to work for one of the top 15 largest companies in the world, so it isn't exactly a hip or young cultured place.

    Does prejudice against people with tattoos exist? Probably, but it's no where near as close to when I first started working and now it's becoming rather common place. While it's possible you may lose out on a few jobs due to this, I wouldn't really expect it to be the norm.

    *disclaimer, this is just from my personal experience.
  12. Jun 29, 2016 #11
    I guess this also depends a lot on the location and the country you're trying to find work in.
  13. Jun 30, 2016 #12
    My experience is similar to MarneMath's. I have a half-sleeve on one arm that is sometimes visible and the other arm has several tattoos where the one across my entire forearm is always visible. The only times people have mentioned them is when someone finds the artwork interesting. I have taught labs and lectured courses and haven't experienced any problems with my supervisors or students.

    Overall I'd say no one really cares if you have tattoos, but there will be a few that do.
  14. Jul 5, 2016 #13
    I clicked the link into this topic after misreading the title. I thought it was about TABOOS in academia.
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