“My employer wants me to hide my tattoos and piercings”

I’m starting a job soon, and I’m having major regrets for even agreeing to take it. I’m admittedly an artistic person, and it shows. I have a few (dainty) tattoos and multiple ear piercings. Nothing too extreme, right? I’m going into a career with fashion so beauty and style are incredibly important to me. But the job I’m taking (at Cracker Barrel) feels very oppressive to me. The dress code is strict, which is sort-of okay. I don’t really mind wearing a uniform too much. But what really irks me is the fact that I can’t show any piercings or tattoos, wear any more than one piece of jewelry at a time, my makeup is be as minimal as possible, and my hair color has to be natural looking. Makeup, jewelry, and body art are a part of me and being forced to hide them for the sake of making minimum wage feels wrong to me.

I need a job to pay for college, and this is the first place I’d gotten an interview for in months. It just feels oppressing to me that I must hide my real self and stifle my passion for style and creativity. I’ve been told by my future supervisor twice now that I’m wearing too much makeup (for the record, I had on concealer and mascara both times) when I’ve met with her for follow-up interviews and information. I don’t want to disappoint my parents by not following through, and I have to pay crazy-high amounts for tuition but I also don’t want to not be myself. I know I can get jobs elsewhere, I’ve worked in retail for years, but then I have to wait even longer for interviews and such. I’m feeling really conflicted and I just need a non-biased opinion. I start orientation today, and I just don’t want to waste their time.

2 thoughts on ““My employer wants me to hide my tattoos and piercings”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Honestly I feel more for your employers who are PAYING YOU than you. They have to follow a strict dress code from corporate and you are acting like it’s new. Got some news your not going to like. Almost all jobs have this dress code. I said almost.

    So here’s your choice: do you do what you are asked at a well paying job with good benefits or go try to sell your art on the side of the highway since you know almost nothing about the real world? Guess what there are fees for selling that art in a gallery or art show or even tray day so side of the high way might be your best bet if the city doesn’t have a ordinance for that. Also, you will have to pay the city you are selling in tax for selling it there.

    You can try ebaying it instead or etsy. Both will charge you for their services.

    Oh and BTW I was a art student and my parents paid for nothing. I paid for housing, tuition (scholarships and loan), car, car insurance, my insurance, etc from age 18, so I think you sound very spoiled. Not complaining about my parents. They worked hard to raise seven kids and I worked hard to show them I could succeed on my own in the real world.

    I do wish you the best of luck. There are a few fast food restaurant jobs/bars that might let you have fancy hair, tats and piercings, but to hate on cracker barrel isn’t fair. They project a certain image and if you have every eaten, shopped or worked there at all then you would know that before applying.

  2. Courtney says:

    as a fellow pierced, tattooed and employed person, I cover mine up for my position at work. how minimal of a job do I have you ask? ….. I am a housekeeper. I literally clean up after people all day in a room by myself. my tattoos are to be covered and my piercings are taken out daily when I punch that time clock. do I think that having visible tattoos and piercings hanging out everywhere is gonna effect how I do my job? of course not. however, when working with the public, you do it simply out of respect. you never know what someone finds offensive or disrespectful and rude… your employer is paying you to do a job and follow the rules. they are expecting you to follow the rules too. it’s not oppressive unless you make it oppressive. I am not a different person on and off their clock because of their rules. I wear a uniform that I hate everyday, but they literally pay me to. your smile and personality won’t change because of a long sleeve shirt or one less pair of earrings. do what you gotta do to pay the bills. this is the beginning of your journey, not your end destination. I think it’s a reasonable small step to take to work towards bigger and better things.

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