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At the core of our millennial lives lies the needs to express ourselves. We talk about everything around us. We have opinions of all affairs; from the Huawei ban in the United States to Cardi B’s dress at the Met (Just in case you are curious, it looks like an overturned wine-red rose). We tweet, we comment, we share, we snap, we write blogs, we make videos, we critique, we make memes. We tattoo parts of our identities on the canvas of our skins. At what cost? What are the ramifications of our explicit expressions on things that we hold dear?

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If I could have it my way, I would have etched on my forearm a navigator’s compass on the sail of the Black Pearl, rocking on the waves of the Indian Ocean: an artistic image of my existential belief, a yearning for adventure and travel and my childhood island memories. That’s just my arm…

Do tattoos have implications in the workplace?

A study by Harvard Business Review reveals that tattoos do not affect the chances of securing employment. Moreover, there is a growing appreciation of fashion trends at the workplace, tattoos included. Phew! That does not necessarily give me a free pass. The implications of having explicit ink on my body would subject me to different weighing scales depending on the nature of the firm, the role, as well as the subjective bias of the interviewing panelists.

In a Kenyan context, an inked arm would reduce my chances of securing customer-facing roles. An employer would be skeptical of giving me a sales job. Furthermore, a panelist comprising of “old-boys” might interpret my appreciation of art for rebellion. To make matters worse, some employers have a strict policy against Tattoos. Case point, one of the biggest “mwananchi” banks in Kenya.

Think before you ink

So what shall we do now?

Think before you express it. In the case of tattoos, think before you ink. Before you get a tattoo, consider the image implication of the location as well as the type of tattoo you want to get. There’s a chance that you will not have the privilege of explaining the context behind that skull head on your arm, or the words, “You Only Live Once” on your arm. Think of the perception you are trying to create. Think of the opportunities that you might miss out (or obtain). If at all this adds up, then please ink away.

Professionally Speaking, would you get a tattoo?

Ciao!!