Evaluate My Work, Not My Body Art
As a business professional with 34 tattoos (no piercings), I find a lot of the tolerance/intolerance issue seems to be largely location based. For example, finding work that paid well and didn’t judge was easy enough in cities like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Daytona, but I was heavily liked down upon in places like West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie. It depends a lot on the employer too. Some companies (Chase Merchant Services, for example) were managed by an open-minded team who did judge based solely on with ethic and performance, whereas other companies in the same area will not even give you a second glance. There still meds to be a lot less discrimination based on looks, so long as the body art is not outwardly evil or discriminatory itself.
When I was an undergrad, one of my reasons for wanting to continue in academia was my aversion to Western formal clothing. If I became a Ph.D. student and then a professor, I thought, I would hardly ever need to wear suits or dress shirts, and such a life appealed to me. I had seen academics of all stripes dress in all sorts of ways, and I naively believed that this signalled something very progressive about academia’s stance towards appearance: wear what you want, because you’ll be evaluated based upon your ideas and work, not how you choose to present yourself.
But a recent article in a column called Ask Alice (published on the website of Science, one of the most high profile scientific journals out there) confirms my naivete. In this piece, an anonymous academic who finds themselves in a “conservative place” for their postdoc, asks Dr. Alice Huang, “Am I crazy…
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