Nowadays, everybody, even your nan, has a tattoo and visible ink doesn’t tend to pose a hindrance when climbing the career ladder.
Walk into the trendiest of marketing offices or the hippest of clothing stores and you’ll find workers inked with every design from sailor-style swallows to inspirational quotes.
Nowadays, tattoos are appreciated as the art form they are and I respect the various personal meanings a tattoo can have for a person.
It’s quite surprising then to learn a job seeker has been rejected from 30 potential posts, all because of his very personal neck tattoo.
21-year-old Joe Parsons, from Collyhurst, Manchester, believes he’s been unfairly discriminated against on account of his large, colourful, £250, neck tattoo.
Although he’s got through to 30 interviews, once prospective employers get an eyeful of his decorated neck, tats that.
Joe’s applied to numerous companies, including Topshop, Next and even TK Maxx – where he’s previously been employed.
However, despite having four years worth of experience in retail, hospitality and call centres, he’s not experiencing much luck.
Despite wearing a high-necked shirt to interviews, the written wings are still visible and just don’t fly with interviewers.
According to Joe, his fate is decided before the interview can even begin:
As soon as I sit down they look me in the eyes and then I see their gaze drop down to my neck where they stay for a few seconds.
Then they look up again and go on with the interview. I can telling they’re pre-judging me even before the interview has started.
Joe explained how employers make unfair assumptions about him based upon his appearance:
Before I got the tattoo people thought I was a happy, confident person. Now it feels like people think I’m full of myself and I don’t give a damn.
That’s just not who I am. I’m just a normal person and all I want is a decent job.
There’s definitely a stigma attached which there shouldn’t be. I do think it’s a form of discrimination.
It’s not down to the skills I have and in every interview, they haven’t given me a good reason. Now I feel like I’ve got ‘don’t hire me’ written all over my neck.
I wish the tattoo stigma for jobs would disappear because I wanna be covered
— J (@alexandrajv232) September 22, 2017
Cannot wait until this generation is in charge and we can eliminate the tattoo stigma
— Lace (@thelaycie) September 6, 2017
Joe had the beating red heart with turquoise angel wings drawn onto his skin in tribute to his late grandfather back in November 2016, while he was working at the Stockport based McVities factory.
However, when his mum was attacked in the street, Joe’s situation changed, when he was forced to quit his job to look after her.
As a result of the attack, Joe’s mum developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and required full time support.
According to Joe, she’s ‘not been the same since then’:
I had to look after her pretty much full time which was why I left my job after Christmas. I needed to be at home for her.
— Bryn Lucas (@BrynLucas) October 7, 2017
Me at job interview: Oh, no, this is a TEMPORARY face tattoo
— zombieite (@zombieite) August 4, 2017
With Christmas fast approaching, Joe’s situation has become difficult as he tries to provide financially for both himself and his mother.
He’s been attending more interviews over the course of the last three months, as his savings are running out.
Joe doesn’t regret getting the body art, which is very meaningful to him, he just wishes interviewers could see past his decorated skin long enough to consider his relevant skills and experience.
I had a job interview today and just cause of my tattoo I didn't get the job. Idk how to feel about this
— E (@eve2fabb) September 25, 2017
Surely there’s a boss out there who can appreciate Joe’s unique look and determined personality?
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.