arm being tattooed
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
May 4, 2024 ·  5 min read

People Give Tattooed Woman a Reality Check as She Has Trouble Finding a Job

Tattoos are a form of art where the body is the canvas. Some people choose fun or quirky pieces, others may opt for something more creative or meaningful, while some are culturally significant; either way, they are a personal choice and seemingly permanent. One woman credits her ink with why she’s struggling to find employment. Then she turned to TikTok to vent her struggles and pose a pressing question.

Ash O’Brien has nearly 100,000 followers on TikTok, a platform she uses to showcase her love for “All things spooky,” Juicy Couture, and Hello Kitty. She’s covered in tattoos and recently used her platform to vent her frustrations as a young person in pursuit of a job. She applied for a job at T.J. Maxx and received an “automated email” rejecting her from the position. She went to the store’s location for feedback, believing she’d been denied because of her tattoos. “So, I went in today, and I was like, ‘What was the reason I didn’t get hired?’ And she was like, ‘Oh, you just don’t have enough experience. There [were] candidates with more experience than you,’” she said in the video.

Clip of TikTok video with woman in a car wearing sunglasses.
Photo Credit: Ashxobrien | TikTok

Seeking Clarity

She wasn’t convinced, so she pressed the hiring manager further. “I asked her if it was because of my tattoos. Obviously, a lot of places don’t like tattoos,” Ash explains. “She said that [it] wasn’t the reason. I don’t feel like that’s true, but whatever. I’ll leave it at that.” Some viewers commented that they are covered in tattoos and haven’t had any problem finding employment, adding weight to the idea that it was a matter of experience, or lack thereof, rather than a matter of the tattoos that cover her face and body.

Read More: Just Beautiful: 5 Fathers Who Got Tattoos of Their Children’s Drawings to Remember Them Forever

Thought-Provoking Negation

While tattoos in the workplace have always been controversial, Ash points out a bigger issue. “I’m just wondering how teenagers and young adults who haven’t had a job before are supposed to get employed,” Ash said. “How are they supposed to get a job if these places are only hiring people based on experience? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.” She added: “I hate that my tattoos have been such a defining factor for me getting a job or not. Just because I have tattoos doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be a good worker.”

While the theory that she’s unemployed because of her tattoos inspired the video, her challenges have caused her to question things more rigorously. “All these places say that they’re hiring, but I feel like they’re not. Because I shop at all of these stores and see ‘Hiring now’ signs, but those have been up for months.” She explained. “For anyone looking for a job right now who is younger and doesn’t have experience, I truly wish you the best of luck because it’s very hard out here.”

Face Tattoos Spark Debate

Unsurprisingly, numerous people shared their opinions, backing her theory that her tattoos play a role. “Maybe it was the demonic spider or the goat with the pentagram,” commented one user. Meanwhile, another disclosed: “H.R. supervisor here. There is no way any company would put you in front of customers like T.J. Maxx.” A former T.J. Maxx employee also weighed in. “I worked at T.J. Maxx, and they will hire just about anyone that comes off the street–It’s definitely the tattoos and piercings.” They said.

There’s a reason that tattoo artists refer to face tattoos as career enders,” another pointed out. Lastly, an artist commented, sharing the sentiments of other viewers. “Tattooer here. It’s probably the tattoos.” They said.

Amusingly, one viewer even questioned her regarding her husband and whether or not he has tattoos.

Woman with tattoos standing next to man with tattoos wearing military uniform.
Photo Credit: @ashxobrien | TikTok

Tattoo Policies May Vary

In contrast, another user points out that they’re covered in tattoos and have never had a problem with employment, adding even more weight to the idea that tattoos, particularly on the face and neck, severely impact one’s ability for employment. However, more than whether or not tattoos are against company policy, the environment should be considered. For example, places with a casual or relaxed environment may allow for some face or neck tattoos, especially if the prospective employee isn’t face-to-face with customers. Some examples include answering emails or phones, stocking or organizing the back shelves, and loading or unloading goods or materials.

@ashxobrien I want to know who is also having a hard time finding a job right now! #jobs #jobmarket ♬ original sound – Ash🖤

Moreover, employment may be easier to find, within smaller companies or businesses because independent business owners can hire employees at their discretion, meaning their policies may be more relaxed than those of larger businesses. “If you have tattoos and are looking for a job, you’ll want to consider in advance the culture of the companies you’re applying to. Being strategic about where you apply can minimize the possibility that your body art will conflict with the organization’s policies,” explains a popular job board.

Similar Lessons

Ash isn’t alone in facing challenges regarding her tattoos. A father from Australia recently went viral for his body modifications and the removal of his face tattoos with painful laser treatments. His wholesome reason for the removal of his face tattoos is his daughter. He worries that it will impact his daughter and her reputation when he takes her to school.

Although people are divided regarding tattoos, one thing seems certain. It’s best to avoid tattoos on the face, neck, or hands, in a professional setting. Or a setting in which one hopes to be taken seriously or respected. Additionally, it’s important to note that forearm tattoos may be unadvisable if you live in a hotter climate as long sleeves can make you sweaty and uncomfortable.

H/t: Bored Panda

Read More: Unemployed Dad With Face Tattoos Rejects 45 Job Offers After Desperate Work Plea Goes Viral