After having some time to mull it over, as much as I hated to do it, I ultimately decided to turn down the job offer at the other company.
A multitude of reasons led me to my final decision. Their expensive and piss-poor insurance coverage was a big factor. The ultimate dealbreaker though was what I had feared from the outset: no visible tattoos or piercings (other than earrings for women only). Yes, I specifically asked if they were tattoo and piercing friendly and they outright told me no. It was at that point I immediately withdrew my candidacy for the position.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I refuse to go out of my way to cover my tattoos if they are not covered by default with the normal work uniform. I think it is highly disrespectful to tattooed or pierced folk to not allow them these forms of self-expression. It’s body policing/shaming at its worst. I am proud of my tattoos and I will display them within the bounds of a work uniform. If you’re going to make me wear a special uniform just to hide them, you can take the job and shove it up your ass. I’ve also been considering doing piercings as well (one thing leads to another right?) and will have the same policy regarding that.
It just pisses me off that things like tattoos and piercings come before job performance. If I’m good at what I do and I do so in an efficient and timely matter does body art really matter? I tend not to think so, but then again I guess logical thinking isn’t very common is it?
So yeah, I’m feeling kind of gutted right now but at least I have a clean conscience that I stood up for my civil liberties. I can’t help but wonder if this will eventually become a political battle. If it does, I will gladly throw my name in as a co-plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against these discriminatory and unfair codes.
As far as my next move, perhaps it’s time I consider another career change. If I have to work (which we all do) I want to be in a career where my tattoos or any piercings I get will not be a hindrance. That might mean going back into academia. I know most liberal public universities wouldn’t care. Hell, I doubt large urban public K-12 school districts would care. They tend to be more liberal also. My degrees are in math but that isn’t my first love – music is. If I were to go back into teaching I’d ideally want to be like an elementary music teacher or a middle/high school choir director. It would mean going back to school, which is fine by me. If I can’t fly, well, might as well immerse myself in music right? It at least makes me temporarily forget the pain of everyday life.