Thursday, May 6, 2010

In hiding.

If only my dilemma was as pretty as those ladies. Hmm. Let me explain. Yesterday, I had a little melt down. Maybe I should rewind the clock a little bit. Yes, lets see. Im not the kind of girl who does things in halves, I never have been. I graduate from University in exactly 2 weeks, I am working 2 jobs, plus running 2 other businesses, both of which are extremely busy and demanding in themselves, and trying to maintain some kind of social life so that my friends dont forget that I am alive. My main job, and I call it that because it is my main source of income is at a wonderful organisation doing all the administration and design work for a nationwide company. Its brilliant, the people I work with are lovely, I am appreciated and accepted, and I get paid well, Its a dream. However, I have just started working a parttime job on weekends and nights. This is where things have started to get a little, well, stressful. It is at a childrens clothing store, which is great. Those of you who know me know that I love kiddies, and spend a lot of time with my younger cousins and my friends children to whom I am known as 'Aunty Tillie.' I love the atmosphere and it is easy work.

The problem comes with the restrictions on my clothing and my appearance. I have tattoos, and a small ring through my left nostril. During the interview process I was told that I would have to have my tattoos covered. Now, I guess while I dont understand this, I can accept it. I would have thought, that living in 2010, people would have moved on with the stereotypes of tattoos, and the affiliations that they have, but I guess not. My tattoos have no significant religious or cultural meaning, so therefore according to workplace standards of this particular store they must be covered. {I guess this annoys me to, a girl I work with has this big tribal Maori design that goes right up her neck - but because its Maori, she is allowed to have it on show...} So, I wear either leggings, or long pants to this job, on the days that I am rostered on. Lately, I have been pushing the boundaries and wearing stockings which are slightly see through, no one has said anything yet, but I am waiting for something to come up. Now, this would be okay, ordinarily. However yesterday I was asked to take out my nose ring because it was 'offensive.'

My first reaction was to agree with my manager and brush it off, I am not a confrontational person. However on reflection, I started to question a lot of things. Its a small, inconspicious nose ring which sits close to the skin. I have had it since 2004, infact, I remember waking up, slightly hung over after the foo fighters concert in Wellington and deciding to get it peirced, going home, and my mum commenting on how much she liked it. Now I have been asked to take it out. I already feel like I have to comprimise who I am, by covering my tattoos, and now, I have to take further steps to uniform myself. The thing is, there is nothing in my contract, so Im a little disappointed about the whole thing. I guess Im just struggling with the whole, having to change to suit other people. I love my body modifications so very much, they are as much a part of me as my Hazel eyes or the freckles on my nose. I just wish people could understand that.

I suppose I just solider on, I spoke with my mum about it, and have decided that for this particular job, I will wear a small nose stud. If anything is said about that, I am thinking that I am going to resign because Im really not willing to comprimise myself any further. Maybe its silly? Maybe I am over reacting? I dunno. Im sorry for the negativity of this post, I just really needed to get everything out. Have any of you ever felt a little out of your wits when it comes to changing for other people? Im sure Im not the only one who has been in this position. But, I guess sometimes it feels like that.


  1. oh darling girl, what a predicament! :( isn't that crazy how being "original" gets so construed? JUST TODAY my girlfriend lauren texted me to say that the fringe boots and embroidered dress she was wearing to work was not "appropriate" by her older woman boss. It wasn't like the dress was short or revealing-- she simply was "too trendy?" of course that wasn't the word used... the word was "offensive." She felt so terrible and upset all day at work not wanting to leave her desk cos she had no idea she would get such a reaction from the powers to be.

    I understand you Tillie and so i'm sad that you had this kind of reaction. I agree with you and what your Mum says-- you shouldn't have to compromise yourself more than you already have.

    HUGS and loadsa love your way!!! xo

  2. I do not think you are overreacting at all, and I think your plan is a good one. Try to compromise, but don't lose yourself for a job, at least not when you have another reliable source of income.

  3. Don't ever change. I don't understand how retail is so against tattoos and pieces. It's not like they are coming to the store to buy you (which would be creepy). Your smile and attitude should be enough.

  4. That is silly, I could understand for a corporate position to an extent but a part time job at that store? Sounds like it might be your manager with the problem. Is it in your contract?

  5. I know the corporate world will never fully understand. When I got a job at the library, I did have to tone my hair, and hide my tattoos. I hated it but I knew this was a smell step to a better career for myself. I didn't see it as settling or compromising for what I loved. However if I did huff and puff out of the library meeting that told me to cover my arms and tone down my hair, then I think I would have compromised the 6 years of schooling to get there.
    I hope you feel better. xo

  6. That's tough. I think it really comes down to how you feel - if you're going to be unhappy every time you have to take out your piercing, then it's not worth it.

  7. I've lost jobs for being heavily tattooed outside of work...
    I've been abused by old ladies, i've been told i'm not allowed into a taxi when other friends have, I havn't been let into clubs because of them. But at the end of the day I don't want to be associated with people/places that promote such ideas. I'm not sure if it's the same over there as in Australia but it is illegal to discriminate because of tattoos. Yet most jobs here will have in their contracts that tattoos must be covered. I had the site manager of a finance company ask if I was planning on more tattoos and i said if you cant see them it shouldnt matter, to which she replied it shouldn't but i would like to know.
    Spotlight is one of very few jobs i've had where my bosses said it's my choice and what i have on my skin has nothing to do with them. That's the way it should be.
    Start looking for a new job. Then when you leave tell the exactly why.

  8. tillie i am so sorry!
    i can't believe that after all this time, tattoos are still frowned upon by some people. i don't have any yet but i always dream of what i would get if i had extra money.. and i love hearing about and seeing other peoples tattoos. but for you to have to cover yourself up is just ridiculous. you are too fabulous for that! and vent on.. because this is definitely frustrating. i hope it gets better... or you find a superior and tattoo loving work place!!!

  9. Oh thats so annoying. I can totally understand where you're coming from. I remember having to take out my nose ring when I was having a facial and then lost it somehow and then it closed up. So annoying!
    I would say wear the stud and if theres any complaints just quit! I always found kids were totally fascinated as opposed to offended by my nose ring. The kids in the shop won't have a problem! x

  10. GAH!!! What is it with the work place and tattoos?!!!! It's not like you have a big "fuck you" tattooed on your forehead. People need to seriously sort out their preconceived ideas about tattooed people and accept that it is an alternative form of art. If one can appreciate art in any other type of media, I don't see what the difference is!! A bit of art on the skin or a ring in your nose isn't going to change the way you do the fucking job! I believe it is discrimination, judging a person's work ethic on their physical appearance. Imagine if a person was turned down for a job because they were too ugly?? Or had too many blemishes?? (And I am not talking of the modelling industry people!) I'm sure that would send tidal waves through the media.

    And I know there are those of you that moan, "They aren't natural, if you were meant to have tattoos, you would have been born with them!" Now this really grinds my gears..if we all went round without disturbing our natural appearance from birth, we would all be fucking smelly, hairy ass neanderthalic beings (yes, this rant required me to make up my own word!) with stinky breath. If that's the argument, why aren't people getting shit for having a haircut or shaving their legs??? That shit isn't natural...??

    Fuck it Nat, I am opening my own Kid's clothing store and you will be the manager! You are a super hot tattooed lady and I don't think you should cover them up for anyone!! Ditto for the nose ring(!!)

    [I obviously have a strong stance on this subject, huh??]

    Gah, I hate people..Not you though, you are lovely :) xoxox

  11. Awww . . . I think that's nonsense! How on earth is it "offensive?" I think I'd be totally fed up with them by now . . . sorry you've having to deal with this! I live in San Francisco where that kind of thing would just never happen . . . I teach at a public school, and we have teachers with mohawks and sleeve tattoos and all kinds of piercings and everything else! Hope it gets better!

  12. Im so lucky because my 'main' job has no dress code. Which, working for the government is weird! But I wear what I like and no-one says anything.

    My second job (in a bar) is great too as they never said anything about my tattoos or piercings when I went to interview, and dont care as long as we are smart and in our uniforms. I cover up in the pub cos it just makes life easier, when you haven't got weirdos grabbing your arms to look at your tattoos.

    It sucks, I've had jobs where I've had to totally hide myself and I hated it. Hope they stop being idiots soon x

  13. That would be incredibly annoying! Because kids should be shielded forever from people with tattoos and nose rings as these are symbols of someone who (a) doesn't conform (b) is a rebel (c) is a criminal or whatever combinations of the above plus more? That's ridiculous. Kids are the most accepting of differences. The older they get, the more prejudiced they become. Surely they should be exposed to as many differences as possible when they're little?

  14. I was really lucky when I worked at the airport that my manager loved tattoos (which is good as two of which are on my chest!), but the job i'm applying for now is very strict so I have to cover them. I totally understand that some people might not like them, but in all fairness, like you said, it's 2010 - people have been getting body modifications for a while now and you would think they are more widely accepted. Try no to worry about it, you are lovely and don't change for anyone!