When Lt. Mike Brinkman first joined the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District in 2004, he was the only person in the workplace to have forearms almost completely covered in tattoos. Related Links
“I got them all when I was in the Marines,” Brinkman said, showing the flames circling his right arm and the “Mama’s Boy” design on his left – two tattoos of 11 total. “I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking when I got them. That was 16 years ago.”
Upon joining the district, superiors scanned the tattoos to make sure there was nothing inappropriate, but Brinkman said he has yet to encounter work-related restrictions past that.
Now, there are a handful of firefighters with arms similar to Brinkman’s – decorated with permanent body ink.
“I think the whole stigma of having tattoos has gone away,” he pondered. “It’s definitely more commonplace to have them nowadays.”
While Brinkman’s ink hasn’t raised issues at the fire station, Jeffery Poynter, director of the McHenry County Workforce Investment Board, said he believes tattoo tolerance in the workplace will vary based factors including “what population that business is serving and if they have to be sensitive to customers.”
“If you’re working in a factory, it’s going to be different than if you’re working in public,” he said.
Generally, Poynter said he has noticed more tattoos among prospective employees and throughout the general public within the past 10 years.
About 32 percent of adults in their 30s and mid-40s have at least one tattoo, based on a February 2010 Pew Research Center study .That same study shows nearly 40 percent of millennials have tattoos, and about 50 percent of those with ink have between two and five designs.In general, public perception of tattoos is split, according to a separate Pew Research report .Of the public at large, 45 percent said they are not concerned with a growing number of tattooed people, whereas 40 percent said it’s a change for the worse.In Crystal Lake School District 47, […]