stereotypes at work, man in a suit

How to Overcome Stereotypes at Work

The many miss conceptions about tattooed people have added up over decades of false perception portrayed by various forms of media. Tattoos are a part of many cultures around the world, but not all, hence the cultural and religious differences added up to tattoo negativity. Indeed, when an individual is exposed to something contradicting or offbeat to his awareness the idea does not always settle in easily. The reaction of society to such issues can be very strong and influential, thus affecting the standard of job ethics, acceptability, decency, state of life and standard of living. Here is another example. So if you are a person in power at your work place, or if you own your business, you need to keep in mind these facts and try to eliminate stereotypes at the office.

Here is a list of tattoo stereotypes that overlap with general stereotypes at work and a few valuable ways of overcoming such situations as a person in power.

1. Unconventional lifestyle

Tattoos can never be a way to distinguish people from a particular walk of life. The tattoos are as normal or special as we, ourselves are. The perception that people at the work place may be associated with criminal offences or even gangs has been built up over the years. This perception came about because of how different cultures are portrayed by the media. A tattoo alone cannot portray an unconventional lifestyle. This is in part due the unequal opportunity to work for racial minorities.  Here are other effects of stereotyping.

How to resolve it: Create a training program for the staff

In order to avoid miscommunication between employees concerning their different ethnic background a diversity course must be set in place. During the course, the employees must be taught about differences in race, gender and even sexual orientation. This will help overcome any barriers and allow the employees to mend into one successful team. Here are other solutions for small business success.

3. Unplanned Decision makers

Having a tattoo doesn’t make anyone a crazy decision maker. There sure are a few people who took quick decisions and had no reason for it, but the rest of the majority have it on their mind for months or even years, to be sure of their choice and design. We certainly understand it stays forever, and then make a move. Therefore, the idea of them being reckless and spontaneous comes to mind. Two quality traits no employer or colleagues desires.

How to resolve it: Ask directly

Meaning that if you are worried about how this person came to the decision to create something so permanent on their body, simply ask about the motive. Furthermore, ask about their personality and skills. If they claim to be rational thinkers and capable of thinking things through, chances are their tattoos are actually a representation of that. So do not assume that because they have such physical features they are not ambitious or motivated enough.

3. Attention Seekers

It’s very human to look for attention, concern and respect. This human tendency  is equally true of people with ink and no ink. Therefore there is no need to label a person with a tattoo as attention seeking. People don’t get a permanent tattoo to satisfy a temporary attention crave; every person has their reason and conviction they wish to mark themselves with.

How to resolve it: Discussion

Allow your employees to echo their concerns, but with a firm hand remind them the consequences of judging without truly knowing someone. Remind them the formerly mentioned theory about attention seeking and explain to them that their approach is unethical. Here is a list of toxic colleagues and how to deal with them.

4. Criminals/ Convicts

The misconception regarding this is acceptable to a certain extent because prison tattoos are actually a thing. But don’t let that make everyone with a tattoo a convict; a tough appearance and tattoos needn’t be negative. There are many perfect examples, contradicting this wrong notion. A cop with ink would be just right! Furthermore, the idea of hiring someone with a criminal offence is stereotype that also needs to be broken (considering the circumstances and the degree of crime,  of course). Therefore, even if someone with a criminal record and a tattoo applies for a position, this stereotype must not be taken into account.

How to resolve it: create a work force of multiple generations and ethnicities

In this way you will avoid have a majority of people who are stuck with the same out-dated mind set. If include both young and old people in your team, not only will you prevent a domination of a certain opinion, but you will help your business in general. By having people of different ages working together, they will each contribute something individual to the picture and allow for a better workflow. In this way the common stereotypes will die down and the employees will be able to bond better.

So, if you are a person of power in the office, keep these work stereotypes in mind and constantly work towards bettering the situation. In order for your company and your team to progress your team needs to be multicultural and well bonded.


Photo credit: Jonathan Mueller via flickr












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