Witsies planning to apply for jobs may want to rethink their visible piercings.
Wits students’ reasons for piercing or not piercing range from self expression and aesthetic appeal to enhancing sexual pleasure or just rebelling against the norm. But once they step out of the grassy landscapes of university life and into the concrete jungle of the working world many students feel it won’t be accepted as professional.
First year medicine student Seitebatso Segodi pierced her navel at 16 and intends getting a matching nipple ring with her friend soon. She felt piercings were better option than tattoos which focused on a stage in your life and were less easy to remove.
“I don’t think anyone wants a doctor with an eyebrow ring giving them a shot,” she said and liked the fact that her piercing was concealed which meant she could keep it after university.
Sachin Chittigadu is a 1st year chemical engineering student with a tongue ring and Playboy bunny earring. He got his tongue ring in December last year as “more of a gift for his girlfriend”.
“She finds kissing more stimulating, but I know I will have to remove them once I start working.”Chittigadu said.
Professional body piercer and 3rd year fine arts student, Paul Samuels, has had a lot of clients come back to him to remove piercings because they were going for an interview or because the company they worked for didn’t approve of them.
Samuels said there were negative stereotypes linked to people with body piercings and certain industries were more liberal than others.
“If you have an eyebrow ring in a corporate environment it comes across as unprofessional. Being different doesn’t sell.”
He said retainers were an option to keep the piercing concealed while still keeping it open but employers were not always accepting of it.
Many companies have a dress code or company policy that prohibits visible piercings besides earrings which is usually drawn up to preserve the company’s public image.
According to a vault.com survey, 85% of people felt that piercings made them less employable while others felt job performance should speak for itself.
Body modification grew in popularity in the United States in the 1990s, making access to piercings of the navel, nose, eyebrows, lips, tongue, nipples and genitals more easily available.