“I have a nose piercing. Do you think that’s okay at work?”— Tanvi in Atlanta, GA
Hi Tanvi! First, I’m guessing you’re either new in your job, or you’re getting ready to search for a new job.
If you’ve already snagged a job and cruised through the interviewing process without any comments about your piercing, then you’re probably in the clear — your qualifications are obviously more than skin deep! But just to be sure, check your employer’s dress code and policy manual.
You’re not alone in facing this decision. Today’s workplace is becoming more and more tolerant of individuals’ personal and cultural expression through body art and piercings. With three out of every ten 18-24-year-olds having a piercing somewhere other than their ear, it’s becoming much more mainstream. But remember, your manager and supervisor may be among those in an age group who are less comfortable with visible piercings and tattoos at work.
Workplace attitudes, requirements and policies vary. In some instances, such as in health care or customer service careers, your employer may require you to remove your body jewelry. Be sensitive and responsive to these requests. Additionally, clear-colored retainers or spacers are available to maintain your piercing while hiding it largely from sight.
If you are just now setting out on your job search, remember that you have a very short time to make a good first impression in a job interview. Will your piercing distract the interviewer from focusing on your qualifications and strengths? While your interview is going on, they may be mentally asking themselves, “Will she fit in here?”
By the way, if your new job will involve travel, or if you have to go through security to access your job each day, you may want to tone down your ‘bling’ anyway, just to make it easier on yourself. The TSA website says that jewelry, including body piercings, can set off an alarm during metal detector or advanced imaging technology screening, and may result in additional screening.