I have been pondering about having ink on my body for the last one year and the time has come for me to put this pondering to rest, though there is this topic of visible tattoos not being professional, yet I want mine to be visible – on my back neck – and my professionalism intact .

When I asked people that I know have them they said it depends on context and location of the tattoo, like face, neck or hands.

Recently we had a disagreement with my friends about a well known NTV Uganda news anchor who has a tattoo on her right arm. Many were saying it was so unprofessional for her to be on live TV in short sleeves showing off her tattoo…. even one went further and said natural hair or deadlocked anchors were not allowed to show off their hair during news broadcasts. I wondered how hair and tattoos affect a young lady’s news reading abilities…

These same criticism have been around like when I decide to go natural, most people were so against it, it was like a taboo to keep your natural hair with no chemicals. One even went to the extend of saying ‘Kahill your hair is like a tree why don’t you just treat it and straighten it out” Human beings and their views on how other humans should live. SMH!!

I am no news anchor, I’m in the client relations business but if my clients are going to judge me according to my natural hair and my four rings plus the upcoming tattoos, we are going to have a big problem. Those three things have no connection with anyone of my abilities.

This same thing has happened before when Jeans were restricted for Fridays and the weekends because they were looked at as being casual dress codes and were not “professional” enough as if they were or are the ones that make the money for a company.

Having a tattoo visible or not doesn’t mean I am not great at my job, or can’t be trusted with massive responsibilities or even money without a second thought, it means I am the same talented and able person with words or a picture on my body and I love it.

dr tattoo

It’s sickening to me that in this time and age so many people feel so comfortable taking one look at others and making a judgement on their abilities to do anything mainly a job. I believe dress codes and appearances should be considered irrelevant when it comes work abilities and skills.

I don’t believe that ink on a person’s body has a reflection on how well they can do their job or their professionalism. I think that tattoos chosen shallowly and without any deeper meaning to the wearer are not only unprofessional but tasteless and with that I can understand but if a tattoo has its meaning then it can tell a lot about the person. But as all forms of expressions,  tattoos are not without consequence.

My mentor said this;

I don’t mind tattoos. I like individuality and people can do whatever they want. However, if you agree to work for the company, you have to follow their guidelines. Businesses have their image they want to set. If it was a company like Facebook, Google or a start up of young people, tattoos won’t be a problem, but companies like in the financial, healthcare, and consulting sector, you need to be clean cut. In most companies, it is unprofessional, but be happy to be you and find an organization that accepts you


In conclusion, I am saying accept yourself and your desires, do what pleases you but remember there are consequences to everything. Me, I’m a rebel, I do what makes me happy and am good at that but as we are different, it is probably fair to say that there are certain companies and types of positions where image is important and a deal breaker so be mindful.


Patricia Kahill

Patricia Kahill is a multipotentialite Christian entrepreneur, Content Marketing Coach and founder of the Content Marketing agency, Kahill Insights that helps business owners create engaging and interactive content items for digital platforms with a focus on returning a desired outcome. Patricia was the producer of SlamDunk Basketball Talk a show on House of Talent online TV, a former fellow at Harvest Institute for leadership and now an assessor there, and an alumnus of the YELP class of 2017. A member of the BNI Integrity chapter and African Women Entrepreneur Cooperative. She is driven by passion and curiosity, been taking every opportunity that has been given to her with an ambition of stamping her footprint on the world.

3 thoughts on “Are Visible #Tattoos Unprofessional?”

  1. I can relate, Patricia. I know what I want to do with my hair but I’m still worried that potential employers will judge me based on how “unkempt” my hair will look. Ink – I have a tattoo in the most visible of places. My right hand, the one I offer for handshakes. No length of a jacket or shirt can hide it. And I certainly wasn’t thinking of employers when I got inked. My hair plan is still in waiting though

    1. Namesake I have been there, the thing is we, who have chosen to be rebels have to work more harder to prove that we can.
      Do what makes you happy and in the process prove yourself that you have the abilities and skills to the job you are applying for. Be confident with your decisions and you will be fine…

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