What do employers think of tattoos- The internet lied to you!

What Do Employers Think of Tattoos? The Internet Lied to You!

I was going to write a great article about my thoughts and opinions on tattoos in the workplace.

You know. Me. If they made a movie about my life it would be called The Girl With the Food Tattoo.

Here’s the gist of what I was planning on writing:

In my humble, unbiased opinion, and in my extensive experience of the working world (kidding) you can have tattoos and a job too.

But then something happened.

I researched.

And I realized… the internet has no idea what impact tattoos have in the workplace.

3 Resources the Entire Internet Is Using to Determine Whether or Not Tattoos are Harmful for Your Career

Formally dressed tattooed man

Career Builders Study on Reasons Hiring Managers Don’t Promote

It all started with two articles from Forbes, an internet authority on businessy stuff. At first in 2011 they were like nah, not worth it, you won’t get a job (or a promotion). Then, two years later they began to rethink things.

The funny thing is, they each backed their opposing arguments with the exact same research study by CareerBuilders from 2011.

What the Study Explores

This study by Career Builders surveyed over 2,500 hiring managers, asking them why they might be less likely to extend a promotion to someone.

The top three answers selected were:

  • Piercings (37%)
  • Bad breath (34%)
  • Visible tattoos (31%)

Understanding the Value of This Study

Now in general I’m not a huge fan of non-academic studies, nor am I a fan of surveying in general. However, when done correctly they can give us some broad insight into social trends. This survey by career builder  gives us some insight into whether or not hiring managers see tattoos as a reason not to promote.

However I have two main issues with this study, or more specifically with the use of this study as a resource:

  • It gives no indication of the overall hireability or ability to maintain employment of “tattooed people”. What are the chances a tattooed candidates will be seen as less qualified or discriminated against?
  • The study was conducted in 2011 and is being cited as if it were fresh, revolutionary data (the Petoskey News cited it in an article from just a few months ago)

A Pew Research Report on Millennial Social Trends from 2010

In my examination of a couple dozen articles on the topic, the second most common resource I have seen cited is an old Pew Research report from 2010, again, cited just last August by Petoskey News as well as in publications as big as SF Gate. If you take a look at Chapter 7 (page 64 of the report) there are some awesome statistics and visual representations of data.

What the Study Explores

So you don’t have to click through and try to find the spot I’m talking about here are a few stats that this study covers:

  • 38% of Millennials have tattoos compared to 32% of Gen X-ers
  • Half of these Millennials have 2-5 tattoos, and 18% have six or more
  • Millennials who have not attended college are more likely to have a tattoo than those who have attended some college

Wow! Great numbers.

Understanding the Value of This Study

This Pew report gives some great insights into the social values of Millennials, however like the former study it is basically ancient.

I’m kidding.

But not really. Consider the Millennial generation.

The Pew report defines this generation as people born in 1981-present.

That means that while this study was being conducted (assuming the same number of babies were born every year), 62% of the generation was not yet old enough to legally get a tattoo without parental consent, whereas only 38% was old enough.

It also means that today, assuming the definition of “Millennial” is the same, the population group is now 20% larger, 51% of the generation are not old to get a tattoo while 49% are.

It would be great to have a similar study conducted again capturing new information, and more narrowly defining what our understanding of “Millennial” is today.

Skinfo Tattoos in the Workplace Infographic

Another commonly cited statistical resource cited by an article (republished on Yahoo News) from Business Insider, Cheat Sheet, and others is…

…drumroll please…

An infographic created by a skincare boutique.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a phenomenal piece of content, and they deserve every share and every link they have received for it. However I find it interesting that it is being used as the foundation for several articles.

Understanding the Value of This Study

While this infographic is great for what it is, I have three main issues with it and the way people are using it:

  • It is not a study. In the journalistic accounts shared it is being presented almost as though it is first-hand research, not third-hand research (it cites articles which got data from actual studies)
  • There are dozens of statistics and a handful of resources, but there’s no way to tell what data comes from what resource
  • None of the resources listed are actual research studies – in fact, this infographic cites one of the Forbes articles as well as the SF Gate article mentioned before, which cite the Career Builder and Pew report respectively, leading users down a rabbit hole of mediocre and outdated information.

Are Those Really the Only Resources People Are Using?

Not exactly. I would be lying if I said that these 3 resources are the absolute only things that people are using, but they do seem to be the most frequently cited resources out of the 20 or so articles I looked at.

Other resources used include:

  • Quotes from managers at specific companies
  • Summaries of different company policies
  • Opinions and personal experiences of the authors

The Problem with Relying on these Studies

By Pew’s ancient estimate, 38% of my generation has tattoos. In a more recent survey from 2014 and 2015, Pew found that the Millennial workforce is now 53.5 million large – and growing.

By these numbers, tattoos in the workplace potentially affect over 203 million people in the United States, and there is no valid, reliable, easy to understand, and readily available information on the internet discussing it.

In Part 2 of this series I will dig up, analyze, and explore current research on tattoos in the workplace.

Edit: Part 2 is live!



3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Corporate Marketing Career

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Corporate Marketing Career

Do you know how I got my first marketing job as a link builder? I applied to a Craigslist ad. They called me. I told them I had a blog. They hired me despite that I had never heard of SEO or link building. That was the extent of my qualifications.

I have – kind of – been working in corporate marketing for two and a half years now (yes, I’m still a little tiny helpless marketing infant). I started at that link building firm in the summer of 2013, and was laid off after 5 months.

Then I started working for myself. I did subcontract work in addition to personal training for a year or so. Then, in October 2014 I was hired onto the marketing team at a large company, and have been working there ever since (in addition to continuing odd-jobs on the side).

At this point my formal education in marketing is this:

  • One third of a college marketing class
  • Inbound Certified (a free online certification)

Luckily, in marketing especially, career experience speaks as loud if not louder than formal education.

Here are 3 things that made me feel blind coming into my marketing career.

1. Marketing Project Proposal Writing

Do they teach proposal writing in college? They certainly didn’t teach it to us psychology majors, but gosh dang, if you want to get anything done in the corporate marketing world you better be prepared to write a convincing proposal.

I’ve found that shorter and simpler is usually better – keep it to a page or two unless it’s a gigantic, resource-draining project. Include main sections like background, objectives, goals, and suggestions, and cut out the rest of the garbage unless it is specifically requested.

How I learned it:

I am still not ultra confident in my proposal writing skills, but I learned what I now know by asking coworkers for samples of past proposals they’d written, asking for feedback on every draft that I created, and using my good friend Google to explore articles and templates.

2. Be Selective with Your Meetings

checked out at a meeting

When you start your first marketing career, meetings seem really exciting. You get to meet important people, voice your opinion, and it gives you a nice break away from your desk.

Then you realize that you have 15 hour-long meetings scheduled in a 40 hour workweek. It takes 5 minutes to get to the meeting and get settled. It takes 20 minutes extra to get out of the meeting (at least in a workplace where every meeting goes over). It takes 20 minutes to get back to your desk and get your brain running back in productive mode.

And then you realize that you are on your way home, and that you have not done a single minute of actual production in the entire day.

Not all meetings are useless but a lot of them are, so it’s important to know what meetings you need to go to and what ones you can skip and get real work done.

How I learned it:

I realized that I needed to pick and choose meetings after a my first 15-meeting week. Every job is different, but I find that these meeting types are usually really valuable:

  • Interdepartmental meetings with narrowly-defined topics
  • One-on-ones with my manager
  • Short scrums
  • Brain dumps with people who are smarter than me

If your schedule is overwhelmed by meetings, try prioritizing. Is it mandatory? Will it be valuable to you? Can you accomplish the same by making a 5-minute phone call or exchanging a few emails?

Then skip it.

3. Everything on the Internet is a Lie

Apparently I am the only qualified dirt bike blogger in the Boise area.

Which is funny.

Because I have never in my life touched a dirt bike.

My heart broke a little bit when I realized that everything on the internet is marketing. Blog articles are done for link building purposes, or are contracted out to completely unqualified help. Anyone can follow you around the internet to see what you’re doing, what you’re purchase habits are, and what you’re interested in.

How I Learned It

I learned that the internet is complete garbage the day I started work as a link builder. My job was to write and have published articles containing links to client websites. Some days I was a skin care expert, some days I was a real estate specialist, and on other days I was a DIY home maintenance guru.

Everyone in marketing has spammed the internet if not just a little bit. Yes, I still write articles giving advice about dirt bikes despite that I have never ridden one.

I am so going to hell.

burn in hell, rotten marketer

But to negate this I try to add value to the internet as much as I possibly can. I try to create content that people will genuinely enjoy, and in my work for evil corporations I try to answer questions that people genuinely have about products or the industry.

 

Did you jump into an industry career and feel like a very little fish in a very big pond?

What kinds of things do you wish you had been better prepared for?

Save 10K in 2016

How I Plan on Saving $10k in 2016

There’s this thing that has been floating around the internet for several years, something along the lines of “The 52 Week Money Challenge”.

The idea is that in week 1 you save one dollar, week two you save two dollars, week three you save three dollars et cetera et cetera until the end of the year when you are saving a whopping $52 per week.

Voiila!

You have a magical Disney World vacation fund all ready to go.

Flying away on vacation

Sounds like a great idea.

Except.

How many of you would be financially capable of saving $52 a week without increasing your income or adapting to a different standard of living?

Saving money as a habit is important, but you also have to learn how to have that extra money in the first place.

It all comes down to two things: making more money and spending less.

My goal in 2016 is to save $10k. Weekly that’s about $192.
Whew! Here’s how:

I’ll break my strategy down into three categories: making more, spending less, and saving skills.

Making More Money by…

Arm wrestling for money

…Working More

For the majority of last year I worked part time in my career job and part time as a subcontractor. For 2016 I plan on working close to 40 hours per week, and do additional contract work up to 15 hours a week.

If you do not have specific career skills that you feel you can charge for, here are a few ideas of odd-jobs you can do to make extra cash:

  • Work security at events (some companies do not require any experience at all)
  • Babysit, dog sit, or house sit
  • Do yard work for neighbors (seriously, I would pay a friend $15 to mow my lawn)
  • Work temporary weekend gigs like fair booths

…Charging More

I currently charge clients 5x what I was charging a year ago, and my rates are going up again. The biggest thing I have struggled to learn as a freelancer is my own value.

I have a valuable skillset that people are looking for. I have never had to seek out clients and sell my services.

If you work for yourself and you have a heavy workload and aren’t making as much as you think you deserve, inform your clients that you will be increasing your rates or pitch a higher rate to your next client.

There is risk in upping your rates – you may lose a client or you may lose a prospect if you are asking for an unreasonable amount. If you’re like me you’ve been undercharging all along, and they will gladly agree to your new rate.

Spending Less Money by…

…Exercising Moderation

Cheetos not in moderation

I am the queen of go big or go home. Moderation is barely in my vocabulary.

I love to lift heavy weights as many days a week as my body will allow. I love to work 12 hour days and 7 day weeks.

I love to drink coffee out (in fact, I’m in a coffee shop now). I love to eat out at restaurants. I love to buy trendy dog print clothing that I will never ever wear.

Here are a few things I plan on moderating to save some money:

  • Only go to coffee shops 3x per week
  • Only buy coffee at work 2x per week (I can brew coffee at the office, I don’t need to pay to buy it at the cafe)
  • Only buy lunch/snacks at work one day per week
  • Only eat in a restaurant one day per week
  • Switch from a 3 gig data plan to a 1 gig data plan and use wifi more

…Thinking More About Large Purchases

When I want to make a big purchase, I usually want to do it NOW.

If I decide I want a new computer, I make the purchase within 5 hours. If I decide I want a new phone, I make the purchase within 5 hours. If I have an idea for a new tattoo, I book the next available appointment.

My goal is to have a two-week buffer period from the time I decide until the time I purchase. That way I’m really certain that the big purchase is much needed, and I’m really certain that I’ve found the best product and price.

Saving Money by…

…Putting Money Where I Can’t See It

Saving pennies

My bank account is set so that with every debit purchase I make, a dollar is trasferred from my checking account to my savings account. Then, in a few weeks’ time I have accumulated multiple dollars of savings.

Like the 52 Week Money Challenge, it’s great in theory.
Except I do all of my banking online, and when I look at my checking account balance, I look at my savings account balance. And usually I transfer all of those saved dollars back to where I can spend it.

This year I plan on putting more money where I can’t see it – or at least where I won’t regularly see it.

This week I set up my retirement contributions to the maximum that my company matches so that every paycheck a portion of my income is tucked away to where I will only see it when I get a quarterly report.

I also downloaded an app called Acorns, which is linked to my bank account. With every debit purchase that I make, Acorns rounds up the price to the nearest dollar and tucks away the change in an investment account.

 

Will I actually save $10,000 in 2016? Who knows. But I will work hard to save as much money as possible.

What’s your biggest roadblock when it comes to saving money and how do you plan to overcome it this year?

Busy Planner

How to Make Time for Anything (and Drop the “Too Busy” Excuse)

I am a chronically busy person.

I have a wonderful full time job that pays my bills and provides basically all of the  benefits I could ever want. I couldn’t even imagine just working full time. When people tell me they “don’t have time” to go to school, or that they “don’t have time” to exercise or eat healthy, I have to laugh.

This is what 2015 looked like for me:

  • Work full time (around 35 hours per week)
  • Subcontract work for 2 different companies (up to 10 hours per week)
  • School full time (13-17 credits per term)
  • Train to compete in 2 sports
  • Travel out of state 3 times

Here is what I am planning for 2016:

  • Work full time (35-40 hours per week)
  • Subcontract work for 2 companies (up to 15 hours per week)
  • Start grad school in fall
  • Train for powerlifting nationals

Now I am not completely naive or insensitive to the fact that some people actually are incredibly busy, that some people don’t have the same energy level that I have, and that throwing parenting and marriage responsibilities in the mix makes things increasingly complex.

Some people are busy. Some people don’t have the energy. Some people have obligations and responsibilities that make free time scarce. I get it. That is totally okay. Skip to the next article.

However if you are overwhelmed with your current responsibilities or feel like you’re using “too busy” as a weak excuse, here are a few tips to help you squeeze in a little bit more.

Get to Bed on Time – and Wake Up on Time

Alarm Clock

 

When someone tells me that they are really busy and outlines a day where they wake up at 11am and then do lots of things I have to laugh. I know some people genuinely operate better later in the day and have their best productive hours far after I’ve gone to bed, but chances are if you’re waking up at 11am, you are not actually “too busy”.

It may seem contradictory, but a great way to add time to your day is by making sure that you sleep enough. My ideal sleep duration is 9 and a half hours. Your ideal sleep duration may only be 7 or 8 hours – even better!

When you know how many hours you need to sleep, it’s easy to get into a regular sleep schedule so that you are sleeping enough to function optimally throughout the day, making it easier to accomplish everything you need to accomplish.

Go to bed on time. Set an alarm on time. Maximize the hours in between.

Write Things Down

Writing things down is a great way to unclutter your brain and make the world seem much less overwhelming. Especially when you have different activities pulling you in different directions (work, school, family), writing things down can help you organize your thoughts, keep you on task, and allow you to spend your mental energy where it belongs.

Monthly calendar

Here are a few ways I write things down to keep my life more organized:

  • Virtual sticky notes on my work computer for tasks
  • Trello boards for subcontract work, content calendars, and random ideas
  • A weekly calendar book for school work or anything with a deadline
  • My phone calendar for appointments

Have “Productive Time” Set Aside on Weekends

I always set time aside specifically to be productive on weekends. For me this means that I get up, have breakfast, and then spend an hour or two working on subcontract work before I start my day. Then Sunday afternoons are reserved for chores like sweeping, mopping, and laundry.

I still have plenty of time on weekends to go to the gym, watch Netflix, and go out with my friends, but I also know that my work and home are never compromised.

Scheduling in productive time on the weekends helps alleviate some of the craziness of weeknights.

 

Do you feel like you’re stretching yourself thin?

What do you do to manage your time?

Vegas 2015

2016 Goals and Resolutions

Eyy, it’s January 1, what a perfect time to start yet another blog.The purpose of this blog will be to share a little bit more about what I do professionally and personally, and to share some of the information and resources I pick up along the way.

There has been a lot of talk around the web about how badly 2015 sucked, but frankly 2015 was my best year. Ever.

I had two main (and substantial) accomplishments in 2015:

  • I pulled myself above the poverty income level for the first time in 5 years (poverty sucks, just BTW)
  • I graduated from college with a bachelor of science in psychology (I never graduated from high school, so cool!)

And now that I have a reasonable income, safe place to live, and relative mental stability, I’m ready to smash 2016.

I’m not huge on “resolutions”, but I am big on goal setting, so…

Here are a few things I am hoping to accomplish in 2016:

  • Double the income I made in 2015
  • Save money
  • Start graduate school
  • Compete at the 2016 USAPL nationals

What are your goals for 2016? Did you make a New Years resolution?