Tattoo removal for IB/client facing job?

Currently have a roman numeral tattoo on my sidearm that’s not too big (about the length of my pinky finger) but still very visible. I was wondering whether this would be a liability to me in the long run and whether I should get it removed. Had a prior experience at another internship where someone asked me to keep my blazer on before going into a client meeting which prompts me to think that maybe it’s best for me to just get it removed entirely while I still have the time

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I’d like to sit here and tell you it’s 2023 and it doesn’t matter if you’ve got tattoos blah blah blah

The cold truth is that some people will make judgements about it and have an immediate connotation. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, that’s just the truth. Enough to materially affect your career? Unlikely, but impossible to say.

If I were you, I would get it removed just so I’m never having to consider it.

A recent lateral analyst rolled up his sleeves and revealed some significant ink, there was certainly chatter about it afterward, and while is wasn’t explicitly negative…it certainly wasn’t positive.


My tattoo isn’t particularly a sleeve or any design really, very much just a basic white girl tattoo, but I wear short sleeves a lot (I wear shorter sleeved dresses/blouses with a blazer during warmer seasons). 

To be honest, I don’t know whether I really want to have my tattoo removed; like I don’t want to have it removed unless it’s an absolute necessity. It’s a dumb tattoo without much sentimental reasons I got in high school using a fake Id because my teen self thought it looked edgy and cool (I know very cliche) but at the same time I think I’m oddly nostalgic of that and don’t think I’m entirely ready to really let go of that part of me just yet.


Yes but I hardly wear long sleeves unless it’s the winter. During warmer seasons (so spring and warm fall included), I wear shorter sleeved blouse + blazer or short sleeved dress + blazer. So yeah everyone in my office when I was interning knew I had a tattoo.  


Is the Roman Numeral a parent’s birth year?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Parents birthday but both parents are still alive and also both dislike my tattoo. My tattoo isn’t sentimental at all like I got my moms birthday spontaneously because it was the only birthday I could think of off the top of my head. 


It's the site chat bot. Up until recently it just gave links to related threads, but now the new ChatGPT Monkey Bot gives human-like answers to any new post that doesn't immediately get replies. Since yours is a uniquely human problem, I was curious what it might say. At any rate it doesn't seem possible to summon it, so I guess we'll never know.


Why don’t you just leave it there and see what happens. IMO it shows you at least have some gut compared to the basic Bs out there. The industry is all about being confident, which means a lot of the insecure prospect monkeys on this site might never be able to get a job in finance.

But it’s your call


There are a lot of folks at my firm who have tats higher up on their arms that are visible on the dress down thursdays if they wear polos etc and no one seems to care. We have a pretty conservative culture overall but the tats have never posed an issue. Feels to me that tats being problematic are largely in the past when referring to the reasonable ones on someone's arm etc. Have seen also some on the inner wrist and no one has said a word about that (those are on women for what it's worth). Think as long as it's within reason and not like on your face or a sleeve you should be okay. Situational awareness is key here - know when to cover it up depending on what clients you're meeting etc. Most folks trust people to have that cognizance. 


While we might assume that in 2023, it might not be an issue; consider that some senior-level leadership (think older), and conservative clients (especially older), are not likely to think highly of it.

They might not say anything publicly; but they often talk privately, behind the scenes.

I know of someone (at least one person, for sure) in senior leadership, who unofficially would not hire someone if he was aware of a tattoo -- it was one of the unofficial criteria, to automatically disqualify someone. He's older, and very traditional about professional image in finance culture. (While perhaps not the norm, it's important to consider that such a mindset does exist).

I also know that a few shops will (unofficially) avoid having someone with tattoos in any client-facing role; because of the potential that a client might not approve, or that a client might have a different perception of the firm as a result.

Depending on male/female, and the nature of the tattoo, I know of a few (2 or 3) in leadership roles that might be a bit more understanding, if related to prior military service. (Some of them were themselves prior military, and they accept a military tattoo as potentially related to 'esprit de corps' within the military).

In some cases, the nature of a woman's tattoo, and whether exposed, might determine their opinion of it.

My suggestions:
• Cover it up -- even if you don't think it's an issue, eliminate the risk.
• Long sleeves, etc.
• If it's very small, consider one of those bandage-type sprays, or those skin-like bandages, which effectively cover it. (A bandage can be for almost any reason, so it's not entirely obvious of being a tattoo).
• I haven't seen the tattoo, but also try to consider any possible misunderstanding of meaning, that might be assumed by others, and try to lean on the side of caution.

I hope that helps.

Investor (30+ years); IB/RE/PE/Corp. Exp (MD level); currently, head of boutique private equity firm; principal of family office.

If you’re even considering it, I would. The story about keeping the blazer on sort of says it all. Regardless of the whole “it’s 2023 we don’t judge tattoos, and if someone does they aren’t with the times” is a fun narrative but completely unrealistic. People will never say it to your face but they judge it immediately and will comment on it behind closed doors with like minded company. Every role I’ve worked in has been client facing, and I don’t think I would have landed most (if not all) if my employer knew I had an easily visible tattoo. I’ve heard seniors comment word for word: “All a tattoo says is that I am capable of making a bad decision.” You’re not asking about the dating market, and maybe would never consider someone with this mentality, but it also rules out partners who see tattoos as trashy or low class. Your anecdote about how it was an impulsive trendy decision with little thought is actually what a lot of people assume immediately. Interesting that it is the reality, and also interesting your own parents don’t even like it though it’s related to them. A small number of women in my office have wrist tattoos and are in the process of having them removed, had them removed, or consciously stack bangles/watch to hide it. I agree with other posters in that if you don’t want to remove it, wear long sleeves even in the warmer months. Don’t even make it a factor. It’s a conversation piece at the end of the day, and doesn’t sound like a conversation that is beneficial to your career based on the type of roles you’re pursuing.


I think the answer is a pretty clear “yes get it removed” from a job perspective, but I do want to address your comments about overall first impression and dating market because they’re valid points. 

I don’t think (at least I hope) that the tattoo automatically rules me out as being trashy or low class in my first impression. If anything (at least in my personal life), I always thought it’s a nice juxtaposition because I seem very otherwise high maintenance uptight and slightly elitist first impression wise (conservative albeit high status/wealthy family background, econ major at an Ivy, prep school for hs, fussy about restaurants/travel, and all that cliche bs) because it’s the one embodiment of my childlike youthful carefree spirit and makes me seem personable compared to how I can normally come across as a spoiled stuck up bitch.

To your point about tattoos being a red flag for dating, I don’t think it’s impacted my dating life as much though I have some doubts. I’ve gone out with very powerful family kids (they were rich like billionaire parents but more than that like their families were publicly visible and influential that they cared a lot about image/status) which for me I like to think is a sign that oh even those kids, who have both plenty of dating options to choose from and also are prone to consider image/status, didn’t see my tattoo as a deal breaker. but then again I’ve always had doubts about how seriously they took me. Like we met through mutual friends and run in same social circles, my parents know their parents, we went to similar high schools, etc so I assume even if we didn’t make it official, I wasn’t just some random fling (especially bc I’m sure all it takes is to name drop their dad for them to get hookups with wannabe models who are frankly far hotter than me), but also I know they’ve hooked up with those types which bruises my ego of like oh am I no different than like an easy hookup fling with a random insta thot from a random university/family background? Sometimes I wonder, especially because of the way I look (not tattoo but overall), am I just categorized under the pool of “easy insta thot” low class types than someone that they respect enough to take more seriously.

Also the bangles make it worse. I have the Roman numeral on one of my arms (along the my arm bone) and wear a bangle stack (love and juste en clou) on the other non tattooed, but I’m thinking about getting a watch on which I’d wear in my tattooed arm (likely SS watch which is why I can’t wear it on the arm w my YG bracelets even though should I opt for a 22mm panthere instead of something like a lady dj which at minimum is 28mm, its small enough for me to stack it all together with my bracelets) but because the watch cuts through in the middle of my tattoo, it drags more attention to it instead of less. The reason why I considered tattoo removal to begin with was partly for the watch because I don’t like how the tattoo looks w the watch. So no I probs can’t cover w jewelry

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