Where's the line?
The last couple of years have been very volatile in my life from everything to selling a business, moving across country, having a child, getting divorced, and you name it. Regardless this year has been calm mostly. Professionally I established a new practice, merged with a large CPA practice, and opened a second office. Personally, the divorce has settled, I've started a new chapter, and I have a strong relationship with my little girl, and I'm beginning to figure out what I want this phase of life to be like, and review things that caused the last chapter to end how it did.
To find my new identity I've been reflecting on phases in my life, and things I enjoyed, but no longer do, or have never done so that I might enjoy them again. For those who don't know me, prior to finance I served 8 years enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman. During this time, I discovered that my personality was known by the military as OFP, or Own Fucking Program, a common subculture among Special Warfare members. It is the result of being encouraged to be an individual, and spending entire 4 years enlistments with the same small team of 6-10 men. It's best illustrated in small acts of public defiance, such as attending military briefings with senior officers and political members all wearing Dress uniforms, or Professional attire, but in a crowd of 1000+ men following the rules, our 6-man team elected to wear running shorts and flipflops without any fear of consequence.
This Phase began when I was 18 and ended around 23/24 years old, when I left active duty military, and started working in finance. Military service requires certain commitments, and produces certain personality traits at the time. All that means is that while all my peers experimented with drugs in college, I skipped that experience until only recently when I stopped drinking and began using a recreational cannabis oil pen, and that when I was living as a real life GI JOE action figure with Force Recon, and SEAL SDV's I had some fairly serious intentions of getting tattoo sleeves with one are being a traditional Sailor Jerry style 3/4 length piece having 4 small randomly placed images of:
A Goat- the mascot of Navy Chief Petty Officers, the highest rank I achieved during my service.
A Rooster, and Pig- a symbol of good fortune at war among America sailors during the Revolutionary War.
A Riverine Special Combatant Crewman's Craft styled and colored with homage to traditional Sailor Jerry Ships- it's the boat we used more often and was the stage to some of the most exciting, and dangerous moments of my life.
The SARC Diver (Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman)
The other arm and shoulder would be a sleeve mixing Alec Monopoly art with a classic image of Scrooge McDuck resting upon a mountain of gold coins.
My personal image was that similar to Henry Rollins. I was 5'10 200lbs, able to bench 375lbs, deadlift over 500lbs, run 3 miles in less than 17min, swim 500m in the mid 5min range, expert marksmen that was specifically trained in Combat Medicine. I had a haircut that was a blend of the Marine Corps High and Tight, and Chuck Liddell's Mohawk, but it was clearly a mohawk, photos do exist if proof is required lol. Other than 5.11 Tactical gear and my uniform, I generally dressed only in jeans, automotive and music related t-shirts, and converses.
I never pulled the trigger on getting the sleeves done, but during that time I did get some work done. On my chest I have a medium sized piece of the Mountains of Valhalla, the mythological resting place of Warriors in death, with initials of several of brothers I lost in combat. My upper back has slash marks like those generally used to keep tally for stockbrokers making sales phone calls. The tally is how many times I engaged enemies during my service. My right thigh has the crest of my Rugby Football Club I play for, and my left knee has an anchor covering it, as the failure of that knee ended my career, but injuries to that knee have constantly anchored my physical ability.
Present day my shape generally the same, but physically I transitioned into a Dad Bod, with a gut from too much drinking, and not enough exercise. I still maintain a short haircut, but it's more Executive cut than mohawk for sure. My personal style is still mostly jeans and t-shirts. My attire for work is typically a lightweight 2-piece suit with an open collar, but often I drop the jacket outside of meetings, and will roll up my sleeves. The point of sharing all of that background is a question about American Culture, and Professional Image.
As Millennials are assuming control of business as Boomers continue to retire, I find that it is becoming more common to see Professional's with tattoos, or piercings in many industries. Finance has always been the conservative guide lined business for attire, but as the owner of my business I've been considering committing to the Naval Sleeve first on ¾ of my arm. While this would often be covered, it is reasonable to assume clients would notice it. Personally, I wouldn't care as a client, or prospect, what do you think the public would think? Is society continuing to judge books by the cover, but reads from a tablet, or have we started to leave historical norms in our culture?
Do any of you all have tattoos, or have you seen them in the industry? Does our business require everyone involved to present the typical suit and tie, 9-5, luxury sedan, Yuppie persona? I have always been one to standout, or go against the flow, but in a world of Zoom meetings, signatures, and clouds is it too much to go sockless with our loafers, not wear a tie, and have a little art show?