The painful cost in the battle for jobs

Act in haste, repent at leisure, or so the saying goes, and not just at leisure but in pain and considerable expense when it comes to having a tattoo removed.

As job competition increases, what once seemed a cool fashion accessory—the spider web tattooed on your neck, that python encircling your forearm—can be a blot on your CV when it comes to job interviews.

The Planas clinic in Barcelona has reported an 81% increase over the past few years in the demand for laser treatment to remove tattoos. “Having a tattoo removed takes longer, costs more and is much more painful than having one done,” Rafael Serena, head of the clinic’s laser unit, told La Vanguardia newspaper. “It’s not something people usually think about when they get a tattoo.”

Getting rid of a four inch square tattoo will cost about €200; a larger one will set you back €1 500 and the more colours involved, the longer and more costly the treatment.

“It’s not pleasant,” said Gabriel Buendía of the Teknon clinic, which has also experienced a rapid rise in demand.
“The sensation produced by the laser is similar to being thwacked with an elastic band.”

Reasons for removal are many. Often it is a case of getting rid of “I love Maria” when it turns out that you do not. In one case, according to Serena, a man needed his devil tattoo deleted because the local priest refused to marry him until he did. Another wanted to get rid of his tattooed Barcelona football club badge, presumably because he was moving to Madrid.

However, most cite work as their motivation. Men who wish to sit the civil service exams to join the police or fire service, for example, neither of which will employ tattooed candidates.

Women with jobs where they deal with the public want tattoos removed from visible areas such as their neck or ankle. “We also see young people who are setting out on executive careers and don’t feel comfortable wearing a suit and tie over their tattoos,” said Buendía.—

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