Personal freedom of expression, that's what some say the stuff of tattoos and body piercings are made of. You can state your politics, love, memorials; anything you choose on your skin to read or be gawked at. Some just enjoy the looks they get at bawdy, explicit pictures inked all over their bodies, or the stares they receive from the tremendous ring in their ears, weighing the lobe down to their shoulders, or the shocked look that passers by give that gaudy chunk of metal protruding from the nose.
In ancient cultures, body modification was a right of passage from youth to adulthood. It symbolized a life story about bravery, strength and affiliations. That was in ancient cultures, indeed it was your identification. It stayed a personal thing within the tribe, within the culture.
Today, tattoos and body piercings are called an art form. Your personal preferences of art change as you grow older though; especially when they are on your body. How you paint your body may be your expression of individuality but as time passes and you acquire more knowledge in addition to more life experiences, those expressions may come to be an uncomfortable message, compounded by a feeling of humiliation coupled with a feeling of embarrassment.
If you're wearing a septum piercing (bull ring in the nose) or have a bar or pin running through your appendage, you may want to re-think where you apply for a job. If you have crude or explicit body art visible on your body, no matter how hot you think you are, you may want to re-think where you will be working ten years later, or even what will your goals be in the future.
No matter what your skills are, tattoos and piercings are intimidating to the general public. They are perceived to be the sub-culture of the bad boys/girls. Nasty bikers, drunken sailors, punks that disregard society, add to that many gangland incantations and racial innuendos, plus prison cultures. In a sub-culture they maybe statements but in society they are just ugly and degrading.
Unless you have your own business, or cater to a sub-culture, your personal body modification should stay undercover especially if you happen to want that executive position, or just a good job. The public exchanges money for services or goods, if your image is offensive to them, there is no business; that equates to no employment.
Employers will think twice about hiring a person with many body modifications mainly because of the gang stigma that is associated with it. It just screams out "I belong to a sub-culture and I'm not accepted and I don't care!" It's not really discrimination on the part of the employer, it is common sense. Many employers will tell you to just cover it up. Don't expect too many promotions though. You are representing the company that employs you; they want a good honest image!
Of course there are nice tattoos, some very detailed. While the person is on the job, a short sleeve shirt covers it up. A collard shirt will hide a well thought out tattoo.
Before tattooing yourself, think about the future, tattoos are expensive to get rid of. Once you become a parent, what do you if you have a naughty tattoo and your youngster starts to notice? That can be a costly cover up also. Think before you ink!