There have been a few things which are new to me now that I've joined the corporate world for the first time in my working life.
Apart from jobs in retail and catering, my "grown-up" working life has basically been the Third Sector and it's all I've ever known. This was followed shortly by my horrid job, which although private sector, was the crappy end of the private sector where wages are low and staff turnover is high.
This job is Corporate with a big C and it means a whole new world. Rather than working on a housing estate in Hull with people who are well-meaning but not necessarily well turned out and everyone was one big family, I'm now in a world where high heels clack along slate-tiled corridors, and, the best thing ever, a canteen with nice food and more importantly cheap food.
Living in Corporate World has meant that image is now forefront of my mind all the time. There is a dress-code and there is probably more to say on that another time but it has meant that I have had to change a couple of things about myself.
Noticeably my much loved tongue-piercing was removed on New Year's Eve as it its a no-no. And pop socks have been purchased to cover up Herbert who has the unfortunate luck of being my only visible tattoo.
I have got into some "debates" regarding the removal of my piercing and the covering of my tattoos for a job. On the whole I do think it's silly, neither of those things affect my ability to work - there merely (possibly) affect people's perceptions of me and I do think that's wrong.
That's the way it is in Corporate World. Tattoos are unfortunately still seen as unprofessional and that's just that.
Am I going to give up a job for a bit of titanium I had shoved through my tongue in Affleck's Palace when I was 18 at uni? Erm.....no.
Yes my tattoos and are of me, but they are not all that I am. When I took my piercing out, was I still "me", did my personality change? No of course it didn't, I was exactly the same person funnily enough.
Maybe this comes with the confidence of age or maybe it is just the way I personally am. But my tattoos do not define me. I didn't get them for other people to see and think how cool I was and that is why it's not really any big deal to me to have them covered up. I've had them done for me, and at the end of the day when I go home, if I want to, I can look down at my feet then and say hello to Herbert (or indeed to any of my others - although the one on my back is a little hard to talk to at times).
And actually, as much as the Corporate World may judge me for having my tattoos, my bet is it's no more likely to happen than when so-called hipsters and cool dudes say to me "Wait....you have tattoos?", because I don't necessarily appear at first glance to be hip or trendy.
How very sad that those people recalibrate how they think of me once they find out I have a bit of ink on me. And I actually don't know what would offend me more - have someone think I was unprofessional because I have a tattoo or someone who decided they liked me because I do.
I don't want to be thought of us as unprofessional as much as I don't want to be put in a 'cool' box.
I'm just happy being me. And I am me. Whether you dress me up in a fancy dress or put me in a bin bag, whether you cover up my tattoos or let everyone see them - what you can't hide is me.