Kivaka sends in these very gross pictures of a scarring, swollen, and oozing Madonna piercing he had to remove. Now, on one hand it’s the fault of the person pictured, because they allowed the piercing to get so irritated. But on the other hand, it’s the fault of their employer, who forced (lest they be fired) them to take the piercing in and out every single day because of a “no piercings at work” policy.

I’m loathed to tell private employers how to run their business, because I feel that they do have a right to dictate dress code down to the specifics. However, they need to realize that a “take your piercing out at work” way of thinking really isn’t limited to “work”. In the vast majority of cases, taking the piercing in and out constantly will destroy it… Thus these “work” policies also aggressively dictate how the employees dress on their off time.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

52 thoughts on “Ouch.

  1. realistically its the clients fault for trying to heal a piercing in a no piercings environment. not the emloyer’s fault for not wanting their emloyee to wear it.

  2. Pretty big scar. That’s the sort of thing that small injections of kenalog would help shrink, though with the piercing in it’s impossible to tell how big it is really.

  3. ok,i’d much rather find another job than risk having that happen to any one of my piercings.

    i understand needing/wanting a job but if you know that that particular job doesn’t want certain mods then i;d say either don’t get the mod or get another job that you know allows visible modifications.

  4. Not everyone has the financial freedom to pick and choose jobs that suit them unfortunately. I think this person may have found themselves in a lose-lose situation.

  5. I agree with Sade. I know it sucks to live with the modifications that you want but I also KNOW I wouldn’t want to live with a scar like that on my face.

  6. My manager insisted that I take my ear hardware out because they are a “heath and safety hazzard”… incase I get my head close enough to a machine to get my ear torn off. I told her that if I was that stupid, I deserve to get my ears torn off. Again she persisted that I take them out, not only for health and safety resons but because of how they look. Of course I refused :)
    So we compromised and now I have to put bandaids over them. Still very annoying, but at least I didnt have to take them out.

  7. Seriously, does the employer really think a huge oozing scar looks better than a small dot of metal? As a side note I feel her pain. Although I love the job I am going to school for, and I worked to be that my whole life, it really sucks not to be able to look how I want. If it were up to me I would have full sleeves, big ears, piercings galore and funky hair. I feel so plain this way, but I guess it’s the price you play. Sorry for the rant, we were just talking about this at work today.

  8. at my workplace they told me i had to take out my 5/8ths plugs. I told them they would look worse with no jewelry… i took out my plugs because they didnt believe me. they didnt ask me to take them out again :)

  9. My employer almost didn’t hire me because of my 3/4″ lobes. I told her that if she hired me and ONE client complained about my ears, then I’d exit her life with no hard feelings. She ended up hiring me and has heard nothing but compliments about my job performance. Probably because I’m awesome at what I do, no matter how my ears look. Now one of my coworkers calls me ‘Buttons’ (because that’s what my ears remind her of) and it’s relentlessly adorable.

  10. DUDE.

    for it to get to this point, this guy had to basically reinsert his jewelry through this oozing, swollen, pus-filled atrocity every day after work. how could that have possibly have seemed like a good idea?! shouldn’t there have been a point, oh, say a month ago, where he should have realized terrible things were happening right there above his lip!?!

  11. Don’t get me started on the no piercings at work policy – I don’t notice mine are there when I work, therefore they don’t affect my performance, and if customers or co-workers can’t handle a little metal in my face, what message does it send to someone with, say, a facial deformity? Basically employers are saying: they way you look DOES matter…that is unless we feel bad for you…and it seems like the kid in this picture has quite the facial deformity on his hands as a result of the work policy – personally, as a customer, I’d much rather look at a well-healed piercing than an oozing wound. Ick.

  12. I simply refused every employer that tried to lay that crap on me.. but thats just who I am. If they want me to do the job, because I do it well, then they will live with it..

    I was never fired.. but I ended up leaving when I had the chance anyways..

    I am excited for the new generation of children growing up with acceptance for modification..

  13. I think it all depends if you work directly with the clients or no. My friend for example is allowed to use piercings and open sandals (havaianas) because he basically works behind computers as an admin.

  14. When I was hired on, my boss told me I’d have to take out my lowbrets at work. I”ve been taking out just the ball every day, and he hasn’t said anything about it. Guess I just got lucky

  15. Just one more reason to thank management when you go to a place and the employees have visible piercings and tattoos. If I went to the place this person worked, I would have asked to see the management, told them off, and never gone back.

  16. To me that totally looks like a volcano with lava flowing out(the pus being the lava). Any one else see that? That’s terrible, bottom line.

  17. good lord, i have seen some terrible things working as a funeral director, but that really made me feel nauseaous.

  18. My job also has a “no facial piercings” policy, along with a “natural hair-color” policy and “clean-shaven face” policy. Although I am the manager, I answer to the supervisor, who created these rules.

    It sucks a lot, but if you work where I do, you’re in a hard spot already (or you’re just a kid). I had my septum done for a few days and they made me take it out because they could see it when it was flipped up. I wanted the piercing, but I need the job. It’s unfortuantely no contest. I haven’t gotten another job offer yet, so I’m still there.

  19. have had the same problems in the past with my job, had the same agreement with them as Dez, with the bandaids….but they only caused 2 eyebrow rings to migrate……

  20. I really don’t see what the problem is; you want 1″ holes in your earlobes, a big metal ring through your nose and a pencil-thick hole in your lip?

    Then get a job where you can have them or be so damned good at what you do, they forgo their petty little rules.

    I look exactly the same now, working face-to-face with clients who spend a LOT of money with my employers as I did when I was at college full-time (age 17-18. Not the same thing as US ‘college’…) and still stacked shelves every night for a pittance.

    Piercings, tattoos, a skinhead and a MASSIVE FUCKING BEARD.

    I’ve had to deal with the petty, limp-wristed scum who try to enforce such rules before. My response is always the same: “I looked like this when you hired me, I’m good at my job, the customers love me and I’m sure you don’t want this to go to an employment tribunal.”

    I know some people have little choice in their employment but there is always choice. I’ve worked 80+ hour weeks below minimum wage. I’ve spent twelve hour shifts lugging 60Kg bags of flour. I’ve done that because I have chosen to publicly modify myself and my situation at the time meant I had neither the skillset, the qualifications nor the ability to prove how good I am so that I may get a decent job.

    If you choose to publicy modify yourself then you choose the consequences of your modifications. We can all wish to live in a lovey-dovey society where people aren’t ignorant but the reality is that we don’t and we won’t for a long time, if at all.

    So in the meantime, either work your arse off trying to get that changed, accept that you probably won’t get a job facing the general public if you look like a multicoloured cenobite, or toe the line and keep your mods private.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the public as a whole doesn’t like the way you look and it is an employer’s prerogative to guage whether your qualities as an employee outweigh the initial negative reactions of your appearance.


  21. I to have had to deal with the issue of no piercings at work. I have a vertical labret as well as gauged ears. When hired it wasn’t a problem but recently my employers have gotten picky..no piercing. I refused and said if I had to take mine out then everyone with pierced ears, yes regular earrings, had to take theirs out because those are piercing also. Needless to say, I won!!

  22. Honestly, I agree with z is for xylophone. How could this person have let it get that bad? didn’t it dawn on them that maybe what they were doing was bad for the piercing, oh I don’t know, after a huge volcanoe type lump formed on their face?

  23. Fucking hell. Can we say ouch?

    Reading through the comments, I wish I would have had the balls you guys had to stand up to your employeers and win or at least land a decent compromise. I’ve almost always caved in when it comes to work and my piercings. Except when I worked at a jewellery store that said I had too many earrings and I’d have to take some out. I said okay in the interview, showed up at my first shift with them as they were, and nothing was ever mentioned again.

    I sacrificed my eyebrow piercing in February for my current retail job, which I finish on Friday because I’ve found another retail job that is a) awesome and b) lets me have visible piercings and tattoos. Score!

  24. I was recently told by the ex-manager of my job that the reason she liked me so much is because of my mods! At the time I had my ears out to 3/4′s and not long after hiring I got the scalpeled to an inch. The only complaints I have ever heard about my piercings was after I got my septum punched and was wearing a 4 gauge pincher in it a couple custies complained and the manager (very politley)asked me if I could wear different jewelry in it. I got lucky to get a laid back job (natural foods) where the are more tolerant of people with different outlooks on life so I feel for all the people that have jobs that try to dictate every aspect of thier life but for the person with this piercing…it does not get like that overnight she/he should have been more intelligent and after they noticed it getting more irittated than normal they should have contacted the person that pierced it to see what they should do with it.

  25. LOVE IT! there should be 4 or 5 more alongside it. Like a MOUSTACHE of PUS. YUM!

    …as hard as I try I can’t get ANY of my facial piercings to do that. Hints?

  26. I used to get a similar (but ALOT smaller) bump around the skin of my monroe in college during finals and midterms….

  27. I have been working part-time at a burger joint for almost a year now, with a close friend of mine. We are the highest paid cashiers and the ‘BIG BOSS’ has been pleased with our hard work and good punctuality over the months. As my friend grew board of her image and I of mine, she decided to get snakebites (two piercings on both sides of the lower lip). She had told the manager the day before that she was going to get them done. Though there was some uncertainty the manager simply said “it makes the company look bad.” But she never said no. As my friend worked her next shift, the BOSS said nothing to her but gave her an unhappy dirty look. A few months later after my 17th birthday I decided to treat myself to a Monroe piercing. I also decided to speak to the manager and warn her of my plans. She once again said very little and reminded me that “we are to keep a professional image” (how professional can burgers get!) As I walked into work the BOSS seemed to be upset this time. He looked at me oddly and said, “Now there are too many piercing in the store, we cannot present ourselves to customers if you guys look like this.” I was shocked and angered over his reaction to my one piercing, where on the other hand my friend had two. I felt like how I looked effected the way I worked. The Boss had never been angry over anything I have done and has been only pleased with my attendance and hard work. Though I was not fired or sent to flip patties in the back, this ordeal bothered me. If I am working well and I’m kind to customers then why am I so discriminated against because of my appearance?

    Employers of the world, I ask of you, please! The times are changing, which means the youths of the world are also changing. Think beyond the physical aspect of a human and focus on what that person can offer. Whether it be facial piercings, body art or a unique look, it would be best to give that being a chance before branding them a troublesome failure.

  28. it sucks that when yoy go to work and have to take your percings out people comeing in to your woke place should not be ofended by seeing people with difrent percings as long as people wear jullory that is secure like my earing thay have screw on spiks ones the spike is screw on it will not fall out from bob fox

  29. fuck that shit.

    i hate when shitheads take theyre piercings out cuzz theyre not supposed to have them in.

    get some fucking nuts.

    my appearance has denied me employment in just about every kind of establishment ive tried. [which is really rather diverse.]

    when u lay down and die for what THEY say your eliminating the chance of ever hoping to be free at work and express yourself however the fuck u want.

  30. Okay,
    I agree with those who say oh, get a job that allows piercings like the, or well I would, if it were that easy then it would be super :) unfortunately, there are not many employers out there who are like that, so some of us have to settle for less, regardless, we have lives outside of the worplace, and we deserve to look however we choose.
    I work as a general cleaner at an undisclosed hotel, I do not deal with the public, and the pay suits my needs, where I live, there are not many if any at all who employ people with mods and it sucks, because some of us do not enjoy looking like everyone else, but day by day we are heckled by our employers to take our piercings out, just because they don’t like to see them, well personally when I look at someone and they don’t die, it kinda makes me wonder what kind of business of it is theirs? like… don’t judge me because of what I look like… judge me because of the way I act, it’s no different if I were black, asian or… whatever, i’t still sickens me people, grow up, it’s the 21st century.
    not everyone wants to and should have to be made to look like everyone else… for those who work in environtments where mods ARE a health and safety issue I understand and agree that you should be made to take them out, but for those who are made to take them out because they don’t meet special requirements that our employers would like… it’s just stupid in my opinion…

  31. I work in fast food, until I graduate and get my degree, and our corporate policy is “no piercings, natural colored hair, natural make up, no finger nail polish or jewelry”. Some of my co-workers have multiple ear piercings and nose piercings and aren’t required to take them out, so I figured I could get my vertical labret since the owner didn’t have a problem with my industrial and vertical lobe piercings. I got it done, and they allowed it to heal and now I have to put a retainer in when I work. I only do it when the owner comes in and works, the customers love my piercings and ask me questions about them and stuff. Now, I also have to change my microdermal in my sternum back to a healing post instead of a jewel even though most people can’t see it unless I bend over and my shirt hangs down…

  32. “unless I bend over and my shirt hangs down…”

    posted by: Kelsy on November 25th, 2007 at 3:52 am

    Sounds, hot!!! where do u work? do serve french frys?

  33. If a job doesn’t allow it then why get it in the first place.
    You shouldn’t quit a job for a mod.
    you need a job to survive, not a mod.
    and I always say bod before mod

  34. Ok so I had a SMALL bump on my monroe piercing that I thought was a “piercing pimple” I believe people call it,and was told to do frequent saline soaks. One morning I woke up and it had almost doubled in sized,looking like this picture! I made a doctors appointment,but by the next day (today) it was worse! It was healed and I had never taken it out before. I couldn’t even get it out because it hurt so bad. So tomorrow I have to go to the doctors and the piercer to have it taken out! What a horrible mess. Monroes are supposed to be sexy and this is just nasty!

  35. there is such a thing as a retainer…. most employers understand that piercings cant constantly be put in and out. many will accept a clear retainer.

  36. As an employer in the beauty industry, I don’t care if you where the greatest hair stylist, make up artist and designer to ever live, I would NEVER hire someone who could so degrade themselves by doing such horrid things to the beautiful bodies your mothers took 9 months to create. Your bodies are not yours to do as you please, they are ,what your parents gave you to represent your families past , present and future.It is your duty to honour and respect it, not graffity,modify or damage, in any way. I wouldn’t want somebody with so little self respect for themselves and their family working for me.

  37. The Boss: What is someone who is so obviously against body modification, as yourself, doing on a website dedicated to body modification?

    Also, it’s not the fault of the employer, at all. The employer told them to remove the piercing which is fair enough, as an employer they have the right to do that and I don’t see why exceptions should be made for piercings and tattoos, they’re allowed to enforce dress code and piercings and tattoos are a part of that. It’s not the employers fault that this person was foolish enough to keep removing and replacing the jewellery and hence cause this scaring

    People that complain about having to remove piercings for employment to me, just sound like a whining bunch of kids that had their favourite toy taken away

  38. The Boss…what do you say to those whose parents encourage properly done body mods? Or, GASP, parents who get peircings for themselves?

    How is -our- body not ours to do with what we choose? Are we all robots, living solely for our parents? Should we let our parents also map out our entire 70-80something year life because our mother carried us for less than a year?

    Give your head a shake.

  39. Piercings don’t effect the way anyone works. I can understand a surgeon, a chef or a vet having to take them out to prevent the jewlery from ending up in food or worse. but anywhere else is just pathetic.

  40. ok now im wishing i didnt have mine done. only had it done last monday and its scabbin round it and after seein this im panicing mines guna go like that :S

  41. Thank god I didn’t see this before I got mine pierced..
    A little puss and crusting is normal (I’ve had it for about 6 months now).
    I have to take mine out for work too though. In my opinion, having a hole in your face is much worse than having that or a stud of some sort.

  42. I stick my lip ring and stud in a saline solution made using salt and boiling hot water – obv i wait until it’s cooled down before I insert it. I’ve had it 8 years and never had a problem.

    I also scrub my fingers before doing it and cut my nails. It’s common sense. Something tells me this guy took that piercing out and shoved it back in just before and after work, probably in the toilet or something, without cleaning it.

  43. I work in a place that handles food products (not fast food). We have strict policies regarding any jewelry altogether. This includes, earrings, facial piercings, watches, and rings. We can’t chew gum or have things in our pockets for fear of something falling out into the product. I could imagine one day I’m at home and pouring out a box of cereal and a piece of metal that was once in someone’s ear plopped into my bowl. I would be devastated, sickened, and on the phone to my lawyer and the FDA.

    I’ve had piercings, I know many people that do. They fall out, they get lost. It happens.

    How many of you that complain about your bosses not liking your piercings work at Taco Bell or Dominoes?

    If you don’t like your boss, or your workplace policies, go somewhere else. Its pretty fricken simple.

  44. i know this may sound stupid, but is it possible to just put a bandaid over it (with the piercing still in ofc) if it is in such a bad condition)? this idea just popped into my head, while being really tired, so maybe it’s not very good, i’m just asking.

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