Workplace perk? The company tattoo parlor

Oh, America, you’re taking the whole “branding” thing too far.

It’s not enough that you have to exchange your life’s energies for a paycheck every two weeks, must you be a walking billboard for your corporate overlords, too?

The Wall St. Journal today reports employees of some firms are smitten with the idea of corporate tattoos.

See if you can get your arm around the concept in the opening paragraphs of today’s story in the Wall St. Journal.

Anytime Fitness has a tattoo room at its corporate headquarters in Woodbury, Minn., with a chair, a sink and a book illustrating ways that employees can show off the company’s running man logo.

While job-hopping is rampant, a surprising number of American workers are expressing a bond with their employers in permanent ink. Employees at such companies as tech’s Red Hat Inc. and sportswear icon Nike Inc. have brand logos plastered on their ankles, shoulders and arms.

Some who wear their heart on their sleeve this way at first feel sheepish outside the office. Mark Daly, Anytime Fitness’s media director, said he was pressured into getting a company tattoo by coworkers chanting “Daly! Daly!” He hid the tattoo from his wife, Laura Daly, for three days before confessing at a hot tub party.

He recalled his wife was shocked but decided it was “kind of sexy.” Ms. Daly has a different recollection. “No, I would not describe it as cool or sexy,” she said, calling her husband a “knucklehead.”

Tattoos, we’re told, tell your story and your employer is part of your story. That’s the theory, anyway.

It impresses colleagues, shows you’re devoted to your company, and builds trust with clients, the Journal says.

Employees are gently coerced into getting them because they’re allowed to believe this sort of nonsense.

But it turns out, the company tatts don’t come with a guarantee.

Paul Bosneag, a manager who works with franchise-holders of the Anytime Fitness gym chain, said he opted for the needle in 2010 as job security. At the time, he said, he recalled thinking, “What kind of a jerk would fire an employee that has the logo tattooed on him?”

It turns out Chuck Runyon, chief executive of Anytime Fitness, has fired around seven people who got company tattoos. Performance, he said, is more important than loyalty.

In a blog post last summer, the company said over 4,000 employees and customers around the world have gone for the tattoo.

(h/t: Michael Wells)