Jul 09

Tat’s all, folks!

Is it just me, or is there an ever-increasing percentage of people sporting tattoos? Is there also  
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a  simultaneous increase in the percentage of available skin being devoted to tats? I sure think so.

I believe I reached the tat’s tipping point this past Sunday when I spied one on the calf muscle of my good friend and cycling partner, Greg Drury (publisher of The Holmes Report). Justifiably proud of having completed six triathlons, Greg’s right calf is now adorned with a bright red ‘tri’ logo. Man, I thought, if ‘they’ got Greg Drury to sport a tat, they’ve got everyone. Don’t ask me who they are, but they’ve won nonetheless.

I’m not a big fan of tats. I especially hate the over-the-top tats that seem to run amok on the torsos of NFL and NBA players. Some players have their kids’ names tattooed on their biceps. That’s cute. Others feature verses from the Bible (hoping, perhaps, that God will let them make that three-point shot at the buzzer?). And, some have those Japanese and Chinese letters on them. They look very cool, but what’s the point if no one understands what they say or mean?

If I were going to sacrifice my skin permanently, I think I’d charge money for it. In fact, if the price were right, I’d consider adorning my calves, biceps and triceps with any number of hip, but environmentally-sensitive, sponsor logos. I like Mammoth outdoor gear, so that would be one. I wear Saucony running shoes, so their logo would make the cut. And, I’d also want the world to know I’m a man of discerning tastes, so I’d go with a Zegna or Armani icon on, say, my wrist.

Tats are a personal image and reputation statement. But, I’m not sure exactly what statement is being made. Is a tattoo nothing more than a plaintiff cry for attention? Is it a must-have fashion accessory that, unlike a watch, can’t be taken off every night? Or, is it a peer pressure kind of thing? (i.e. “If Lindsay and Heather have tats on their shoulders, then I have to have one on mine. So there.”).

All this tat thinking has me thinking. If it were trendy at the time, would Lincoln have had a tat? My guess is he’d have gone with the opening line of the Gettysburg Address and put it on one of his biceps. The rail splitter had to have been cut. I’ll bet Napoleon would have had multiple tats. He did have a Napoleonic complex, after all. And, my guess is Winston Churchill would have had that big, fat cigar permanently tattooed on his neck.

If and when I do decide to follow Greg Drury’s lead and get a tattoo, I know what it will be and where it will go: it’ll be the Peppercom logo and it’ll be right smack on the small of my back. And, yes, it will be a plaintive cry for attention. Tat’s all, folks.

Oct 15

Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

There’s a fascinating cover story in the latest issue of HR Magazine entitled, ‘Are you too family friendly?Baby_2

The article asks if, in light of political correctness, employers have gone overboard in granting too many perks and privileges to employees with children. According to the article, a growing number of childless workers are saying flex schedules and other concessions made to working moms and dads are unfair, if not, discriminatory.

It’s a slippery slope since publications like Fortune routinely include such benefits as a prerequisite to being named to their ‘Most Admired’ list. In our own industry, The Holmes Report in particular lavishes praise on family-friendly workplaces in its annual survey.

HR Magazine says the childless perks pushback is only going to grow. One in four American households now consist of a single, childless person (and there are now 92 million single or childless citizens 18 years of age and older).

So, what’s an employer to do? One HR expert suggests a cafeteria-type benefits offering from which employees can choose to best meet their personal needs. That sounds fair to me.

It’s a genuine image and reputation conundrum for every organization. In our rush to meet the needs of employees with children, we’ve unconsciously overlooked the single/childless workforce. However enlightened such organizations may seem, the fact is, they’re not.

It’s time that Fortune, The Holmes Report and other publications wake up to this new trend and factor a ‘balanced’ benefits program into their annual rankings.