I can do WHAT and get a raise?

May 1, 2013
By: Vicki Bell

You want a raise; I want a raise; we all want raises. Even corporate heads who take pay cuts to show how much they empathize with their workers probably want and think they deserve raises, but that’s a topic for another day.

What would you do for a raise, besides doing the best job you can every single day? Take on more responsibility? Work longer hours? Endeavor to meet and exceed all performance appraisal metrics? Probably easy yeses for most of us, right? How about getting a tattoo?

Among the items deemed newsworthy on lifeinc.today.com is one entitled “Company ink: agents get 15% raise for corporate tattoos.” While this may seem like the easiest way of all to get a raise—and a no-brainer for tattoo aficionados—what about the hardworking stiffs who abhor tattoos?  Should they be exempt from the raise unless they get a tattoo? Is that fair?

These are the questions that came to mind as I read the article about Rapid Realty, a New York City-based brokerage firm that is giving a 15 percent raise to its workers who get a tattoo of the company’s logo.

The article describes how well the initiative is going over with employees. “So far, 40 agents are inked and more are lining up,” said Anthony Lolli, Rapid Realty CEO.

One new agent got the tattoo after only a week working for the company. CEO Lolli said he doesn’t think that’s crazy. “Some people fall in love with the opportunity. They fall in love with the brand.”

The brand. Oh, yeah.

Am I the only one who sees the similarity between this endeavor and branding cattle? True, employees have the option, whereas cattle don’t. What about someone who really doesn’t want to do it but badly needs/wants the raise?

It’s one thing to have something with personal meaning inked where it can serve as a reminder of that which you hold dear and is worth the pain involved—or the knowledge that you’ll have it long after it no longer resembles what it was originally (think old, wrinkly bodies).

I like and am very proud of the company I work for, and I think as far as tattoos go, FMA might look OK. But seriously, what are these people thinking? There is no guarantee that anyone will have a long association with any employer, or that it will continue to be an enjoyable one. Under those conditions, would you want to be branded forever with a reminder?

And suppose you’re an agent who wants a raise but not the tattoo? Is there an option for you? If not, is Rapid Realty violating any labor laws? I don’t know. I’m just asking. I’m not an HR professional. But I know one, and I can’t for the life of me see her ever approving something like this.

What do you think? Would you get a tattoo of your employer’s choosing if it meant a raise for you? And if you decided not to, how would you feel about not being in the raise pool?

On its website, Rapid Realty states: "At Rapid Realty, we don't stab each other in the back; we work as a team. There's plenty of pie for everyone!" (An extra large helping for those who let us stab them on the back, arm, leg, you name it …)

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Vicki Bell

Vicki Bell

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8209