Today, I want to compare the sometimes perceived "dangerous" sub culture (which arguably is becoming more mainstream) of Tattooing to the sometimes perceived "safe" mainstream culture of Corporate Branding. Isn't that a strange comparison? Yes. But I'm interested in why people choose these two things. It seems like it takes a particular personality to want to have a tattoo. It also seems like it takes a certain personality to succeed within a corporate environment. So let's look at these two extreme formats and how they affect your personality.
Part 1: Tattoos. The Painful Process of Permanence
Sometimes people refer to getting a tattoo as getting "inked". It's a somewhat painful process where a skilled professional with a needle gun implants a particular pattern of ink under your skin. Once the pattern is implanted, it's there for the rest of your life. Some people are able to hide their tattoos from the public by intentionally wearing certain clothes that cover the patterns. However, others feel that tattoos are part of their identity. They don't want to hide them. They enjoy and take pride in showing the tattoos they've acquired over the years.
People who haven't gotten tattoos have differing perspectives on the subject. Some people think that they wouldn't fit in with the tattoo culture. They feel that people with tattoos are a particular breed of people and it's just not for them. Others can't imagine sitting in a chair and having someone come at them with a needle gun. Why would someone subject themself to that kind of pain? Or do something so permanent? What if they change their mind and don't want that tattoo to be a part of them in the future?
Isn't it interesting that some people subject themselves to the pain of getting a tattoo? Our animal instincts tell us to avoid pain, but these people somehow seem to enjoy the process almost as much as the art that becomes a part of them.
Part 2: Branding. The Painful Process of Permanence
In the corporate world, every individual employee is encouraged to develop their own personal brand. The idea is great! Every person is unique and has an equally unique perspective and skillset. Yes! Awesome!
However, there are only a few key skillsets that they are seeking. I mean when a corporation asks for diversity, they basically mean your skin tone. Everything else should be the corporate brand--and I mean everything: clothing, hairstyle, hand gestures, presentation style, format for statuses, posture, you-name-it.
Sometimes people refer to getting a corporate job as getting "inc'ed" or incorporated. Another favorite phrase is "drinking the company kool-aid". It's a somewhat painful process where a skilled professional sets up bi-weekly statuses to implant a particular pattern of "Situation, Behavior, Outcome" under your skin. Some people are able to hide their Individuality from the corporation by intentionally wearing certain clothes and using company jargon and acronyms to cover the parts of their personality that don't fit the Corporate Brand. Letting parts of your non-brand personality show may not get you fired, but it will likely prevent you from getting promoted. However, others feel that their Corporate Brand is a huge part of their identity. They don't want to hide their experience. They enjoy and take pride in discussing their achievements and the methodologies they've acquired over the years.
People who haven't worked in a corporate atmosphere have differing perspectives on the subject. Some people think that they wouldn't fit in with the Corporate Culture. They feel that people who worked in a corporate setting are a particular breed of people and it's just not for them. Others can't imagine sitting in cubicle all day and having someone come at them demanding measured results every two weeks. Why would someone subject themself to that kind of pain? Or do something so permanently predictable? What if they change their mind and don't want stay in such a structured format of work their whole life?
Isn't it interesting that some people subject themselves to the pain of working a corporate job? Our animal instincts tell us to experience life in a rich meaningful way, but these people somehow seem to enjoy the process of not feeling human as much as the affluent feelings of corporate identity that they become a part of.
Both a Tattoo and a Corporate Job will change you. The main difference between a Tattoo and a Corporate Job is that
A Tattoo is typically an expression who you are so that it's visible to the world. It's part of you forever--unless you laser it off.
A Corporate Job seeks to absorb you into it's Culture. Your personal expression gets hidden behind the brand. Thankfully, you don't have to laser it off. You can just quit. But when you do, it can feel like you lose an entire community.
Where is there value in a tattoo? That a very personal question. You have to ask yourself, how does it impact your confidence, personality, reputation and community? Does it make you feels more unique--or maybe it makes you feels like your part of a group?
Where is there value in a joining a corporation? This can also be a personal question. It may be just a means to obtain a paycheck--or it could be an important part of your identity. Some people work in a tight-knit group that become their main circle of friends,
How does it impact your personality, reputation and community?
What do you value more in life, being part of something or being yourself?
Next week we'll talk about Values and Ideals.