Saturday, May 27, 2006


I have worked out some details, have escaped the depression that had me doubting I could put one foot in front of the other, and have rejoined the team at Bipolar-Connection as a patient blogger. My blog can be found here. I go by GJ, the "J" standing for Jon. Bipolar-Connection is part of the Health Central network.

If everyone who visited here would take the time to check out the new blog and leave their input as comments, that site would become an even better resource. Message boards, accessible experts, and a staff willing to do what it takes to serve the community. I feel blessed to be a part of this team.

I will keep this blog, and will update it from time to time as time allows, but most of my bipolar posts will be at the Bipolar-Connection blog.

So stop by and let me know you're still around, I won't have stats to check traffic anymore. If you're a blogger, be sure to post your blog so I can link back to it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fighting Depression

4 coworkers received the "tap on the shoulder" yesterday and were let go, including my closest coworker. This is going to be a real challenge to avoid sliding into a depression.

On the upside, I have a phone interview this morning as an IS business analyst with one of the largest food processing companies in the world. I am hopeful about this one. And I have many resumes out, something will come through shortly.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Just like the immigration issue, there's been some very hateful things said and written in the name of outsourcing. I'd like to spend a few lines of blog addressing this.

My occupation is in programming, specifically telemarketing programming. If you've ever received a credit card offer in the mail and called the toll free number, there's a good possibility that Indian (or Phillipinian, or Canadian, or ...) phone operator is using a program I wrote. I know, don't hate me. At least it's not as intrusive as outbound telemarketing. The guys that write outbound scripts are in the next aisle...

Within the last year I began training a team of developers in India. Great kids, and they are mostly "kids", I don't have a person over 25 on my team. We've known all along, even though management has denied it, that our jobs will be questionable when these developers are up to speed. We received confirmation Friday that this is indeed happening soon. By the end of the third quarter, they anticipate our on-shore IS staff will be reduced by 70%. So, in effect, we are training our replacements. It's like training a soldier, knowing that when he's learned his job, he's going to turn around and put a bullet in your head.

We have a great IS department, I am the newest person in the organization with 7 years experience. We have improved our processes, our programs, our knowledge. As people have left, we haven't needed to replace them. We just work better and more efficiently. I'm proud of what we've accomplished over the years in a fast moving, fast changing industry. But those processes, those improvements, they really didn't mean anything. The company just silently reaped the benefits.

At this point, I could choose to do many things. I could be angry with the people who would replace me. But it's not their fault. They have become peers, even friends. I chat by messenger with them at all hours of the day and night. I see their wedding pictures, they recognize my kids through pictures. My team lead over there even wears a red turban on Fridays in the fall as a sign of support for my Cornhuskers football team.

I could choose to be angry with my management for allowing this to happen. But they are just carrying out objectives from those above them. Yes, they are selfishly and zealously clinging to their own jobs, but would I not do the same?

I could choose to be angry with the CEO and the top echelon of management for allowing this to happen. And perhaps they could have delayed it a bit, but it's inevitable. We had a high-level smug asshole come out from "Corporate" and talk to us recently about "The Transformation" as they call it. We pointed out that already the gains to be realized in India are shrinking, the playing field is leveling. He responded that he knew that, and that's why the company has already established a presence in China. While his job may not be in immediate jeopardy, it's not his fault either. If it wasn't him as an axe-man, someone else would be there to do it.

So where does the problem lie? And is there really a problem?

We pointed out that the staff in India was not yet fully trained. The exec that was fielding questions responded that it didn't really matter, because knowing the gains that were awaiting this transformation, the stockholders were pushing.

Boom. It sunk in. That was the answer. This is all in the name of stock prices. To the shareholders individual wealth is more important than the welfare of the country's citizens.

Now I'm not saying I don't agree with the capitalistic concept. I was a business major, and it was pounded into me. To think otherwise would be to embrace socialism, and the pure "evil" it represents. But something is wrong here.

Is the system broken? In the US, what professions are safe? Medical, some education, and certain services are all I can think of. Is there anything else that can't be outsourced? Engineering, consulting, programming - there's almost nothing that can't be done for a cost savings somewhere else in the world.

Is there a solution? As workers do we quickly retool and re-educate to become health care providers? Or should we look for work maintaining the pools and sprinkler systems of the shareholders we used to work for? Maybe that's the reason for the right's opposition to immigration, to keep those jobs available for out of work technical people.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mike Wallace Speaks About His Depression on 60 Minutes

Just received this press release from


On Sunday, May 21, 2006, CBS correspondent Mike Wallace will make his last scheduled appearance on the news television show 60 Minutes, broadcast on CBS television stations at 7:00 ET/PT (Check local listings). The show will highlight many parts of Wallace's career, but particularly poignant will be a frank discussion with his colleague Morley Safer about his struggle with depression -- including for the very first time, his attempted suicide.

Wallace has devoted himself to ending the stigma of mental illness and encouraging people to get help when they need it. This broadcast will continue to advance that public education. NAMI thanks him.

For more information, please visit the CBS web site.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I'm Back

I'm back to blogging here. Bipolar-connection is an excellent resource, and the people there are great. But writing about my condition commercially just didn't feel right, and therapeutically it didn't fill my "need". I really wish I didn't feel this way, because it was a very sweet gig...

More details, and a complete post, later.