Friday, May 29, 2009

A Score I'm Not Proud Of

I was doing a little research to write a post comparing incentives in the Japanese and U.S. workplace. In the process, I ran across the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. I know I'm not happy here in Japan, but I thought I would take the online test just to see how bad it was.

I got a 75 out of 100. That would be "severely depressed"...which is quite an eye opener for me.

The funny thing is that, compared to the people I see on my commute, I think I seem pretty well-adjusted. I mean, Japan has some of the highest incidence rates of suicide and alcoholism amongst industrial countries. I guess I can see why. At least I have something to look forward to: I can go home and get back to a normal life. But I feel for the poor Japanese salarymen I see slumped over on the train platform nursing a beer and staring blankly off into the distance...this is as good as it gets; there is nowhere else to go.

Anyway, I'll try to get back to writing my observations on incentive systems for a future post. For now, I'll leave with the same comment I give everyone who asks about Japan: it is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

See Me at Interop Tokyo 2009

In an effort to put a face behind its technology, NTT Communications will be showcasing portraits of some of their engineers at their booth at Interop Tokyo this year. And unless I had spinach in my teeth, there is a good chance my portrait will be there this year....even if I'm not. Six members of the team that runs the servers behind the HOTSPOT service, myself included, were gathered after lunch today to have our pictures taken. It wasn't anything fancy: first, they each of us pose for individual pictures, then did a few pictures of us in groups of three, and finally one big group photo of us at a conference table.

So if you find yourself at Interop Tokyo 2009 this upcoming June, swing by the NTT Communications booth. Above the booth you should see a number of portaits of engineers. I'll be the stupid-looking one.