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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crashburn Alley » Blog Archive » Greinke, Hamilton, Mental Health, Masculinity and Dignity

A different slant on signing Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2012 at 07:57 AM | 88 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency, josh hamilton, zack greinke

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   1. depletion Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4311222)
Good article. I also don't agree that Josh Hamilton is a risk to sign because of "addiction issues". My experience with others who were drug users is that if they've stopped for years, and moved away from the other users they once hung out with, there is an extremely low likelihood of remission. The fact that Josh had some alcohol during last season and didn't get in a bar fight, miss a game, get a DWI, or any other such mayhem, indicates that he is over his old problems.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4311231)
i imagine some of this is generational but i have endured depression and the issues associated with it but unlike my oldest daughter and now many others i didn't spend a lot of time talking about and seeming to wallow in the diagnosis.

get the right help. see the right people. but why all the constant noise about it?

that's why greinke was my kind of guy. he kept it private. dealt with it on his own. as it should be.

others seem to want it as some kind of personal brand.
   3. BDC Posted: November 28, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4311255)
His age, relative to the length of contract he’s likely to receive, scares me. As do his declining defensive utility in center field, his reliance on contact skills rather than plate discipline and his troubling injury history


… are the things not to like about a Hamilton contract, according to TFA, not his drug-and-rehab history.

As to the drug-and-rehab point, I couldn't agree more. That's the main point of TFA's discussion of Hamilton, and it's an important and cogent point.

My one quibble (and what would a BBTF comment be without a quibble? :) is the worry about "his reliance on contact skills rather than plate discipline." True, Hamilton's strikeout rate was up last year (as was his walk rate, both being the highest he's posted since coming to Texas). That could be due to any number of physical problems, including eyesight and sinus issues that he complained of, which are part of the "troubling injury history" that I would also worry about. Or maybe he's just lost bat speed with age, and that's a worry, too.

But all else equal, his reliance on contact skills is a good thing about him. His lifetime batting average is .304. That's his game; he's more Vlad Guerrero than Jim Thome, and if you're good enough on the Guerrero side, the fact that you rely on contact instead of take-and-rake is simply a matter of style. I see no reason why a contact type would age badly or anything like that: Vlad himself was still hitting .300 and driving in 100 runs at the age of 35. Contact is a reason to sign Hamilton, not avoid him.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4311266)
But all else equal, his reliance on contact skills is a good thing about him. His lifetime batting average is .304. That's his game; he's more Vlad Guerrero than Jim Thome, and if you're good enough on the Guerrero side, the fact that you rely on contact instead of take-and-rake is simply a matter of style. I see no reason why a contact type would age badly or anything like that: Vlad himself was still hitting .300 and driving in 100 runs at the age of 35. Contact is a reason to sign Hamilton, not avoid him.

Concur. Contact is a "young man's" skill. Players tend to add power and patience as they age, and lose contact ability.

Hamilton's in much better shape to age well than an equivalent hitter batting .240 with a ton of walks.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4311288)
get the right help. see the right people. but why all the constant noise about it?
There are certainly ways of talking about mental health issues that are not good, that are perhaps preening or self-aggrandizing, and those aren't good.

The positive effect of talking publicly about mental illness, I think, has to do with getting rid of the stigma on mental illness. There have been a lot of people with mental illnesses who haven't gotten the help they needed in part because they couldn't acknowledge their problems out of shame, out of concern regarding how other people in their lives would treat them. People saying publicly that they have this problem, and that they're getting help, can play a part in enabling others to get help, too.
   6. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4311290)
that's why greinke was my kind of guy. he kept it private. dealt with it on his own. as it should be.


Are there ways to change the culture of rub-some-dirt-on-it besides making it public?

(or what MCoA said)
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4311296)
matt/drew

i have no issue with someone responding to a question or perhaps mentioning it once or twice in a public forum. i roll my eyes at those who talk about it 'constantly'. why do we have all these rules about health privacy and then have folks yammering about this malady or that issue nonstop.

get the help you need and there you go. it's none of my business nor should it be.

i lump all of the viagra garbage into the same pile of nonsense.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4311300)
i have no issue with someone responding to a question or perhaps mentioning it once or twice in a public forum. i roll my eyes at those who talk about it 'constantly'. why do we have all these rules about health privacy and then have folks yammering about this malady or that issue nonstop.


I think it's a function of the social media era we live in. There are things I would tell my brother or my best friend because I trust them and rely on them. At the same time I would prefer to keep those issues generally private. However, between internet commenting, Twitter and Facebook and other social media we have a culture where everyone feels compelled to disclose information. I'm not sure what direction the cause/effect goes on that one but I think more and more everyone feels like they should share their opinions on everything.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4311307)
this has struck a nerve because in several of the companies owned by my firm i am now being made aware that the various human resources departments are telling management we need to accomodate workers with the various mental health issues being away from work and not showing up to work and that is all part of the package

look, if you need a ramp to get to work i have no issue becuase you are getting to work. and if you need a special reader on your computer because your eyes are shot that's ok too because again, you are working

but i need to keep your spot because you need to sit home because your head is elsewhere? got a developer who has missed over a month in 2012 because of this stuff and allegedly we cannot do anything about it.

i have a problem with that

and if that makes me an 8sshole so be it
   10. Randy Jones Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4311316)
but i need to keep your spot because you need to sit home because your head is elsewhere? got a developer who has missed over a month in 2012 because of this stuff and allegedly we cannot do anything about it.

i have a problem with that

and if that makes me an 8sshole so be it


Would you feel the same if they had an obvious physical malady that kept them out of work for the same time?
   11. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4311319)
Would you feel the same if they had an obvious physical malady that kept them out of work for the same time?


I'm sure he would. Damned gimps need to be out begging for their lives, surely.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4311327)
randy

there is a process for that in human resources. apparently when it's a head issue need to take a tippy toe approach

   13. Randy Jones Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4311329)
Process for what?

I do totally understand the issue that with mental health problems it is much tougher to tell if the person is just faking it to get out of work.
   14. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4311333)
randy

if you have a recognized physical health issue that is not mental health there ways for HR to work to see if this is a short-term disability path, long-term disability path or what have you. there is way for the company and the employee to reach an understanding so that the employee is not on the street but work still gets done
   15. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4311336)
I do totally understand the issue that with mental health problems it is much tougher to tell if the person is just faking it to get out of work.


Which is, I suspect, a big reason why the stigma exists. But if you have a doctor's diagnosis, that should be easy to verify. With a diagnosis, a workplace can also easily tell who needs to be treated as having a disability and who doesn't.

Unless workplaces can't ask for doctor's notes anymore?

   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4311337)
It doesn't make you an ####### but I think it's worth identifying the legitimate problems from the not so legitimate. We've seen this with phyiscal maladies for many years with people claiming hard to prove/disprove injuries (back injuries especially). You're always going to have people gaming the system but there are legitimate mental/emotional issues that make it difficult if not impossible to work.
   17. Randy Jones Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4311338)
if you have a recognized physical health issue that is not mental health there ways for HR to work to see if this is a short-term disability path, long-term disability path or what have you. there is way for the company and the employee to reach an understanding so that the employee is not on the street but work still gets done

Why can't the same process be done with mental health issues?
   18. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4311339)
Unless workplaces can't ask for doctor's notes anymore?


In my case, at least as of back in 2/01, they can basically ask you to take the doctor's note back & for all intents & purposes tear it up.

I would say a bit more, maybe, but John Wayne Wallbangers might be offended.
   19. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4311340)
Harvey, the mental health "excuse" to get out of working is certainly more apt to be abused than a physical ailment, but I do think being put off work with a mental illness (of a severity that meets some kind of measurable standard) is very bit as valid as being put off work for back surgery, etc..

Edit: Cokes - that sure took off in a hurry.
   20. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4311347)
gef

feel free. you don't offend me. i enjoy your posts
   21. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4311349)
randy

got me. just sharing what i am hearing from hr
   22. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4311353)
Thanks, Harveys. It's a subject I'm no doubt still sensitive about (not least, I'm sure, because my mother was so nuts she made me look like a textbook case of normality), so please forgive my snark.

For me, I wasn't seeking any sort of (un)paid time off or compensation or anything, just a different schedule. Oh, well -- by then I'd made my bed at the newspaper in Little Rock, & that gave them an excuse to make me lie in it. Or, rather, to throw me out of it.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4311356)
But if you have a doctor's diagnosis, that should be easy to verify. With a diagnosis, a workplace can also easily tell who needs to be treated as having a disability and who doesn't.

Unless workplaces can't ask for doctor's notes anymore?


You can get a diagnosis of bubonic plague from a Dr., if you search for the right quack.

Someone who worked for me pulled a stunt like this. We had a layoff, and she wanted a severance package, but the company wanted to keep her. She complains about it loudly for days, then goes on vacation, calls in sick the first day back, and never shows up again.

Never tells us what's wrong with her, and we can't ask HR. Zero communication. We eliminate he job after the mandatory period, and as soon as the insurance co. kicks her off disability, she's back to work somewhere else.
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4311367)
i am not suggesting the guy in the example i provided is 'faking it'.
   25. Rusty Priske Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4311392)
but i need to keep your spot because you need to sit home because your head is elsewhere? got a developer who has missed over a month in 2012 because of this stuff and allegedly we cannot do anything about it.

i have a problem with that

and if that makes me an 8sshole so be it


I disagree with those that let you off the hook here.

Mental disorders are every bit as legitimate as physical disorders. Making accomodations to help people that are suffering from either... that is something that needs to be done. Period. (and if you believe in the idea that mental disorders are often brought about by issues with brain chemistry, mental disorders ARE physical disorders.)

This was a GREAT article. Greinke is one of my favourite players because his admission got people talking about it, and that is very important.

I have experience with someone very close to me sufferering from fibro myalgia and depression and ANY inference that she should 'get over it' will not be taken well by me, and when you say that a person suffering should lose their job, that is exactly what you are saying.
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4311413)
rusty

well, i was sharing my frustration that because of the nature of the malady i am given no path for resolution.

i don't know why an employer should be kept in limbo. why is that ok? why is disability not an option? why am i just told, to use the vernacular of the day, 'deal'?

you read about 15 things into my post that weren't there. for one, not desperate to fire anybody. i just want to know the process.
   27. Machine Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4311459)
Agree with Harveys that the process is a nightmare. Qualification that I don't really know what I'm saying but from my uneducated vantage point it seems that my HR department is going out of their way to avoid any type of lawsuit, even if it would be frivolous.

My situation is that I'm the only salaried employee in my department that manages 12 others. We provide service hours 17 hours a day, 7 days a week. The person who is scheduled to work until midnight Thursday - Monday has a doctor's note that indicates the person can have difficulties functioning at intermittent times and as such we need to make accommodations for this employee not showing to work (calling in) or leaving if the day ends up too rough. Because I can't ask anybody else in the department to work extra, I get to cover any hours my employee decides he can't work. In a typical week, that means I get to cover the midnight shift at least once because he decides he can no longer function and needs to go home and I normally cover at least one of the Saturday/Sunday shifts because he isn't able to come in. This has been going on for almost 2 years and HR has indicated that this will continue indefinitely. I've told my employer that I'm looking for another job because this situation has made it near impossible to have a life outside of work. They've essentially encouraged me in my job search.

I really don't know if he's faking it or not -- although I probably lean toward taking advantage simply how frequently it is the traditional weekend that requires him to take a full day off. But either way, I don't see how this is a sustainable situation for the employer.

I'm sure one's position in management / non-management clouds things but from my position it's very frustrating. Frustrating is an understatement.
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4311466)
machine

sorry about that situation. but yes, that is the message i am getting from hr

posters here can call us big fibbers or tell us that our human resources departments stink but this is our world.

and when we say anything we are the bad guys.
   29. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4311474)
Depends on where one works -- not only the employer but the state -- but again drawing on my own place of longest employment, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, anyone who would fake anything for the purposes of drawing disability on the job would have to be insane ... at least, again, the way things were in the late '90s. When a reporter had a heart attack, he was put on paid disability (I can't think of the actual term) to the tune of something like $35 a week. Let's face it -- if that happens to you & you're your sole means of support, you'd be better off dying.
   30. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4311483)
gef

interesting. most of the disability plans i have seen are a percentage of the person's standard pay. 50 or 60 percent give or take
   31. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4311494)
That's what I would've assumed, Harv. Maybe back then in Arkansas, there was some sort of distinction between short-term & long-term disability for the purposes of compensation. No doubt Southern states' traditional lack of largesse toward labor played a factor; newspapers have traditionally been not-so-great employers as well, especially in non-Guild states (i.e., again, the South, pretty much), even back when times were pretty good for the industry.

Of course, when I started in the biz back in '81, I'm almost tempted to say that $35 a week would've been "50 or 60 percent give or take" ... Twice that would definitely have fit that bill. (Which explains why I happily snapped up the university fellowship Arizona State offered me that summer to go to grad school in history. Being tax-free, the stipend paid more.)
   32. Ron J2 Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4311512)
There have been a lot of people with mental illnesses who haven't gotten the help they needed in part because they couldn't acknowledge their problems out of shame


I recently read an interview with Terry Bradshaw on this subject. Some of it's pretty tough reading.

"This time I just could not get out of the hole. The anxiety attacks were frequent and extensive. I had weight loss, which I'd never had before. I couldn't stop crying. And if I wasn't crying, I was angry, bitter, hateful and mean-spirited. I couldn't sleep – couldn't concentrate. It just got crazy."

"I was drinking a lot, and I didn't like the path I was on. I was frightened by what might happen. I wasn't sure if I was going to drink myself to death."

Took him a long time to get help even though he knew there was a family history of clinical depression.

Oh yeah. Turns out he was dyslexic (and successfully hid it). It really did take him forever to learn his reads, etc.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4311520)

interesting. most of the disability plans i have seen are a percentage of the person's standard pay. 50 or 60 percent give or take


Yes, I've usually seen 100% pay for 4-6 weeks (Short-term disability), then 50-60% beyond that (Long-term disability).

Note: it's a good idea to pay for LTD yourself, rather than letting the employer pay. It's generally cheap, and then your benefits are tax-free.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4311524)
Agree with Harveys that the process is a nightmare. Qualification that I don't really know what I'm saying but from my uneducated vantage point it seems that my HR department is going out of their way to avoid any type of lawsuit, even if it would be frivolous.


posters here can call us big fibbers or tell us that our human resources departments stink but this is our world.

No doubt. It's the same with terminating incompetent employees. You can lay-off 100 excellent employees faster than you can fire one loser.
   35. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4311536)
You can get a diagnosis of bubonic plague from a Dr., if you search for the right quack.


Yes, because "quack" encompasses the vast majority of doctors, right?
   36. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4311542)
You can lay-off 100 excellent employees faster than you can fire one loser.


You can also fire an employee for cause, who doesn't have a documented illness, than one who does. Whether this should be the case, I don't know, but I object to the notion that such people are "losers".
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4311551)
Yes, because "quack" encompasses the vast majority of doctors, right?

No, not at all. But there are unscrupulous Drs., and you can find one it you need to.

You can also fire an employee for cause, who doesn't have a documented illness, than one who does. Whether this should be the case, I don't know, but I object to the notion that such people are "losers".

I wasn't talking about people who have physical or mental illness, I'm talking about lazy people who don't show up for work on time (if at all), and don't do their jobs.
   38. Sunday silence Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4311567)
My experience with others who were drug users is that if they've stopped for years, and moved away from the other users they once hung out with, there is an extremely low likelihood of remission..
]

If you've ever been to AA that's not the majority view or even the view of a significant minority. The conventional wisdom is that we (people in AA) are only one drink, or one bad moment away from going off the deep end. I dont know what the statistics are on that; but in general, w/o a solid period of sobriety, the odds seem to be way against you. Even with long periods of sobriety, we've seen seemingly stable people go off the deep end quite a few times.

It also helps with sobriety to remind yourself of this danger, even if the danger is not so great. So this attitude might be distorting things, perhaps. But I tend to agree that most people in AA really need to be vigilant and there's still quite a danger.
   39. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4311569)
I'm talking about lazy people who don't show up for work on time (if at all), and don't do their jobs.


As often as not, I'm sorry to say, these people are also known as "management" ... at least where I've worked (during which time I've been middle management more than 50 percent of the time).

That's not entirely fair, of course. Cluelessness & abject stupidity are frequently factors as well, & those aren't the sorts of things one can necessarily help suffering from, I suppose.
   40. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4311575)
You can lay-off 100 excellent employees faster than you can fire one loser.


If you're objective is to do it quickly that's probably true but firing someone properly is easy enough and does not need to take a long time at all. As long as you properly document what the employee is doing and communicate appropriately the day comes pretty quickly.
   41. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4311582)
jose

i want to hire your human resources department. barring the employee engaging in threatening or dangerous behavior most terminations have a 90 day runway approximately. that's 3 months of detailing what isn't being done, improvement plans and the whole shebang

that does not sound 'quick' to me
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4311585)
If you're objective is to do it quickly that's probably true but firing someone properly is easy enough and does not need to take a long time at all. As long as you properly document what the employee is doing and communicate appropriately the day comes pretty quickly.

That's not what I've seen. It always seems to take at least 6 months.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4311588)
As often as not, I'm sorry to say, these people are also known as "management" ... at least where I've worked (during which time I've been middle management more than 50 percent of the time).

That's not entirely fair, of course. Cluelessness & abject stupidity are frequently factors as well, & those aren't the sorts of things one can necessarily help suffering from, I suppose.


Management or not, these people should be gone, quickly.
   44. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4311592)
it is true that firing someone in a management role can be quicker than the rank and file
   45. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4311599)
Management or not, these people should be gone, quickly.


Well, of course. Too often, though, they seem to have the one truly indispensable employment skill -- keeping their job.

I fully admit that "malcontent" is my middle name (my silly parents!) but offhand I can't think of a single workplace of mine with more than a handful of employees in which management didn't include at least one person who had no more business being employed, much less in charge, than a houseplant. I could curl your hair with accounts of utter incompetence by higher-ups. So, probably, could just about anyone else here ... you, I'm sure, very much included.

After some 30 years of employment, I guess that's just the way things (don't) work.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4311600)
it is true that firing someone in a management role can be quicker than the rank and file

In my experience, managers really dread being fired for cause, so you can reach a severance deal quickly.
   47. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4311605)
jose

i want to hire your human resources department.


I accept! (I am the HR department).

Seriously we work on a 30 day action plan but frankly that 90 day plan doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Three months is pretty quick and if someone commits some form of gross misconduct they are gone right then and there. I think what happens is HR professionals get too worried about lawsuits. Yeah, it sucks but if you document properly then you should prevail. If you have communicated throughout the process with the offender and then deal with them in a respectful manner the day it happens I find it goes pretty smoothly.
   48. Morton's Fork Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4311607)
All due respect, HW, but I'm with Rusty; I think you're getting off the hook here.
but i have endured depression and the issues associated with it

"Rubbing dirt on it worked for me, so ..."
[Greinke] kept it private. dealt with it on his own. as it should be.

"... that's how you should handle it. And if you're not as strong as I am, well, no problem, just ..."
get the right help. see the right people.
get the help you need and there you go.

"I mean, really, what's the problem, anyway?"
you need to sit home because your head is elsewhere?



I understand and share your frustration with the complicated workplace administration issues that arise around mental health concerns, but I feel that your understanding of the difficulties of dealing with the problems of depression and social anxiety is archaic.

For some people, the barriers to getting the "right" help (if such a thing should even exist for them) are insurmountable. I promise.

To be unaware of this doesn't make you an 8sshole, I don't think, just hopelessly out of step. Part of the point of publicizing these struggles is to change your mind.


   49. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4311609)
Hmmm. I recognize Rusty from Comic Book Resources (&/or Comics Should be Good). Take everything he says with a cellar of salt.

;-)
   50. Ron J2 Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4311615)
Cluelessness & abject stupidity are frequently factors as well


A favorite novel of mine is Rob Grant's "Incompetence". It's a moderately interesting murder mystery set in the near future in a federated Europe that has a rule that nobody can be "prejudiced from employment for reason of age, race, creed or incompitence[sic]"

The joys of trying to book a trip with a clerk that suffers from ADD or dealing with police officers with anger management issues or ...

The heart of the book is trying to cope with day to day interactions with people manifestly unsuited for their job.
   51. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4311616)
To be unaware of this doesn't make you an 8sshole, I don't think, just hopelessly out of step. Part of the point of publicizing these struggles is to change your mind.


While I obviously lean much more strongly toward your interpretation of the situation than I do HW's, the fact, I think, remains that if he's "just hopelessly out of step," so is a huge portion -- very possibly a majority -- of the rest of the populace. Which calls into question the entire concept of being "out of step."

I hope I'm wrong, though.
   52. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4311619)
Ron -- That sounds great.

Well, nightmarish.

But fun!

Adding it to my want list even as I type.

Thanks!
   53. Morton's Fork Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4311620)
Fair comment. I live in San Francisco, so my idea of "in step" is likely a bit queer.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4311625)
I understand and share your frustration with the complicated workplace administration issues that arise around mental health concerns, but I feel that your understanding of the difficulties of dealing with the problems of depression and social anxiety is archaic.

For some people, the barriers to getting the "right" help (if such a thing should even exist for them) are insurmountable. I promise.


I think the issue is some of us don't believe people have the right to hold a job they no longer can perform, even if that's not their fault. If physical or mental illness prevents you from doing your job, that's what disability insurance is for.

LTD typically covers 2 years for same-job disability, and indefinite if you can't perform any job. So, if you're a ditch digger and you hurt your back, or an bond trader who can no longer cope with the stress, you get two years to find another trade. If you're completely disabled, you have an income. That seems fair to me.
   55. The Good Face Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4311626)
If you're objective is to do it quickly that's probably true but firing someone properly is easy enough and does not need to take a long time at all. As long as you properly document what the employee is doing and communicate appropriately the day comes pretty quickly.

That's not what I've seen. It always seems to take at least 6 months.


Yeah, that matches up with my experience. Often longer if the problem employee is a member of a protected class, and most of them are nowadays.

Some of the blame needs to go to poor management though; many managers do a poor job of documenting performance issues, and sometimes don't do the job at all. If you've been suffering with an incompetent employee for years, but never noted their issues in performance reviews, set up improvement plans, or otherwise documented their ineptitude, I don't have a ton of sympathy for you.
   56. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4311628)
morton

i am old but not daft.

first, i don't see the purpose beyind blending various statements together other than to try and confuse me or to tag me to statements not made. it's an old ploy on bbtf and i am not buying. state your point clearly or don't bother

as for employees having barriers to help that is possible but unlikely since a good many companies (large and small) have some form of employee assistance hotline and of course there are health plans. and lest we forget people have friends and families as support networks to possibly guide them to a health professional

and note i am speaking of folks who are working, not the unemployed or semi-employed where options are reduced.

try again. i grade the above post--------------fail
   57. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4311637)
Well, Morton, as he noted, is in San Francisco. You're in Wisconsin, HW. Me? Alabama.

Three different worlds (which doesn't change at all when I note yet again that most of the experiences I've alluded to occurred in Arkansas).
   58. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4311640)
If you're objective is to do it quickly that's probably true but firing someone properly is easy enough and does not need to take a long time at all. As long as you properly document what the employee is doing and communicate appropriately the day comes pretty quickly.


That's not what I've seen. It always seems to take at least 6 months.

That's ridiculous. That's an HR department being overly sensitive to potential pitfalls. Obviously you don't want to just boot people out the door with regularity but when you've reached that point where someone has to go there is no reason at all for it to take six months. Frankly, if you've created an action plan for someone and they've survived that long either the action plan is flawed or they have corrected the behavior.

The problem is often the will to let people go. It sucks, no doubt about it. At the risk of being unfeeling you need to be willing to let people go to run a successful business.
   59. Morton's Fork Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4311641)
MW: I too am old, but must admit to being pretty darned daft. I was not trying to confuse, sorry.

I have nothing to say regarding the workplace aspect of this discussion.

My point is twofold: the language you use unfairly characterizes the maladies under discussion and those who suffer from them, and that characterization does harm.
   60. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4311644)
At the risk of being unfeeling you need to be willing to let people go to run a successful business.


Or, as indicated previously, you can opt instead to keep promoting them.

(I won't truly believe that newspapers are as bad off as they keep whining they are until they start lopping off unsightly, useless flab instead of muscle & bone. I can't speak for anywhere else, but at least in Little Rock & Montgomery, it hasn't really begun happening yet.)
   61. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4311652)
morton

post 9 onward was focused on how this relates to the workplace

and this fussiness over language baffles me. i acknowledge the problem is real (i have it myself). i believe people should be able to get the help they need. what the h8ll else is needed?

   62. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4311660)
what the h8ll else is needed?


Money.

Lots of it.

Sent to gef the talking mongoose for proper administration & distribution.

Small bills or large ... doesn't matter.

(No checks, please. My bank persists in confusing me with someone with an entirely different name.)

Thanks in advance!
   63. Morton's Fork Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4311670)
HW: You and I agree: the problem is real, and people should be able to get the help they need. That I am fussy about language is also fair comment!
   64. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4311675)
gef

let me guess, the human fund

   65. CrosbyBird Posted: November 28, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4311684)
look, if you need a ramp to get to work i have no issue becuase you are getting to work. and if you need a special reader on your computer because your eyes are shot that's ok too because again, you are working

but i need to keep your spot because you need to sit home because your head is elsewhere? got a developer who has missed over a month in 2012 because of this stuff and allegedly we cannot do anything about it.


The way you're phrasing "this stuff" sends the message that you don't really understand what depression is really like. Most people think they understand depression because they experience sadness, but depression isn't sadness. Sadness is the tip of the iceberg, and the part that the world sees.

I've had (fortunately rare, but still frightening) incidents where I was literally unable to move my limbs from depression. I've alternated weeks where I couldn't seem to get to sleep or stay asleep for longer than a couple of hours at a time with weeks where I slept twelve hours a day. There's also sometimes physical pain: usually just a dull ache, but sometimes splitting headaches or intense stomach issues. Of course, I've hit the point where I use those symptoms when I call in because depression has a stigma associated with it.

Depression is also a serious obstacle to its own treatment. The disease fills you with hopelessness that makes it hard to expend energy to fix it, and often history shows that fixes are only temporary. I've tried at least fifteen different anti-depressants and none have lasted longer than six months or so; most do nothing at all. Plus it takes about a month to even know if medication is working at all. So you endure a month of side-effects to find out if the medicine even does anything, and it's very hard to read. Maybe you go up a dose because you think you feel something, but it might just be a relatively good month (maybe that's what motivated you to try a different medication in the first place), and then that's another two months spent on a useless med. Imagine if you had a broken leg and you spent the last fifteen years trying all sorts of different casts, but it couldn't heal. Now imagine the difference between functioning with a broken leg and a broken brain.

It is certainly true that people can cry wolf, but you can do that with anything. It's not hard to find someone who lost the same grandmother a few times in college.
   66. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4311692)
Dunno. I wouldn't at all doubt that HW has dealt with depression. There are, of course, different degrees of severity. I've had it bad at times (with occasional detours into bipolar disorder, which needless to say is its own special experience); sounds like you've had it even worse, & possibly more often.

Which I'm very, very sorry to hear. Take care of yourself.

At least you don't think you're a mongoose. Believing onself to be a bird is, I think, more socially acceptable.
   67. CrosbyBird Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4311696)
I think the issue is some of us don't believe people have the right to hold a job they no longer can perform, even if that's not their fault. If physical or mental illness prevents you from doing your job, that's what disability insurance is for.

I agree with that. Then again, I live in a very strong employment-at-will state. You can legally be fired without cause unless you're under contract. You can be fired with cause so long as it's a legitimate cause.

My company can say "it's just not working out" and fire me on the spot. They don't need an action plan. However, it's a big corporation, so they make an action plan. They also create a ton of little responsibilities here and there that are easy to screw up even for the highly diligent, so if they want you gone for cause, it's fairly easy. My manager can put me on a terrible class that will screw up my numbers and then restrict my hours because of poor numbers, and then put me on an action plan for lousy numbers and going under on hours.

If you have a competent HR department, you should be able to trim dead wood pretty easily. Create a few rules about how things must be documented precisely that are very nitpicky and take maybe 1-2 hours per week to do properly, but generally grade your employees only on other stuff. The sort of employee that does all that stuff is usually already not the problem. The sort of employee that is great but doesn't do it gets ignored. The employee you dislike gets called on it every time, and generates a healthy report of bad conduct: grounds for termination.
   68. CrosbyBird Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4311706)
Dunno. I wouldn't at all doubt that HW has dealt with depression. There are, of course, different degrees of severity. I've had it bad at times (with occasional detours into bipolar disorder, which needless to say is its own special experience); sounds like you've had it even worse, & possibly more often.

Sure, that's true. That's why I said "sends the message" rather than "proves."

I figured out how to deal with it in my career. I have a significant distance from management; if I put up good numbers, they generally ignore me. There's practically no dress code (or at least enforced dress code), so if I don't shave for a week because I can't be bothered to, nobody notices. I make my own schedule for most of the week and I generally don't work mornings (where the depression is worst). I am treating my mild ADD and the stimulant creates some artificial physical motivation just by nature of being a stimulant.

I also found that keeping busy really, really helps, but only if the thing I'm busy with is something I really enjoy. I could not be successful in a job that I didn't love.
   69. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4311725)
Yeah -- sounds like a pretty decent setup. Mornings are indeed the worst for me (as is indeed the case when I'm not dealing with being depressed), but avoiding them at the workplace hasn't been an option for me since the end of my night city editor days in Little Rock way back when. (Well, except for that 1 1/2 years of unemployment from 12/82-6/84, which had its own drawbacks.) Oh, well.

At least I'm lucky enough to, as you say, be doing something I enjoy -- screwing with other people's words.
   70. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4311730)
At least you don't think you're a mongoose


and a spectral, talking mongoose at that!
   71. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4311735)
At least, I guess, I can say I've been on the cover of the Fortean Times.

(Note to self: Devote self to coming up with very odd revamp of Dr. Hook's "The Cover of the Rolling Stone." Where are bands like the Notsensibles now that I need them?)
   72. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4311738)
I was told shortly after getting my current dead end job almost 11 years ago that the only way I could ever be fired was if I physically assaulted the director and then refused to take counseling, but not simply the former. I'm sure its tended towards liberalism enough over my tenure to have added a third step in there as well.

FTR, I do not equate mental illness with general incompetence, but at some point the rights of one's coworkers/customers has to Trump the rights of a supposedly aggrieved employee. See the case of McDonalds being successfully sued by a former employee for wrongful dismissal because she wouldn't wash her hands.
   73. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4311741)
crosby

i am not built to share but i know of what you speak. my outlet was killing people. luckily i was in the war and it was approved behavior. it was also the reason that i was assessed as a 'borderline sociopath'

upon my return i married someone who is very tolerant (massive understatement) and the hard physical labor of farming plus working as a field foreman kept me engaged. i didnt' work 20 hours a day because i was superhero. i did it so that there might be a chance i might get an hour of sleep. that and of course the gin. over time it has gotten better.

i know of what you speak.
   74. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4311746)
My hat's off to you, HW.

Well, if I ever wore one, it would be.

(Note to self: Add Harv to long list of "people who could undoubtedly beat my ass to a pulp if they felt like it.")

   75. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 28, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4311749)
hard physical labor of farming


Unfortunately very few modern vets have this option, whereas it was a relatively common occupation after WWI & II.
   76. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4311758)
gef

unnecessary. the person who gets the credit is my wife. 57 years married in december. known her since i was 14. that's 65 years. you want daft, she is daft.

lucky for me
   77. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4311764)
cold

on a vaguely related note whenever there was a troublesome male member of the family (my young brother-in-law, nephews, grandsons) they got sent to my farm to the summer to work. i paid them of course. but they 'worked'.

they all turned out all right. though that likely would have happened anyway.

you will be amused to know that when that topic comes up the recurring themes are the greatness of my wife's cooking and what a sob i was. but my boys are always quick to add that whomever was a summer visitor was lucky because he got to leave come early september. my boys got me year round.

ha, ha.
   78. CrosbyBird Posted: November 28, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4311798)
i am not built to share but i know of what you speak. my outlet was killing people. luckily i was in the war and it was approved behavior. it was also the reason that i was assessed as a 'borderline sociopath'

I don't want you to think that I was making assumptions about your experiences; I was really just noting that the language you used sent a pretty trivializing message and giving you the opportunity to clarify. I think it's also the sort of language that discourages so many people from getting the help they need, or even just being understood by their social network. I've cultivated a very strong talent for casual lying because depression is so stigmatized (and it remains one of the reasons I don't post under my real name, because it allows me to talk about it frankly without risk of discovery).

upon my return i married someone who is very tolerant (massive understatement) and the hard physical labor of farming plus working as a field foreman kept me engaged. i didnt' work 20 hours a day because i was superhero. i did it so that there might be a chance i might get an hour of sleep. that and of course the gin. over time it has gotten better.

I totally get that. If you're working so hard physically that you pass out when it's over, there's not much time for self-contemplation. Depression is definitely in part an idle (not lazy, just idle) man's disease, and I strongly suspect that we're seeing it more in the mainstream because our lifestyles allow for more idleness. I'm not making some sort of statement about the morality of hard work: I would not say that idleness causes depression so much as lack of idleness covers up depression. (It's good that we have the luxury of less demanding jobs, especially physically, and it allows us to address other problems that previously were ignored.)

Also, I'm glad it got better for you. I mean, it's better for me right now because I love my job and I have a better understanding of what's happening. And while it isn't my serious poison, I completely get the anesthetic properties of alcohol.
   79. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4311809)
crosby

you and morton with the language. jiminy

i am exasperated that my companies have employees who apparently can work on a sporadic basis and the organizations are hamstrung to do anything. that's not right. that is the sum total of my message

but i also think this whole jabberwocky about personal issues veers too much into wallowing.

but based on 'coaching' from my wife i work to keep that sentinment to myself

mostly
   80. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: November 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4311875)
For what it's worth, I didn't take any of Harvey's posts as "deal with it yourself". I took them as "It's real, get professional help, do whatever you need to do to get healthy. But don't tell me about it once a day."

Anyway, I don't know what a fair balance is. At a high level, people have to be able to do their jobs. If you have a manual labor job and you get hurt, you might never be able to do your job again. If you have a mental illness, maybe you can't do the job that you used to do. If a pitcher blows out his shoulder and can't get guys out, he won't get a new contract. Of course it's only fair to have a recovery period and I think that's such a fuzzy thing with mental illness.
   81. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 28, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4312007)
i am exasperated that my companies have employees who apparently can work on a sporadic basis and the organizations are hamstrung to do anything.

Reasonably regular attendance is usually deemed an essential qualification for most jobs, but plaintiff's attorneys & the EEOC have introduced enough wiggle room that it can be messy. Harveys situation and the one described in #27 seem to be cases where HR is going a long way to avoid a potential complaint, grievance or lawsuit that the employer would probably eventually win. Drawing the line on that sort of thing can be a problem in a lot of contexts, including trying to reasonably accommodate mental disabilities. Perhaps management needs to talk to HR about its risk tolerance.
   82. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4312016)
#81 yes although it can also be the case (and I'm not saying it is in Harvey's or anyone else's situation here) where HR knows it has exposure if a lawsuit is filed, even if the employee is not being wrongfully terminated. i.e. the supervisor who makes inappropriate sexual jokes at the office may have nothing to do with why Jane doesn't show up for work on time, but you really don't want to have to take case that to court/arbitration. A well-run organization shouldn't have those problems, but many are not well run.
   83. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4312025)
I would also say that I think it's a good thing that someone like Greinke came out and talked about his issues. This is not a mental health issue exactly, but I was recently diagnosed with a mild form of epilepsy and was extremely guarded about discussing it with others, especially at work, where I was concerned that people would question my ability to manage the workload/stress of the job. Even on a forum like this where I am anonymous, I've still had reservations posting about it.

As I did begin to discuss it with a few people who needed to know, however, I was surprised at how many of them had similar health issues that they were keeping under wraps, presumably for the same reason. One guy had a heart attack and didn't tell anyone (although we all suspected it when he had an unscheduled 2-week vacation). That gave me the courage to talk about it more openly, which has been a big relief. It's not like I made an announcement at work, but I also am not obsessively hiding it from my friends in the fear that word might get around the office. Anything that decreases the stigma around these issues is a good thing in my opinion.
   84. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:41 PM (#4312053)
This is the wrong thread and the wrong place for me to see it. Particularly since I've been fortunate enough to have my own issues spelled out in ink like Greinke. :)

It needs to be stated that "getting help" isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. Trying to get help is extremely important, but finding something that actually does 'help' is not an easy process.
   85. depletion Posted: November 29, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4312092)
CrosbyBird, sounds like you have a very good gig.
get the help you need and there you go

There is no royal road to mathematics, or sanity for that matter.
We just deal with it best we can, because, for us, there really is no cure. So the day goes, as Greg Luzinski perched near the line but facing toward center to offset his momentous sloth, a small step here, a step back there. Get the absolutely mandatory things done (breathing, taxes). In the long run, we're all dead. And all those missed opportunities, they're never coming back so you can't do anything about them anyway.

I gotta go check my winning powerball number.

Regards,
Tim
   86. CrosbyBird Posted: November 29, 2012 at 01:54 AM (#4312109)
CrosbyBird, sounds like you have a very good gig.

Once two important things happened, it became really fantastic. The first was accepting that it was perfectly acceptable to do this rather than use my law degree. (Basically, to stop punishing myself for not practicing after spending so much money on school.) The second was recognizing the long-term financial possibilities. There's potential to make over $300k/year in private tutoring if you work exclusively for yourself (I don't do that YET), which I wouldn't have believed a few years ago.
   87. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4312231)
There's potential to make over $300k/year in private tutoring if you work exclusively for yourself


Note to self: Explore remunerative possibilities of offering services as tutor on subjects of horror movies, anarchism, paranormal, American Basketball Association, comics, Philip K. Dick, H.P. Lovecraft.
   88. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4312394)
Good article. I also don't agree that Josh Hamilton is a risk to sign because of "addiction issues". My experience with others who were drug users is that if they've stopped for years, and moved away from the other users they once hung out with, there is an extremely low likelihood of remission. The fact that Josh had some alcohol during last season and didn't get in a bar fight, miss a game, get a DWI, or any other such mayhem, indicates that he is over his old problems.
That's not how most theories of treatment see the issue of relapse.

It doesn't indicate he was over his old issues--if he was 'over' his old issues, he wouldn't have used. What's a good sign is that he didn't fall into a pattern of relapse, and that does suggest he's a decent bet as a ballplayer.

An alcoholic with five years sobriety has something like a 50-50 chance of staying sober for the rest of his life. I'm optimistic about Hamilton's chances, but he isn't over anything.

i imagine some of this is generational but i have endured depression and the issues associated with it but unlike my oldest daughter and now many others i didn't spend a lot of time talking about and seeming to wallow in the diagnosis.
No, you're just wallowing in the lush, carpeted womb of your own sense of superiority. I ran into this nonsense at times when I was counseling, people who thought all depression and abuse were essentially the same. Most of them were able to grasp that they aren't, in the same way that all cancer is not the same.

Some depression is in response to specific events, like the death of a loved one. Some depression is in response to the chronic, daily sexual and physical violence wrought on children, which changes both the brain's wiring and its response to all manner of stimuli. Some is the result of an inborn or innate chemical imbalance, and requires an entirely different approach. Some of those imbalances are easily corrected, and some are essentially intractable, requiring years of trial and error, and often the slow adjustments possible through, say, cognitive therapy.

And what Matt Clement said in 5, and Voros in 84, and other posters throughout this very interesting thread.

I find posters that can't just make their case and quit really annoying. Surely you don't have to spend a lot of time talking about it and wallowing in the feelings of self-righteousness?

My favorite parts of the thread:

get the right help. see the right people. but why all the constant noise about it? that's why greinke was my kind of guy. he kept it private. dealt with it on his own. as it should be.

i don't know why an employer should be kept in limbo. why is that ok? why is disability not an option? why am i just told, to use the vernacular of the day, 'deal'?
Try listening to yourself some time.



LTD typically covers 2 years for same-job disability, and indefinite if you can't perform any job. So, if you're a ditch digger and you hurt your back, or an bond trader who can no longer cope with the stress, you get two years to find another trade. If you're completely disabled, you have an income. That seems fair to me.
I don't know if this is the fairest possibility, but it certainly seems reasonable on its face.

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