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John's colleague told him he didn't belong. It was just what he needed to hear

John Moe is a writer and host of the podcast <em>Depresh Mode with John Moe.</em>
John Moe
John Moe is a writer and host of the podcast Depresh Mode with John Moe.

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series from the Hidden Brain team about people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.


In the early 1990s, John Moe moved to Seattle to follow his dream of becoming a writer or an actor. Instead, he found himself working full-time in customer service at a software company.

"It wasn't anything fun," Moe said.

And that's because, at the same time, Moe was dealing with undiagnosed depression that devastated his confidence.

"So I just had this inherent belief that other people got to do the cool things," he said. "And I had to go get a job that I hated and work there until I died."

His coworker, Jane, worked in HR and thought Moe had a lot more potential than he was giving himself credit for. She also knew about his other work in theatre and comedy.

"And she said, 'You don't belong here. You're meant to do something else. You should be making your living being creative,'" John recalls.

Jane told Moe of a vacancy at her husband's company that needed a creative person.

"And I said, 'Oh, OK. So you want to know if I can think of anybody creative?' And she's like, 'No, no. I mean you,'" Moe said.

Moe not only got the job, he went on to make a name for himself in the industry. Today, he is a published writer with a new book out called The Hilarious World of Depression.

He is also the host of Depresh Mode with John Moe, a mental health podcast that promises no shame or stigma.

He credits the pep talk Jane gave him, as well as the confidence she had in him when it was hard for him to see it for himself.

To this day, he makes sure to follow Jane's example by going out of his way to tell someone they are good at something, especially if they are not giving themselves credit for it.

"Because maybe they haven't been told that enough times," Moe said. "And that's going to give them the confidence to get to the next level ... and they can tell somebody else at some later point, you know, 'You have this in you. You can do this.'"

To share the story of your unsung hero with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laura Kwerel