WATFORD CITY, N.D. - After two rounds of layoffs, Ellen Wagner still had a job - training the programmers brought in from India to replace her co-workers. Frustrated and tired of resisting the changes, Wagner decided to take a bold step. She outsourced herself.
She quit her job in Seattle and took another paying half as much. She sold her house and traded it for a split-level overlooking a pasture here, for a third of what it would cost in the frenzy she left behind.
She piled into an SUV with her golden retriever and two cats and beelined away from the offshoring trend that has siphoned thousands of white-collar jobs from the U.S. economy. The journey took Wagner to this town of 1,435 - a self-dubbed "oasis on the western horizon," nearly 50 miles from the closest traffic light - and a job in an office fashioned out of an old John Deere tractor dealership. The slate blue cubicles around hers, decorated with pictures of faraway skylines, house programmers from Chicago, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, Fla.