Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
ReformedFelonForHire.com – High quality software skills, at a competitive price (reformedfelonforhire.com)
286 points by FelonForHire 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 161 comments

OP: Put your plea at the top to get the attention of people; "Unemployed family man ran out of money". Also, regarding interviews, if you're very transparent with people they can usually find a way past what turns up in your background check.

To HN: Another felon here:

One of the hardest things is living with this label. There's such a stigma around it. My offense is much different than OP, but it still sucks.

People seem to think "one a felon, always a felon" — which, in some cases is very true, but for every repeat customer of the courts there are 10 people who commit felonies once or twice and never do it again and go on to lead otherwise normal lives.

I agree, this current order suggests he's a felon first and foremost then the rest of the page says "well I'm actually all these great things too, but they come after the fact that I'm a felon." People might believe that the felon first hierarchy is the one that really matters (and they could be right in many scenarios - even this one) but he isn't doing himself any favors by being the first to suggest it.

Good point, I put that first because that's going to be the biggest question in people's mind so I wanted to answer it up-front and move on to what I can offer them.

Got a spelling error on your portfolio: "techical articles"

Thanks, fixed it.

> People seem to think "one a felon, always a felon"

I'm not sure that's what is really going on, regardless of what people say. People have no problem doing business with known frauds, criminals and bad actors, from the CEO who cheated their co-founder to Wall Street banks to many, many more. Will nobody do business with Travis Kalanick again? The banks who sold the shady mortgage-backed securities that caused the Great Recession? There was a story the other day about prominent scientists who committed massive fraud and hardly suffered dents in their careers. Pete Carroll committed many violations of NCAA rules and ethics when coaching U. of Southern Cal football; he became a professional football coach and nobody talks about not trusting him; it seems to have had no impact on his reputation. Another example is the Catholic Church's systematic sexual abuse of children on a global scale; did everyone stop going to Catholic churches? Stop doing all business with them? I could go on forever.

It's hard to put my finger on the formula, but it seems to have something to do with being on the inside, 'one of ours' or the old boy network, compared with being an outsider.

(To avoid any doubt, I think the exclusion of former felons from employment is wrong. Once they've served their time, it's done. Employers shouldn't be allowed to ask with only a few exceptions (e.g., former bank robbers shouldn't be bank security guards).)

That's a bit of a false equivalency. That's like saying why not drop out of college? Bill Gates did and he turned out fine.

Those positions are not a dime-a-dozen. For the regular working person, being a felon is a very heavy weight to carry and it immediately discredits or otherwise disqualifies many people, where they rarely have a chance to even have their story heard.

I have been sitting here wondering if the guy who made this website is a person of color that he couldn't get his felony downgraded and keeps being rejected after people learn of his crime of felony flashing -- which is only a felony because it's a second offense. The first offense is only a misdemeanor.

(Watch that second step. It's a doozey.)

I get that there's a slippery slope element here and no one wants to say "Sure, flash people all you like! It's only a misdemeanor forever, no matter how many times you do it."

And I get that it's additionally problematic that he flashed a minor. But 17 year olds are kind of a gray zone.

I just feel like some element of the story is missing here and I find myself wondering if that element is racism, in part because I know the criminal justice system in the US basically practices systemic racism of the worst kind.

I wouldn't hire him to work at a high school, but come on. Why is he still unemployed after two years over what must be one of the most minor offenses you can commit to be charged with a felony?

Well first of all I think regardless of whether it's a minor offense relative to other offenses, my crimes did a lot of real and possibly long-lasting damage to some teenage girls and their families. And I think the fact that when you google my name a bunch of newspaper articles come up with reiterate this and force it on the front of people's mind, that doesn't do me any favors. I've tried contacting those newspapers to ask for the articles to be taken down so I can have a better chance at getting a job, but I can't find a phone number where I can talk to anyone at those newspaper companies who even has the ability to take such a request.

I appreciate that you have come to understand that any sex crime, no matter how minor, can do (and typically does) terrible psychological harm to the victim and anyone close to them. And you absolutely need to not ever do it again.

But I'm a 52 year old woman who was molested and raped as a child and who spent years in therapy over that. I have read enormous amounts about what I would term human sexual morality and spent enormous amounts of time contemplating it. I also blog about such topics at times.

As a woman, I have been on the receiving end of male sexual interest essentially my entire life. I have met damn few men who really get it right in all the particulars, at all times. Men who are otherwise perfectly well behaved can turn into assholes when they have had a couple of drinks. Men who otherwise get it right can err on the side of avoiding a woman in order to hide their attraction to her (or simply worried about rumor and innuendo, even if they aren't personally attracted) in situations where this can close doors for her career-wise.

I recently got off the street after 5.7 years of sleeping in a tent and I am still struggling to make ends meet. That last one above really sticks in my craw at this point.

When the rest of the entire world can figure out how to get over its sexism enough to stop saying "Meh, not my problem that this woman (or any woman) can't eat. God forbid that anyone should think I like her in that way. Better to just keep walking. Not my problem." then I will maybe consider frying you for flashing someone.

But I assure you, the world isn't there yet. It has a lot of growing up to do in that regard.

Thanks so much for sharing this. HN needs many more points of view than devs at desks. I hope everything works out well for you.

I think there's a difference between crimes for which we empathise with the motivation, and crimes for which we don't.

If he got caught selling heroin or murdered his wife after she left him, we could understand why he did that - he wanted money, he was very upset and did the wrong thing, etc. - but in the case of flashing, I think the motivation is a black box to most people. Not understanding why he did it makes it hard to predict whether he'll do it again, or what else he'll do, because it throws his whole decision-making process into doubt.

In the US, anything sexual is a big deal, often to a much greater degree than it needs to be.

It may be doing him no favors that at the exact same time that he is job hunting following this conviction, we have movements like #MeToo. There is something of a hang 'em high attitude nationwide currently, plus some people who don't know where to draw the line -- because the line has moved/is continuing to move -- are erring on the side of extreme caution. This is, in some cases, going bad places because, for example, some men are declining to hire attractive women for fear of being sued.

The impulse to expose your genitals to a teenage girl is pretty mind-bogglingly disgusting. And it didn't just happen once. It happened TWICE. This man has 5 kids. How on earth would he feel if some grown man did that to one of his own children?

You are moving the goal posts here. He didn't do it to one of his own children. Obviously, that would be an incestuous act, which is far, far worse than flashing a stranger who is nearly an adult and potentially could be mistaken for an adult.

When I was 17, I was 5'9" tall and people absolutely mistook me for an adult at times. For that matter, at age 14, I was 5'7" and, while at the mall babysitting a 7 year old, was once asked if I wanted to sign up for a department store credit card.

I haven't seen the particulars of his crime. I don't even know if he knew her age before exposing himself or if he only learned of that in the course of the trial.


15 year old girls don't look like grown women.

As stated above, I was being mistaken for an adult when I was a 14 year old girl.

You do not need to hire this man. You also don't need to shit all over his attempts to put his life back together.

He has stated that his therapist sees him as not at risk of reoffending.

Edit: I will add that I believe I have spoken to this same individual before and I politely chided him at that time because I felt he was being a butt and, no, was not reformed. He's not being a butt today, here, in this thread. I think he finally got the memo that sneering at societal mores is a good way to make sure you and your kids starve.

> mind-bogglingly

If it's so mind-boggling then people can say that they don't understand it, maybe even ask questions to try to grasp it. But I feel we should leave out the judgement about something that we don't understand - it's very ironic to say 'I'm completely ignorant' and in the next sentence pass judgment on someone else - and about other commenters, which is not appropriate at all.

People seem to think that a conviction licenses them to act out on the self-righteous anger that humans seem to carry around.

What did Pete Carroll do at USC that was unethical?


And a more opinionated take here: https://www.bruinsnation.com/2010/7/14/1568922/pete-carroll-...

This is not to mention the various times Carroll’s Seahawks have forfeited draft picks for violating off season practice rules.

The only bad thing there was having a consultant break a rule (they're allowed to watch the team's games, they're allowed to make suggestions to the coaching staff, but they're not allowed to make suggestions to the coaching staff based on what they saw during the games). That's one of those minor secondary violations on par with how it was ok to give a student-athlete a bagel, but a bagel with cream cheese is an impermissible benefit. The most important differentiator for coach vs consultant is whether or not they interact with players, which didn't happen.

There's pretty minimal evidence that Pete Carroll knew about Reggie Bush's improper benefits. The NCAA just admitted last week that their main piece of evidence against the coaching staff (a one minute phone call) was "factually incorrect". Their report misrepresented when the call occurred and who made the call. The connection to the coaching staff was already tenuous at best, and I think the ongoing Todd McNair trial is only going to reinforce that.

> but for every repeat customer of the courts there are 10 people who commit felonies once or twice and never do it again

No, there aren't. Actual recidivism rates for felons are much higher, > 50% reconconvicted within 5 years of release from prison. There simply aren't ten 1-2 time felons for every serial felon.

You need to take into account that multi-recidivist will be released multiple times, biasing the statistics.

I don't know what's the recidivism rates after the first release from prison, but if someone know how to get this info, I think it would be interesting.

It turns out that this seems to be correct and that even though the 0-4 prior offense category still has over 50% reconconvicted after a year, even that segment is distorted by the repeat offenders, and that the 10:1 claim I rejected upthread, though I can't find direct support for it, mis plausible (one study found an 8:1 of one-and-out to repeats for first offenders; if that's right, 10:1 for 1-2 lifetime offenses vs. greater number of repeats is probably accurate or understated.)

Op, while I hope you manage to land a gig, I'll be a bit critical here and say that your webpage/resume could use a fair bit of work.

1. You have zero links to projects or things you've worked on (even if it is a simple calculator app). If you're so fluent in all the languages you listed, surely, you must have some projects to showcase? Hardly anyone is going to make the effort of sending an email to your listed email address to inquire about your portfolio, but they are far more likely to send you a note if they browsed through your work and liked what they saw.

2. You refer to a fair amount of front-end skills, yet your site has a very 90s look and feel. While that may have been intentional, it just feels like a lack of skills due to the jarring aesthetics. You can make a minimal blog/website while still having decent aesthetics.

3. Your content has a bit of a cheesy infomercial vibe to it. I feel like you could make the same points without trying so hard. Focus more on the content, your skills and making a good professional impression while being upfront about your criminal history.

4. While I understand that you made a conscious decision to maintain your anonymity when making your webpage, it seems a bit counter to what your site is trying to do. It's hard for a would be employer to make the effort to get in touch with you when there is no name or face to ascribe to you, and your contact email is a made up one. Your site seems to be your effort to own your situation and turn things around, but withholding any information about yourself feels a bit counter to that. That being said, I can understand why you may want to choose to remain anonymous.

Good luck!

1. I do have a portfolio but was a bit nervous to post it publicly on this website considering that opens me up publicly to scorn and wrath of anyone and everyone who is (rightfully) offended by my crimes. Either way, I've added it to the site.

2. True, I wrote this website in a rush. I copied the HN color scheme and decided to stick with that considering I only posted the link here. But valid point.

3. By putting the emphasis on what you get out of hiring me, I tried to avoid looking like I'm complaining.

4. Very good point. I've added my portfolio to the site. Sincerely hope this decision doesn't come back to bite me.

That's a scary step, but FWIW I think adding the portfolio was smart.

All the best man! You have a very impressive portfolio. I know you said you put your site together in a rush, but if you get a chance, I think you'd be helped a ton by making it more inline with your personal site in look and feel, and also putting up some cards for your best projects (in the way they are displayed on your personal site).

better delete this comment as you mixed up your accounts

No I did it intentionally. I can't reply under the other account (rate limited) and since I put my portfolio up, which already gives away my identity, I may as well just stop being anonymous. This may be a stupid decision, who knows. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I need a job.

I'd like to echo what diminoten said - this was a passing interest for me at best. I didn't even bother to click your portfolio link. Then I read diminoten's comment and went back to check out your portfolio. I did a 180-degree change of mind.

I wonder if you should highlight your portfolio on your ReformedFelonForHire site more. Taking the anonymity out of it and displaying your skills definitely made me reconsider.

Good luck.

I'll put it this way: this went from being a passing thought in my mind to being blown out of the water impressed by the volume and quality of your work. I'm not in a position to hire you, but actually seeing your portfolio flipped me 180 degrees on my feelings about this post.

Phew, reading that was a little relief from this nightmare. Thanks for the encouragement.

Ditto for me. After reading some of your posts, I sent your site to a few people I know that are hiring.

If nothing else your approach has generated visibility and leads.

>1. You have zero links to projects or things you've worked on >2. site has a very 90s look and feel

For the sake of the argument, there is a link to a portfolio web site that looks A-OK.

He added it in after my and other folks' comments. It wasn't up on his site originally.

> Every company is enthusiastic to hire me. But at the background check phase they all retract their offer.

This kinda suggests you weren't honest, or at least up-front, about your conviction. If it gets to the background check phase and they don't already know, you're doing it wrong.

If an employer finds out about that from anyone but you, the answer is _definitely_ going to be no. If they find out from you directly, it's probably still a no, but not definitely.

> We've ran out of unemployment

Grammatical error - may seem like a small thing, but when you're appealing to people in this way, the small things matter a lot. Change to "We've run out of unemployment".

To be honest though, I'm not sure this part of the story is helping your case - it doesn't paint a positive picture, only inspires pity. Maybe I'm wrong about that though - just what I'd be thinking about.

For the first 4 of the past 6 months, I've tried disclosing early (first or second phone call), half-way through, or near the job offer phase. Every single time, without fail, they email back (not even a phone call) with either a generic or very brief message retracting their offer or declining to proceed with the interview process. Smaller companies will simply stop returning my calls and emails, and completely cut off contact regardless of when I tell them. I only started waiting until the background check until I disclose for the past 2 months because I'm getting very nervous about not actually getting a job.

If a company will decline to hire you based on finding out, then there isn't really anything you can do - they will find out one way or another.

If you're being pragmatic about it, you might as well save your time and get rejected from these kinds of companies earlier on in the process, rather than get all the way to the end before having to move on.

The end result is the same.

If a company is rejecting you based on policy, yes. If it's a personal decision based on prejudice against felons (he can't possibly be competent and non-violent), the result is not the same, you have the chance to disprove those prejudices and sell yourself. Since such prejudice is rampant, it may be your best overall chance.

I believe that, aside from specialized fields like bank tellers or people working with children, access to conviction history should be severely restricted - the only point of such info is to facilitate discrimination.

In theory, the debt to society is repaid when the individual exits the penitentiary. In practice, the punishment continues on an ad-hoc, deregulated fashion from private individuals against the most vulnerable segment of the ex-felonry: those with meager material means and education, limited family support and in most desperate need to secure lawful employment. This extended and unequal punishment is a clear violation of the equality before law all citizens should enjoy, that should punish similar acts to the same degree.

Why do you make the distinction for bank tellers and people working with kids?

It could be argued that social consequences of recidivism are so great in some cases (ex. sexual offenses) that it's reasonable to prevent them at all costs, provided the freedom of ex-felons to choose a wide array of other occupations is not impacted significantly.

It would be a great progress from the current status quo, that basically denies them most jobs, even those where the higher than average recidivism risk of ex-felons is immaterial. I would see it as a practical political compromise.

When you apply for banking jobs, there is a question that asks if you were related in any financial-style crime. I think it's mandated by regulation, and the scope is limited to crimes having to do with the profession itself.

The amount of political capital required to undo that law and make criminal histories effectively private would probably be too much, so you do the political compromise and exempt some categories.

Anyone want to bet that future offers will be retracted for the same reason (felony conviction), despite the word in the URL/email address where the recruiter/headhunter/whoever found the contact info, and presumably knowing about it up front?

And when you told them when meeting in person? So after initial screening, but before final background check?

I beg to differ. Although I have no data or experience to suggest one way or another.

I can see how you would want to first be judged on the merit of your skills and then an employer might be willing to make a judgement call in your case, after they have judged your value.

As opposed to your resume being thrown out without even as much as a second thought if you are a convicted felon.

I have plenty of experience here, so I can comment.

I've never had a problem finding a gig even though I'm a felon, but I don't work with BigCorp because that's not my scene (and it's probably harder to market myself as a felon to anyway):

At the end of the initial phone call / screening, I tell them, transparently: "there's no way I can pass a background check by the way"

It has always been well received, even to recruiters and head hunters.

I also have experience with this.

I'd say the industry type and company size matter a great deal. Felons are legally barred from working at any FDIC insured company. So forget banking/finance. Also healthcare will also have stringent background checks. Giant corporations may have policies that immediately skip over you regardless.

I'm not sure how I've made it really. Luck mostly. I'm ten years removed from my arrest and it still comes back to haunt me.

The worst part for me has been finding a place to live. I've even offered to pay annually and up-front.

Danish person here.

How does it work? Will the background check reveal what crime was committed, or just that you are a felon? I could imagine knowing the specific crime could influence the final decision on hiring or not, no?

Arrests, prosecutions, and convictions are a matter of public record. So the specific offense and sentence will turn up in any criminal history background check, unless you are able to get your record sealed or expunged which I think only happens in cases where you were a minor offender and went through the juvenile system, or when a conviction is overturned on appeal or other extenuating circumstances that are fairly unusual.

This is the best advice that I've read here. I can only upvote you once, but I think it would be amazing if OP could read this.

For my company, as with many, we need to know about this stuff up-front. If we make an agreement on the basis of not knowing, then we later find out, there is absolutely no way whatsoever we will _ever_ hire you.

We are a finally regulated company though, so the requirements are perhaps a bit more strict.

If you explain all of this ahead of time - much like this website does - then we can take it into account and there won't be any surprises. For a serious offence, it's probably still going to be a no. For anything fraud or white-collar related, it's going to be a no. But for less serious offences not related to our business, I think we'd be reasonably comfortable.

Seems to me like he was trying that as a strategy at first, realized it was ineffective, and did a perfect 180 by publishing a website with the URL "reformedfelonforhire.com" on which he lists the details of his crime alongside his resume.

There's no good way and/or time to ask the question "Do you guys do background checks that would include my sex offenses?"

I'll go a step further and say the number of companies that will willingly hire someone with a felony sex offense involving minors is essentially 0. Especially when it happened 2 years ago in someone's late 20s/early 30s (guessing based on work experience).

More so now than in the past.

Well shit.

Don't mean to kick you while your down. I figure honest feedback will be helpful.

Now that I've Googled your name and read the articles there's no way. You committed the same crime 4 years apart. The nature of your crime is relatively benign as far as sex offenses go. However, it's such a shocking departure from societal norms it makes me wonder what other inappropriate things you've done without getting caught. As a hiring manager, there's no way I would risk it.

This post was an excellent hail mary attempt and probably your best option for employment.

Your other realistic options are freelancing for people who won't do a background check or develop something you can sell.

Edit to add:

Again, not trying to be mean, but when your picture came up I said "Yep, that looks like a guy who'd expose himself to minors". Grow your hair out, ditch the goatee, find more mainstream outfit, and, most importantly, take the picture inside. In your photo you're squinting and furrowing your brow which makes you look a bit threatening.

"Again, not trying to be mean, but when your picture came up I said "Yep, that looks like a guy who'd expose himself to minors"."

You mean, after knowing about it? That's textbook confirmation bias. Would you have thought he looked like a felon before knowing about his criminal record?

Agreed (as a photographer) on the photo points. Ditch the all-black, and take it inside or shortly after sunset.

Good luck OP.

Thanks for the tips.

dude, much better pic!

Thanks, it's from a few months ago and we dug it up after your suggestions :)

As much as I wish the guy all the best, this is a valid point. From an employer point of view, if I'd find out about conviction (of any kind) from the background check (and not during the hiring process), I'd feel cheated.

Not in a position to hire you but I highly recommend contracting, or presenting as a one man dev agency. People treat signing up with Top Development Pty Ltd much differently to hiring Mr Potential Felon.

When myself and a friend were doing it for a while we were continuously amazed at just how trusting people were. No background information, credential checking, nothing. Just "here you go" and they hand over credentials to all of their core business and customer information to some guys they just met.

We were also charging $90 hour as people who didn't really know what they're doing. I understand you need money right now, but I definitely think this is a route you should consider in the future.

See also 70MillionJobs, a YC company for connecting jobs with employees that have criminal records.


I signed up for that site a month ago and have had absolutely no success finding a job that I qualify for through it.

Good luck, my partner (startup) is a felon. I've known him for 12+ years. Youthful mistakes have followed him longer than he was alive when he got his felony.

Don't be discouraged and keep at it. My state (Oklahoma) removed asking if you have a felony from all state job applications (truly shocking IMO).

I imagine the Koch Brothers follow through on their commitment to "ban the box" (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/koch-brothers-donors-ban-box-...) and not ask about felony convictions in job applications. There are other companies operated by executive teams from across the political spectrum that probably do the same -- maybe you could be hired by one of these companies (?) .

Software systems at times touch sensitive info, and it might be harder to justify hiring a formal felon to work on these (might depend on the nature of the crime), so YMMV.

Good luck to you, I hope you continue to sort out your issues and that you good way to support your family.

"Banning the box" isn't going to do anything if background checks are still legally allowed to find out the same information (felonies, convictions) anyway.

It is completely unfair for felons to be shut out of jobs because of non-violent past mistakes that are ancient history and would not re-occur.

On the other hand, we have no idea who made this page. If they want to be taken seriously and given a chance, they need to be transparent enough to at least tell us who they are, and let us make our own decision on working with them.

And violent past mistakes up to a point. I know someone who punched someone when they were both drunk and the other was harassing his wife, and ended up with a criminal conviction. Never been violent before, and not been violent since (it must be close to a decade ago at this point). It would be absurd if he was completely shut out of jobs due to that one mistake.

Exactly, people change over time and adapt their behaviour to new circumstances. Temporally, one can be a very different person.

Besides, any one of us could commit awful acts given the wrong environment. Stanley Milgram showed us all that much.

I agree that we treat felons extremely poorly.

But as a point of order, I don't think sexual assaults are (or should be) considered as non-violent.

Flashing your wanger at someone passing by isn't really sexual assault though.

I've been flashed by a drunk guy, I gave a surprised chuckle and walked away. My mum was flashed when some weirdo jumped into the back garden and started showing his stuff to her through the kitchen window; she chased him away with a sword.

Neither of us thought for one minute we'd been sexually assaulted, and these instances just became amusing stories. Unfortunately it seems that doing similar in the USA is no laughing matter.

If your typical teenage girl was inclined and legally allowed to carry a sword and wield it against assailants, it's possible I would agree with you. They're not, though, and we should be glad to live in a society where no one needs to and sane people generally don't want to.

The implied threat of potential rape makes flashing a young women at least as violent as a credible threat to beat someone within an inch of their life.

I'm sympathetic to ReformedFelonForHire's situation, and regard this humiliating punishment as extreme, unnecessary and destructive to the fabric of society, but I don't think that means we should minimize the harm of his error.

Yes, you are correct - I hadn't read the story as being one of assault, but perhaps I wasn't thinking it through, and it could/should be seen as such. But discussions and decisions like that are exactly why the details matter.

I disagree, OP should do everything in his power to disconnect the felony with his online persona.

Not a felon, but I do freelancing via /r/forhire on reddit, between 40-60/hour is what I charge generally as an intermediate fullstack dev (php (via laravel) and vue). -- Nobody ever asks for a background check, at least so far, I'm sure upwork and other freelance sites might work as well.. Finding a traditional job will probably be difficult but remote shorter term contracts shouldn't be too hard to find.

Some honest feedback: I want to be clear that it's not a comment on you personally at all; it's perception of a website and, sadly, perception is what matters in this case: I've encountered many hustlers and this website looks like a hustle to me. When you add that the author has been in prison, the situation becomes very dubious. Not everyone will see it that way, obviously, but I'm confident that people with my experience will share my perception. Here's what I see:

(I know I might sound heartless, but that's how the hustles work - make a pitch that you can't deny without looking or feeling like a jerk, and about which you can't be certain so that it's socially awkward to doubt them.)

* The story: Lots of kids, need money for (something urgent and highly sympathetic), not a hustler just an honest person down on their luck ... I've heard it many, many times. One guy told me he had 7 young kids he needed to feed; when I pointed out he appeared to be in his 60s, he said they were someone else's kids; later the number changed to 5.

* The focus on the story rather than the business. It feels like a con, an attempt to jerk my heartstrings, rather than a business proposition.

* The extremely low rate - 'lucky for you that you caught me at a bad time!' Another one I've heard many times. To be taken seriously as a professional, charge a professional rate.

* The incredible list of projects and of promises ("I can pretty much write any software solution you need, in a reasonably short time"), both almost too good to believe.

I could go on for awhile. Given your background, IMHO you need to be very careful to appear to be professional and not a hustler at all. Otherwise, at best it doesn't look like you understand the professional world. At worst, it's a hustle by an ex-con.

Again, I'm not saying you are hustling anyone, I'm saying you risk that perception.

When I used to do independent contract software jobs, I never recalled any background checks being done. When people hire a plumber, they don't do background checks either. Presenting yourself as a company vs an employee can be helpful in this situation.

Have you thought of doing odesk style work or other remote contracts to pay the bills?

At first, I thought this was a service for connecting felons to jobs. I always thought that'd be an awesome idea, especially if some sort of job training could be set up (jail is SUPPOSED to be for rehabilitation, right?)

Anyway, best of luck with your job search.

You seem very transparent about this, so forgive me if this is too forward - do you face difficulties being on the sex offendeder list with attending events for your children? I.e school plays or whatever.

> jail is SUPPOSED to be for rehabilitation, right?

The prison I volunteered in, there was a classroom full of computers, but the inmates weren't trusted to use them. There was some discussion of a "paper-based" computer-science course.

As a convicted felon, and someone working to help returning citizens find employment opportunities, several pieces of advice:

1) Look into the Federal Bonding Program. This may help some smaller employers overcome fears of working with you. Everyone qualifies and it is free for the employer and job seeker.

2) Be ready to take any position at any rate. You may even consider finding non-developer jobs for the time being, at least until at little more time has passed since your conviction/release. I can't emphasize how powerful it can be to build trust again with employers. Working a warehouse job where you show up everyday, work hard, and always go the extra mile, even if you only do it for six months or a year, can be a powerful step to getting bigger, better jobs. You can always do consulting, freelance work on the side to keep your skills up.

3) Unfortunately for you sex offenses are tough to overcome and even harder to convince employers to hire you for. Your inability to travel out of state with ease, plus other restrictions associated with the registry, can make hiring decisions for sex offenders difficult. Your best bet is to aim for small, local employers or remote contract work. Possibly even starting your own business.

4) Your web page comes across as downplaying the severity of your offenses or as if they were just little mistakes. No offense, but this was a thought out sex crime. While they may be minor crimes, in the eyes of many any sex offense is a major red flag. Even more so when those crimes center around child sex offenses. I would work on getting letters of recommendation from influential people in your life. Your therapist, pastor/priest, probation officer, etc... Let potential employers know that you have these letters instead of just saying that "Everyone I know agrees I'm a different person".

5) Personally, I would avoid the paragraphs of what other offers you received. While you say "competitive rate", you flaunt the offer amounts and you don't mention what that competitive rate is. As a potential employer I may be skeptical that you are looking for a salary around those numbers.

With that said, I will put feelers out to my contacts to see if anyone is looking for a programmer with your skills.

Good luck!

Agreed. definitely remove that whole "highly sought after" section

Can you work as a contractor? Generally, you shouldn't have to provide a background check if you're just contracting your services.

I'm not sure if it's relevant, but my mind keeps coming back to it, which means it's probably throwing other people for a loop, too. I doubt the confusion would stop anyone from hiring you, but I can't help but wonder:

What were the two offenses? I see the one that's cited. I'm not clear on whether that's the first one, or the second one. Or were they both the exact same offense? Was the cited one the 'worst' of the two? Was the first one just shoplifting some gum? Again, I don't really know if it's relevant, but I kept re-reading the statement trying to parse it, and couldn't.

He has one felony. That felony is for his second time flashing someone.

I've been flashed before. I found it an odd mixture of WTF and amusing.

Weird that the US deems it necessary to jail people for months just for some surprise nudity. Cultural differences, I suppose.

Fun American Puritanism Trivia:

The European version of I, Robot shows Will Smith taking a shower so the audience can both learn he has a prosthetic limb and also see the extent of his prosthesis. It happens to include a shot of his butt.

Or so I gather. As an American, I have not actually seen this shower scene because the US version cut that scene as too risqué, requiring them to find some other (less effective, less natural, more awkward) means to inform the audience that the character has a prosthetic arm and the prosthesis reaches well down into his rib cage.

I would take a risk on him as a remote employee. But no way would I be willing to take a risk for an on site position. Especially with #MeToo

OP maybe you should focus on remote jobs and be transparent upfront?

He's hirable. I'm not sure about the other companies, but would take a guess that a big name company like Goldman or Expedia wouldn't take the chance with him before #metoo, not to mention now.

Offtopic a bit (too late for this to be relevant to OP, but I am curious nonetheless) and not very popular probably, but why 6 kids? I am aware that some people are just really bad at planning (never learned how to?), but OP is a programmer so he can lookup facts and knows how to do statistics. A quick Google search shows that raising 1 child to 18 y/o costs $233k now in the US, let's say you can bundle resources a bit, so assume raising 6 children to 18 y/o costs a little over $1m without doing crazy stuff (long, lavish vacations etc). That is going to exclude the more extreme health issues I really hope OP will never have to deal with, but, statistically, based on number of children and genetic properties / lifestyle choices of the parents should be considered. I am really curious how it seems a good idea or plan to have 6 kids instead of, say, 2 (or 0 if you are financially not sure if things will ever be ok) when you are not considered rich (enough to catch hick-ups like the one for very long periods) in this day and age? Again, I'm asking this not in general, but of someone who clearly has an analytical brain.

It can be nice to have more time with babies and the other stages (they do grow quickly, you know) and it's also fun for siblings to have each other. Considering people ignore financial realities in all kinds of spectacular ways, ending up with a bunch of kids isn't too hard to imagine.

I agree, that's why I was asking it from someone with, maybe, some analytical rational. With the reason your provided being absolutely viable, just not my experience. Anecdotally, my friends all did the calculations and planned kids, houses etc based on those calculations. So I am wondering how someone who is aware of this goes that far and then gets in a position where he has to ask for help. It is sad (I do not believe he should have been put in prison, but he should've gotten mental help right off the bat, imho), but one can ask the question. Maybe it is good to say that it is absolutely weird in my neck of the woods to have more than 2-3 kids. Everyone will look at you like you are a religious nut, so that probably plays into my curiosity.

I feel for you, being convicted of a sex offense makes you persona non grata in the US. If nothing works you can freelance via Upwork, it can pay OK for US workers.

Hey OP, base on my personal experience, almost every company I spoke w/ back east did a background check. It's much less common in California, at least w/ startups & smaller companies.

Also, try putting your resume on Dice.com. Specify some geographic regions you'd consider relocating to, as well as the fact that you're willing to work remotely. You'll have to filter through a lot of junk communication, but it's worked well for me in the past when I was in a pinch.

Also, when talking to the company, here's one way to be sneaky about your background. Apply to every job twice, once with your real profile, and once w/ a similar, but not identical profile. With the 2nd profile, if and only if the company gets back to you, just say you got a DUI about 5 years ago, and have been sober ever since, but some employers have rejected you because of that, so you'd like to know if they do background checks. It might be seem shady, and maybe it is, but it's not your fault company's spend so much time wasting your time, so you gotta do what you gotta do to put your energy where it will get results.

Good luck!

I feel this is an important subject. I to have recently become a felon as well. Finding reasonable employment after the fact is a constant de-motivating battle. I have been working the ops side of things for over 10 years for large well known companies such as Edward Jones, Yahoo, and GoDaddy. I made a series of stupid decisions within a 3 hour period while having an argument with an ex girlfriend over text messages (never any violence, threats, etc). I decided to be vindictive with her, troll her, be a dick continuously out of anger. Needless to say, I broke the law and it came down hard on me. I have never had any issues with the law in the past, and this was my only run in with the law. I was indicted on 12 charges, 8 of them felonies, further more the prosecutor claimed that there was aggravating circumstances which allows them to charge me as a repeat offender because a few of the crimes took place on multiple days (violating a court order by texting my ex girlfriend.)

Of the 12 charges I had to sign for 3 felonies to avoid going to prison over being a troll to my ex girlfriend, the worst part is if I had beat her within an inch of her life I would have been in less trouble. Unfortunately that's not my MO or in my character at all. So now I am an engineer with over 10 years of great work history with 3 felonies for Computer Tampering, Harassment, and Stalking (In AZ this is Harassment + Fear of property being damaged) charges.

I was no doubt guilty, and I don't try to minimize my crimes and stupidity, but I am highly annoyed that I will have to be judged by this over and over again long after a judge already did at sentencing.... There are companies that claim to work with people for a second chance but I personally have never seen this during my job search.

Nothing more fun than becoming a felon at 35 :/

Put you resume on a google doc, and share the link here. You do not have to provide personal details, but at least provide more detail on your skills and a contact #. We hire for remote working contract positions from time to time. I would admit that I have second thoughts about this outreach, but there should be hope for everybody!

We do not have something available right now, but requirements do open up. I wish you luck!

I’m curious why you are so focused on working for someone else, when it’s clear that most will not hire you. A friend of mine was raised on the streets of Philadelphia. He was very talented with computers from an early age, but unfortunately nobody would hire him after he pled guilty to a felony as a result of being found with drugs and a gun.

I met him after all of this happened through an Internet marketing forum, where we exchanged ideas for a few years, before working together on several projects. He makes ~$50k/mo working on his own as an affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketing is only a part of my personal business, but I make more just from that than I could if I were a senior engineer at Google or Facebook.

So it’s something you should consider. While you won’t be curing cancer, as a reasonably intelligent programmer, you’ll have a leg up over most others doing it, and you can pretty easily make a very comfortable living. It’s also something you can do on a moonlighting basis even if you do manage to get a job.

OP, the website doesn't specify which part of the country you're looking for work. That may be a good thing to add.

Seems like places that have remote employees would be perfect for hiring reformed felons. If I ever made a company as successful as GitLab I would have no qualms hiring this guy for remote work. Nothing wrong with hiring them for non-remote work, just saying the liability is even lower.

The legal liability is the same.

Yeah I'm talking more from a company incident perspective. Say you have a reformed felon who committed rape. In an on-site position, they may relapse and rape an attractive coworker. However, in the remote case, you can't rape female employees if you don't know where they live.

Does anyone know if it would make a difference if he started a company (ABC Consultants) and then contracted out himself through his company? Seems like that might get around the background check issue.

Unfortunately that's not really doable. A shocking number of contracts specify that the corporation not hire known criminals. I have seen lax ones specifying only that a background check is conducted.

What would the risk be if violating that provision? Breach of contract that may just give the client an out, or something like fraud that may put the contractor in jail?

I would hire the guy if I needed something. I don't see why it matters if the guy used to be a felon previously. Is he going to be violent over some software specs? I very much doubt it.

I mean, you have no reason to suspect he was ever violent. On the other hand, if he flashes women at the office, they'll sue the company. If the company is well known, the press is going to get to that. Anyway, you have shit on your hands. If you are not the owner, just an employee in charge of recruiting, you may even lose your job. It is a bit risky.

But I don't see a problem with hiring the guy to work from home as a contractor.

I wonder if one issue could be the company's fear that the public/clients/etc might latch onto a very narrow context of this gentleman's history like: "x employs sex offenders." It's not fair but when you have other candidates that don't have this stigma why would they even try?

I had a client get quite uppity because we bought their domain name through GoDaddy (i had a guy that went with one of the cheapest, spent their money like it was our own.. etc.) and GoDaddy had just presented risque ad during the Super Bowl. They weren't particularly upset about GoDaddy itself so much as what if someone found out they patronized them. For that particular business, I'd swag a guess that the extra price in switching to Network Solutions plus our time in undoing the damage and "returning" the domain to Go Daddy will be less than what they'd make from the customers they will have had lost that simply will not patronize companies that buy domains from GoDaddy. I don't know. I don't think most users click on the pad lock, let alone explore the certificate chain, let alone do a lot of advanced whois stuff.

I think this poor guy is going to have a rough go of it. Maybe a contracting firm can help provide some insulation. I'll also admit, hearing that it's a bit of a sex crime involving youths (highschoolers are still 'youth') combined with the heightened awareness in the currently climate about sexual harassment and such, it seems a bit scary to take a risk on someone like this. I'd think contracting off site might be the way to go.

i think the site as it is now, is fantastic. actually it’s a refreshingly honest presentation. i think you might actually be undercharging. value is perceived, not absolute.

good luck.

Contracting is probably the best bet for short-term cash. Lower risk and less reason to check background.

If you get contacts from this post but they are hesitant, consider offering to set up an LLC in your wife’s name (assuming the cost in Illinois is not prohibitive). There are probably a few startups or smaller businesses willing to give you a shot given your experience, but given the history they might need the plausible deniability of an abstraction layer.

Given "everyone I know agrees I'm a different person now," it is important to know when the felony was in relation to the 10 years of experience.

It happened 2 years ago.

Well, it seems unlikely that you forgot your professional skills in that time.. good luck!

Damn. I hope someone can give this dude a second chance.

He had a second chance. He did it once and got a misdemeanor and was able to move on with his life. The problem is he decided to do it AGAIN.

Maybe there is an argument for a third chance? But a repeat offender is a repeat offender.

I find the complete lack of scepticism here to be pretty problematic.

reformedfelonforhire.com links to someone's portfolio website.

What evidence is there that these two websites are owned or run by the same person?

The whois both have privacy settings from different companies.

They may be the same person, but surely it's not beyond the realm of possibility that this is someone trying to hurt the reputation of a different person.

Google the owner of the portfolio website. There are news stories about the crime with his name on them.

whois before google! what is wrong with me.

It's definitely me. I spent a ton of effort this morning buying the new domain name and doing everything I can to remain anonymous. I only added the portfolio website after a lot of recommendations here, and kind of gave up my anonymity that way. Only time will tell if it was the stupidest decision.

Presumably an employer would verify identity.

One tiny practical suggestion:

Add some basic CSS to the site such as lightly shaded boxes for paragraphs.

The stark red and black styling defaults on chrome leave an unsettling impression.

As others have commented, your best practical course would be becoming an independent contractor and providing your services remotely.

If you provide your services as SD Consulting LLC it should open a few more doors.

To me the site doesn't work very well, as it mentions two offenses and describes one. It seems evasive; people aren't specifically interested only the crime got you the mandatory felony conviction. It would work better if there is full disclosure as people are going to want to Google you and they're going to find it anyhow.

Sorry, it was worded differently at first and a commenter here (a writer) suggested some edits and I made the changes, but I guess there's been some confusion since then. They were two identical crimes, but they happened about 5 years apart.

That really sucks that you are having so much trouble! I technically have a felony non-violent drug possession charge on my record, but it hasn't caused me any problems since I switched to software from another field.I even got an entry-level position this year.

I was never convicted (No Contest or something similar), am having to go through unsupervised probation (basically I am in big trouble if arrested again but am not bothered at all by probation), and then after another year, it will be cleared from my record.

I don't think I was ever asked to disclose any crimes in any of the applications. Out of a few hundred applications, maybe 5 even mentioned the position was pending passing a background check. I did not disclose this for any job that I applied for, because I did not think it would be found on my record currently, but I now know that I was wrong. Airbnb banned me from their service for my one drug possession charge after redoing my background check (Such utter bullshit, their statement of purpose claims it is at their discretion if they think the crime was bad enough to ban from the service. It was simple nonviolent possession and I don't understand how having that on my record from almost 3 years ago is going to make having me as a guest any more dangerous).

There were two jobs that I thought for sure I had gotten, but did not receive an offer. One didn't write me back for a month before I finally got the information that I wasn't hired out of them. They didn't inform me of any background checks, but they may have completed one anyways. It definitely seemed like their attitude changed completely a week after my onsite.

My current employer did not complete a background check, at least to my knowledge. I am at an extremely small startup. Hopefully nothing ever comes back to byte me in the ass. Obviously nonviolent drug possession should be lowest priority for all offenses that show up (it really shouldn't be a felony to simply possess any drug).

I actually got really sick and didn't know why, couldn't get much help from doctors when I started using opioids to combat the multitude of symptoms. I got caught with an opioid, was never one to get super fucked up in a recreational manner. Instead, I was always trying to simply feel normal enough to make it through my grad school classes. Anyways, found out later I basically have fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue, and I am having better control of my symptoms with medical marijuana and legally prescribed adderal.

Now THIS is a felony that is 100% forgivable. You really, truly did nothing wrong and I hope all is going well for you.

OP on the other hand...

From what I understand reading this thread, OP has a record for showing his junk in public... now I’m not saying it’s okay to be doing this, but it’s not like he actually assaulted or raped anyone either. I’ve seen unsolicited junk before (both male and female), and I’m still here and it hasn’t affected my life in any way; I just laughed it off and forgot about it 5 minutes later. I really don’t think this “crime” warrants a lifelong record, unless the offence was repeated multiple times.

You have to remember this was a crime where the victim was a child. Adults, especially men will have a much different perspective on this. If someone did this to my teenage daughter you better believe I won't be so passive about it.

How old were those children ? There is a difference between a 5 year-old child and a 16 year old “child”.

If you want to walk that line ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You suffer from reading comprehension failure or you replied to a different comment than the one you think you are replying to.

I am glad that you feel that way. It makes me feel a lot better.

Have you considered applying for (remote) jobs outside of the US? At least in Europe background checks are very unusual, although with a unique name maybe even a simple Google search would "out" you :/

(I'm not saying you should be dishonest and lie about your conviction, but if they don't ask then no harm no foul)

Independently of the background checks that European companies might not do, any European government almost certainly knows that he's a felon and would bar entry. That would preclude showing up for an in person interview or ever showing up for a company event.

OP, perhaps you might consider TopTal or similar? I have never worked for them but I hired a few of their guys for several momnths who were very good and they seemed to enjoy it. You might be barred from some kinds of projects but I'd give it a shot regardless.

Thanks. I applied at TopTal about 9 months ago or so, but did not pass their algorithm-heavy coding test. That said, I've passed every other algorithm test and coding test I've been given by other companies. But TopTal has the hardest one by far considering I never went to college for coding and university-style algorithms are not my strong suit.

Why don't you just write you are js developer? Like jsforhire.com? It directly suggests you are a felon to the computer science. :D But joke aside, as far as I am conserned, I wouldn't care what you have done (except js... :D).

None of this information makes sense. How did the gentlemen in question come by roughly 30,000 ink cartridges, or induce people to turn them in, in his name?

I'm guessing that's the fraud bit.

Sounds like this a perfect situation to try and talk to a recruiting firm.

I can’t believe so many companies make background checks. Is that a US thing? I don’t think companies in Europe do that (or do they?).

In the UK, employers are limited to what they can ask about based on the position and the length of conviction. I've posted about this before recently[1], so won't repeat myself here, but basically an employer will not know about short (<4 year) convictions (and you aren't required to tell them about them) unless they are recent or relevant to the job (e.g. working with children/vulnerable people).

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16637419

Some do, but the smaller ones definitely don't. I had bizarrely thorough background checks happen and none at all even for just contracting. Nothing to find and they disclosed that they would do them in the first place, but they did happen. You would be hiding the fact though then or anyway not disclosing it which could be a red flag later if you tell them / they find out... I would hope if you have a click with the manager/person you would work for/with, you can honestly explain your case. I do not live or ever lived in the US so I do not know how it works there, but in almost every employment seeking or contracting case in the past I was speaking directly to the person I would be working with and s/he would also be the decision maker for the role. In my country and with your credentials, I cannot see you having too much issues getting E70-100/hr longterm contracting jobs. Again, not sure about the US.

sadly (in my opinion), yes. I've done a background check for every job I've had in my ~20 years. Granted, a number of them have been for security companies, but it seems standard.

My man you can't be flashing high schoolers

AMEN. I can only have so much sympathy here. You are flaunting this "offense" like it's petty. If it were ANY OTHER crime catagory, I might not even bat an eye.... but when people go out exposing themselves to kids, it makes me wonder what they haven't been caught for. I think you need to remove your post, be happy if you get work, and don't use the community for an issue that is so personal.

> but when people go out exposing themselves to kids

Come on, it's not like he was waving his todger at five year olds. Seeing a spot of unexpected nudity at 17 years old is not a big deal.

It seems like there are a few issues here:

(1) Has he experienced an appropriate amount of retributive / vengeful justice for his crime?

(2) Given his current state, what are the chances of additional, problematic offenses in the future?

IMO the prison time probably satisfied (1). So the real question is, how can prospective employers decide about (2) at this point?

Why is the annual employment rate offered to him so high but rate per hour so low? Is that the norm? What hourly rate do you get?

Different companies offer different levels/pay to the same candidates on different days. Don't look for too much in a small ample.

Isn't 65/hour like 130,000$/year? That seems in-line with the salaried positions

It's $124,800 assuming zero downtime and fully booked weeks all year, with no PTO. Don't compare 1099 hourly to a W2 with benefits unless you've made a very careful comparison of total comp.

How does that math work out? $65/hr = $130K/yr is using a pretty standard 2000 hrs/yr estimate.

52 wks/yr * 5 days/wk * 8hrs/day = 2080 hrs.

So the 2000hr ($130K) estimate assumes 2 full weeks PTO.

$124,800 works out to only 1920 hrs/yr, which is 48 weeks of 40hr/wk work.

ETA: but yes, once you take into account benefits, taxes, and other expenses, one would want a significantly higher 1099 rate anyway.

I wasn’t aware of the 2000 hours a year estimate. TIL!

I'd suggest changing the narrative. I've read through several of the comments already.

I agree I think your biggest con (pun not intended) to an employer is the risk/breach of public trust of your prior convictions. However, I think that your messaging can be reframed pretty easily.

I would separate your backstory from your pitch on your landing page. I know you're in a tough spot, but waving a flag of desperation is not your best move right now.

This is how I'd reorganize your pitch if I was in your situation:

[Current Summary, with portfolio link]

[What you offer, with links to portfolio projects and articles where you know a lot about a certain technology]

[Stub of your backstory with a link to another page (see below)]

[You can see my letters of recommendation from... (this is very important)]

[Due to my current circumstances, I'm offering my services below market rate of $25 per hour as I get on my feet.]

[Call to Action, to view portfolio or contact you.]

This is how I'd organize your backstory page:

[I was convicted for...]

[I learned and reformed in jail by x,y,z, give a glimps]

[Now that I'm out, I've done X, Y, and Z but my prior criminal history has made it very difficult to find employment. These people vouch for me, (letters of recommendation)]

[I'm currently at the end of my financial means as a family man with 5 kids... (I'd avoid mentioning unemployment directly, I'd say all government services available to me or something like that.)]

I'd say out of all of this, you should not position yourself as a victim or desperate. We, as humans, aren't inclined to that -- especially in hiring situations. u/jeffmould mentioned the Federal Bonding Program; I really think you should try to get that. I looked at their site and it seems promising. I'd remove the highly competitive rates, they mean nothing if you can't secure them. Your problem right now is potential employers likely don't trust you.

However, honestly. I'd make your reformed URL the about page and make your portfolio the pitch. I wouldn't worry about anonymity because: 1) it's already out there in the newspapers; 2) background checks will happen and you're wanting to get in front of this issue, not hide.

Ideally, you want to create a landing page that people can share.

Lastly, I know you can't move but if ever can or reach the need. I'd check out https://defyventures.org/. Also, most churches have "compassion", "care", or "mercy" ministries run by volunteers or the church deacons that help people in need. It might be worth a shot.

Something is missing here: his name

As is yours. It's entirely rational and reasonable for OP to stay anonymous here.

You cannot reasonably expect people to be vulnerable in situations where it is obvious they will face discrimination and attacks. OP does not have a moral duty to give others an extra opportunity to hurt them.

Maybe this wasn't the case before, but his name is in the link and he is on here (HN) now under his real name as well.

Tough situation and it’s clear you’re desperate. If you want some honest feedback, your pitch conveys that you do not understand the magnitude of your crime and how it is perceived by others. Perhaps you can ask your therapist about this. For instance, I had to post this from a throwaway over concern about your mental state. Best of luck.

This is someone who is owning their shit, and you chime in anonymously like this. seriously?

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact