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Plea HN: Any work?
234 points by throwaway911 on Dec 4, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments
This is a throwaway account. My main is a fairly high karma HN account that's been here for years. I've met some of you in real life.

I recently took a lower paying (but much lower stress) job to allow me more time to bootstrap my own startup. This made our budget tighter, but between my income and my wife's, all the necessities were at least covered.

Fast forwarding to now, my wife just lost her job, making my leaner budget entirely unworkable. I have no idea how I'm going to cover the bills that we have, much less have any money left over for Christmas for my family.

I'm a competent Python web developer, and have familiarity with Django, Tornado, Mongo, MySQL, SQLite, Nginx, et al. I have decent design skills, though I am nowhere near a master, understand HTML, XHTML, CSS and am dabbling with HTML5. I can slice PSDs, develop web pages end-to-end. I build solid UI/UX interfaces that are cross-browser compatible down to IE6 if necessary, and am competent in JavaScript and jQuery.

I've done work for some of you for free (and for fun) in the past, but if anybody has need for any help, please feel free to contact me at the email address in my profile (Yes, it's in the 'about' section,) and I would appreciate consideration before you farm the work out to Elance or oDesk or what have you (though I am also bidding on work there.)

I'm not looking for charity, and won't accept any payment that isn't commensurate with the work performed, but I'm happy to do anything that anyone needs with the understanding that I will be performing tasks on nights and weekends.




Hey, I know you must be on an emotional rollercoaster right now, but just one question: why use a throwaway account?

You're just looking for work. There's no shame in being in this position, at least in this economy. And if you're going to refer to your reputation, why conceal your identity (which is probably already pseudonymous anyway)?


1) My regular identity isn't even remotely pseudonymous.

2) Not sure what the moonlighting clauses are for my current employer, and while they're aware of the other thing that I'm doing, they're likely more forgiving in that it doesn't come anywhere close to competing with their core product. This is a little different.

3) I don't want my credit-worthiness to come up in my day job, as my employment is somewhat contingent on my ability to make purchases for the company.


Hey mate,

I don't have any work for you, but I feel for you. I was working on a project with a guy a couple years who lost his job. He'd previously bought a house, and rented it out when he moved to another state - then the family renting from him stopped paying the rent without moving out, meaning he had to try to cover a mortgage with no money. Absolute hell on Earth for him, things got all screwed up, but he's back on track now. It can mean a shit few months or year, but if you keep going you'll find a way, and come out on top.

Practical advice - cut your expenses to bare bones NOW.

The biggest mistake I see in people under a serious cash crunch is to say, "Well, I'm $2000 short on my bills... fuck it, what difference does another $5 make?"

Make a list of healthy, cheap foods, and go stock up. Lipton black teabags, instant coffee, oatmeal, rice, beans, tuna, maybe wheat bread if there's decent bread where you live. Stock up, and stop eating out. If you've got to eat out, get only a couple $1 sandwiches off the super discount menu from Taco Bell or another fast food place.

Cancel your cable TV. Think of cutting back your phone plan. Try to negotiate down or downgrade any insurance plans you have. Think about downgrading your phone minutes, and potentially canceling 3G internet if you don't really need it for testing what you do.

Look for recurring charges to cancel - magazine subscriptions? Do you have any bank fees? Call them up and have them cancel or change the account.

This is surprisingly unintuitive to people who are in a crunch, because, "Screw it, what difference does the $20 make?" But you might be able to carve $500 per month out of your budget in just little nick-knacks and expenses, which will add up. By all means, keep seeking work, but it's time to audit all your expenses. I know, it sucks, it seems like it won't make a difference, but do it. You can always scale the expenses back up once you're on more solid ground.

Good luck and godspeed. I don't have any work for you, but if you have questions or I can be of assistance in some kind of marketing yourself, pitching, proposals, something like that, go ahead and email me. Info in profile, confidentiality assured.

Godspeed, you'll get through. You'll shake your head at this period of your life later and laugh, you can count on that.


This advice isn't falling on deaf ears, rest assured.

The criminal irony here is that we'd already done this with the last job transition. Cable TV, gone. Internet is a necessity, but I downgraded from the 15Mbps plan to 5. Pasta, rice, oatmeal, potato, noodles are the new staples, and steak has been replaced with chicken. Netflix, cancelled.

Figuring out what ELSE to cut is the real killer. But there are always to do more with less.

Thank you.


If you own, try to rent out your house and then rent a cheaper place closer to work. If you rent, try to move closer to work. If you live in a city you might be able to do without a car. Also, if you have an extra room, you can try renting it out or listing on airbnb (no affiliation). The point is that sometimes you can find low-bandwidth opportunities to make or save a little extra cash on the side.


Start keeping track of where your money are going. I use a notebook for that, and I have categories like clothes, eating out, food, business, etc. I record all expenses and after a while you become more conscious of your expenditures.


I recently took a lower paying (but much lower stress) job to allow me more time to bootstrap my own startup.

Probably that? Might not want his employer to know that he is trying to gain more paid work around his work with them?


I love that this post got 50+ votes and that so many people here are stepping up. Despite some occasional negativity in the comments, HN is something special.

And throwaway - if you're not deluged with other offers, drop me a line (rand at seomoz dot org). We're a Ruby shop, but might have some opportunities.


This is, oddly enough, the highest score I've gotten on an HN post to date, and of course it's on a throwaway.

I'm perfectly happy to sift through the negativity as, well, there are always other sides to the coin, but yes, the response to this is literally inspirational.


Mail me? Thanks!


I can't help with work, but I can suggest some steps you can take now:

1) Ensure you communicate with your creditors. Keep them in the loop - burying your head in the sand is the absolute worst thing you can do.

2) Create a budget describing your monthly income and expenditure.

3) Work out what you can lose. If you can cancel contracts for luxuries, downgrade phone contracts etc. - do so. Reduce your monthly expenditure as much as (reasonably) possible.

3) When you realise that your income doesn't meet your reduced expenditure; prioritise your debts. Priority debts are generally the debts where defaulting will lead to homelessness or prison. Ensure you pay these first.

4) Contact the remaining creditors and start negotiating over reduced payments. You'll be surprised how many will be happy to help. Don't accept no for an answer. If your financial situation gets far worse, your creditors ultimately stand to receive nothing - remind them of this fact.

5) Consider contacting a credit counselling service, there's a lot of (free) advice that's worth investigating.

6. Realise that this is temporary - there are a lot of people who are working through similarly unfortunate circumstances. You will recover.


We're looking to hire a python developer. Email me.


how can he contact you if you dont list you email and there is no way to send private messages in HN?


Probably a good time to point out that the email field in your profile isn’t listed publicly. It’s there for pg to contact you if need be.

If you want others to see your email, put it in the about section.


I was just asked about a python job. Where do you live?

What does your wife do? How can we help her?


Amongst other things, my wife does software QA and Technical Documentation. I've been meaning to post something here to see what sort of interest there was for that as a contracted service, and I've been in the process of building her a website to get her started on that.

Jollari's comment is especially interesting to me for this reason.


My employer's been trying to hire a tech writer for two months now. You happen to be located in Philly?


No. If telecommuting is an option, at least some of the time, we're only a couple hours away from Philly. Feel free to email me, if you haven't already.


If your wife might be interested in writing beginner's tutorials for some HTML basics, please ask her to get in touch with me. Thanks and good luck with it!


Unity is looking for a copywriter.


Mail me. While I'm not in a position to hire, I have a good friend that often is able to hire for python-based consulting work in Django, Plone and Zope. He might be able to help, although I can't make any promises of course. Please attach your resume or github link to your email so I have something solid to send him.


My lord - this is why I love HN and why it's unlike any other place on the web.

Just emailed you. Given the outpouring of offers, you may have found something (congrats if you have). If not, look forward to hearing from you.


I have a Django project that might be worth discussing. Please contact me through the mail account on my profile.


This may not be the most glamorous option, but my company is looking for a contract QA person. Someone we can hire on a project by project basis and QA our apps. The work might work for the 'nights' half of your schedule and offer a good amount of flexibility. Feel free to email me.


I'd love to email you for a sidebar discussion, but your email address isn't in your 'About' profile.


another problem w/ HN, no private messaging


It would be helpful if you mentioned where you are located.


His email is listed in his account profile. If you're interested in hiring him, I'm sure he'd be more than glad to tell you where he's located. However, you have to understand that for privacy reasons, some people may not want to include private information such as location on a sensitive post like this.


Thank you, I'm in the Baltimore/DC area. East Coast.


I know, that's a perennial problem with Ask HN submissions. Of course privacy is an issue, but often it's hard to suggest answers about a situation that could be anywhere (especially with legal-type questions).

PS: good luck, OP.


Ever check out http://djangogigs.com/ ?


If the title of this post is intended to be analogous to "Ask HN", "Tell HN", and "Thank HN", then it should be "Plead HN". Plea is technically a noun. (Sorry for such a nit-picky comment -- I hope you find something soon.)


Plead is not a transitive verb. Maybe beg would be better.


Mayhap 'beseech', m'lord.


Check authenticjobs.com in your area just for good measure.


I personally don't have anything, but I might be able to put you in contact with someone who does.

He needs a facebook app. Not exactly sure what, but a game or something that will provide some marketing.

Email is in my profile.


Are you in London, UK? If so, email me and we could have you in for a quick interview this week. Email me, the address is on my profile.


Hi there. I hope that things can be resolved quickly for you and I'm sure that there will be someone on here who has enough work to help you out, even short term. I also hope that your wife can find another job soon, to enable you to work on your startup. I've just dropped you an email also.


i need a flash designer/developer whos reliable for freelance work chris@justni.com


Regrettably, Flash is not a skill that I possess, and my HTML5 skills aren't yet up to a point where I would suggest replacing your Flash content with an HTML equivalent.

I occasionally work with a couple of Flash developers though, so I'll pass them your information.


I have contract work that needs doing. Email me your CV and rate.


wow.. so many people stepping up to help this couple out. it's really almost tear-worthy for me to read.

best of luck to you and your wife! it seems like HN's got you covered


Actually why not looking for a job for your wife? What is she up to? It looks like she has more available time than you at the moment.


Your best bet IME, other than word of mouth, is to query Indeed(.com)'s job search engine using your favorite RSS reader.


Have you tried odesk?


Sorry I don't know all that lingo but I do need help fro my web site I need built. Good luck


Why was this given negative numbers I was offering the guy some work.This is a strange system you have here


Hi,

I need someone to add a login/user registration process to CompassionPit.com (build on pylons + cogen) as well as add a wordpress blog (i have no idea how you're going to accomplish this since the web server is "paste") but if this is something you can do, shoot me an email with an estimate




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