Now the worrying has begun in earnest.

Looks like it’s going to be another sleepless night. Anne checked the credit union account today and announced we were down to $198 left in checking, which was a bit of a shock to the system as we had expected to have closed to $400 left at this point. Then it occurred to us that a couple of the automatic bill payments kicked in. So after taking what was left in savings, which included a couple of donations from folks who read SEB, and what we had in the Christmas Club we’re back up to $500 in checking.

That means I’m officially in trouble come the end of the month seeing as rent is $725 by itself and I still have yet to receive my first unemployment check. Even if they start arriving in the next day or so it’s not going to be enough to pay all the bills so the time has come to start shutting down various things such as my cable service and finally clearing out the storage unit we’ve been renting. SEB and the other blogs I maintain for family members will remain as the PayPal account still has over $100 in it to pay for the hosting over the next year or so. I just may not have the internet access to update my own blog regularly until I land a job.

Speaking of which that’s not going all too well either. I’ve still not heard from the travel tech job yet and the other couple of opportunities that I was contacted about didn’t pan out. Anne still hasn’t gotten a phone call back on any of the jobs she’s applied for so I’m left considering a possibility that I consider even worse than being on unemployment: welfare and/or filing for bankruptcy. I honestly don’t see any other way around it. Hell, I haven’t even been able to get the crap jobs like working at a local retail store to call me back so the possibility of working two crap jobs isn’t even an option at the moment. I don’t tend to scare easily, but I have to admit I’m pretty scared at the moment. We’ve been joking about having to move in with Anne’s sister and brother-in-law, but it’s starting to look like it might become a reality if things don’t improve soon. I never would’ve thought I’d have this much trouble finding a new job.

So I’m going to break a promise to myself and ask for your help. If you folks enjoy reading SEB and can help out with a donation then I’d be most appreciative if you could toss it my way. Several of you regulars have already donated money and you have my sincere thanks. If anyone else has been thinking of donating, well, I could use your help now. I really wish I had something to offer in return ala PBS fund raising drives, but I’m afraid I don’t. I apologize for having to break down and ask, but I’m at my wits end. I’ll probably regret this entry once I manage to get some sleep in, but there ya go.

53 thoughts on “Now the worrying has begun in earnest.

  1. if Kottke can survive on donations maybe you could too! Can’t hurt to try!

    Good luck finding a job dude and if you are ever desperate for hosting, I might be able to put you up for a while (although I don’t know if I could cope with your bandwidth requirements).


  2. Well Les, I will say this about Michigan, I grew up there and its always hell trying to find jobs in any venue. I can only begin to imagine what a computer related industry would yield there, almost next to nothing I suppose. Sometimes the small town mentality and the clickish shit is just too much for me but I’ve found through the years that my best deals came out of the ‘good ol boy’ system and functions quite well in the real world. Bartering on services/skills and labor trades means unregulated and unqualified amounts of nontaxable dollars for our beancounters in washington and (in your case) Lansing too. I’m certain that type of behavior is frowned upon for those doing the collecting & counting of the ‘beans’ as it were. [but somehow it never pays the rent..] Where was I going with this.. hmm.. oh now I remember, I know you had promised yourself and whatnot, dont think anyone thinks any less of you. Last time I checked, there was a link to all kinds of “BUY STUPID EVIL STUFF” down on the lower left hand side of the page. I’m sure moving merchandise would have both and immediate effect and a greater long term effect on popularity. (granted this means volume)
    So rather than me give you the shirt off my back, why dont I buy one from you to put on mine. Maybe some mugs too.

    I wonder if the release of a “Limited edition numbered signature series SEB one of one hundred t-shirt” is in order? A sharpie and a link will do Im sure. Oh shit I gotta get to work. Will buy some stuff when I get in. grin

  3. Hi Les, I really hope things get better for you soon – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed, as I’m sure will everyone else. 

    I’d been thinking about buying a couple of stupid evil tops for a while – how much do you think it would cost for p&p to Britain?

  4. Les, hang in there.  We’re here for you.

    And if you feel like taking on a five-week project management stint in Angola, let me know and I’ll forward the email I got from the recruiter.  No?  Can’t blame you; that was my answer too.

  5. Here’s my bid for Utopia:
    Buy a shitload, I bought a shitload, My friends
    and fam arent gonna know what hit them. There
    gonna call me and say WTF?! haha This is gonna
    be fun at work too.

    I hope eneough of this reaches you in time Les.. rock.

    All areas outside of North America shipping-
    2 days to process 8-10 days to deliver $7.00US [@3.67GBP]
    for the first item $4.00US each addtl item ..

  6. I just woke up after laying down around 6AM today. So far there’s been nine donations and I just want to say thanks for the doing me the favor. Every little bit helps and so far that’s added up to $325.

    AndyK, I don’t have quite the readership that Kottke does, but perhaps someday that’ll come to pass. grin Don’t worry about hosting, my current host is inexpensive and as I mentioned there’s money already in the PayPal account to cover hosting for awhile.

    Qoayn, I’ve actually hand signed an SEB t-shirt that was a gift for Elwed from his better half. The signature was terrible because I’d never tried to write on cloth using a Sharpie, but Elwed seems to like it. Please feel free to buy the SEB stuff if you want, but right now I’ve only got a $2 markup on the items sold in the store because I just wanted folks to be able to buy some t-shirts if they wanted to without being gouged on the price. So the volume would have to be pretty high for it to amount to much. grin Still, at least you’re getting something out of the deal so feel free to pick up a couple if you want. I should probably update the designs so there’s a few more without the really vulgar slogan on them.

  7. In the last eight years almost nine I’ve had to ask for help several times and ate a lot of mac and cheese to survive.  Both can be kind of painful, but there is no shame in asking for help.  I’ve asked you in the past for help and you helped me when you could.  I know it sucks! Keep your head up and the old man and I will see what we can do to help on pay day.  Love Ya!

  8. Hey Les, I’ll donate some bucks as well (as soon as you can tell me if its okay to go on the SEB paypal acc, even though its intended for you and your family (and as soon as I can get some money over to my own paypal account)).

    ‘Pay it forward’ sometime, okay. You’ll pull thru!

  9. Cindy, yeah, I know. It’s just frustrating going from doing so well to doing nothing, ya know? Love ya, sis, and thanks.

    Ingolfson, I’ve made note of how much was in the PayPal account before I asked for help so when I withdraw money from it I’ll keep that minimum to ensure the sites stay active. Which is a long way of saying that it’s OK for you to use the PayPal donation link if you wish to. grin

  10. I picked up a pile of mugs and a tshirt, 6 items I think. So I guess that’s like 12$ coming your way. Seems like a meager ‘shitload’ I proclified earlier all of a sudden.

    Hell, I LIKE the vulgar design.
    I was a little disappointed that the Fem’s designs
    had omitted them. Along with the children’s bibs and whatnot. (I know just how unsophisticated am i??)

    As a matter of fact, [this helps your current situation almost none] I have been stuck in Maryland
    for sometime now.. which means I am also stuck in Baltimore/DC corridor traffic sometimes for hours each day. These retards bible thump and squeal about tolerance, rights, reperations, abortion and shit all of the time and thier all fucking racists and hypocrites themselves. Drives me nuts.  It would give me no greater pleasure than to put your motto, (White on Black, retain the font)
    in Vinyl Letters across the back of my truck along with the URL. Just Because I cant wait to see the looks on thier faces. They would shit. 5$ says some asshole cop sits on the side of the road for an hour looking up the citation number for that one while a thousand idiots rubberneck and gawk.
    Its a big ass black dodge truck too. smirk
    Bill-Boards arent allowed in DC.. I can only think of two in the state.

  11. I found your site last week doing some Google search, and have been enjoying it as much as I can since!  I’ll be happy to donate some money next Friday the 29th to help out you (and the site!), cause that’s when I get paid ….
    – J

  12. Absolutely, Les. You’re doing a wonderful thing here. Don’t let the assholes get you down out there.

    I’m happy to toss some in the pot.

  13. I know exactly what you’re going through Les, I’m down to 12 cents in the bank, although I’ve picked up some work shearing which should prove a temporary fix. Those are Australian cents too, not American.

    Of course I don’t have a family to look after.

    Hang in there, keep looking, good luck.

  14. Hey Les, I’ll also chip in some bucks. I’ll never forget the time I was between jobs, trying to relocate to the southwest and discovered I had $5.00 to my name at the ATM. It was tremendously un-fun and certainly gave me some psychoses, but it’s all lemonade now. I know there are several employers in southern Arizona who would snap you up in a heartbeat……

  15. Les,

    I am fairly confident that I just made a donation through PayPal. I didn’t get a warm fuzzy reply assuring me of this, but it should have worked. I can’t possibly be that computer inept. I have after all managed to purchase several unneeded items from various online stores. Anybody want a keychain sized scrabble board with wee little letter tiles? If $100.00 doesn’t appear in your account that wasn’t there a few minutes ago, let me know.

  16. Doh!  I just realized – everybody talkin’ ‘bout PayPal, I used Amazon.  Does that still translate into bill payin’ cash?  Or should I undonate and go PayPal?

  17. I’ve made a donation through paypal from the money i earned at the sperm bank.  Isn’t this what communism is all about?  I read everything on this site and try to memorize it, but i also tend to lurk a lot and drool.

  18. Mayo, I haven’t received a notification of your donation either and I just checked the account with PayPal and it’s not showing anything that I haven’t gotten an email about so I’m assuming it didn’t go through. Double check with your bank before trying again, though. I don’t want you being double billed.

    DOF,either or is perfectly fine. Both accounts end up going to the same place technically. Amazon transfers are automatic and PayPal’s I just transfer on my own when I need it.

    Again a very big thank you to everyone who has tossed something my way. I am sincerely grateful for the generosity. After subtracting the minor fees associated with each service we’re up to $927 so far and this will definitely be a big help in getting through the next month.

    Update on the job search. I had an opportunity come up for a tech support job in Toledo of all places, which would’ve been an hour drive one way that I was more than willing to make. Would’ve put me at a Chrysler plant. They were only offering $15 an hour and I told the contract house that I wouldn’t drive to Toledo for anything less than $25 an hour. The contract house agreed that the qualifications the site was asking for didn’t match up with the rate they were offering so she was going to submit my name with the higher billing rate request. I figured it fall through on that alone, but they called back today saying that the manager had some additional questions they wanted to ask so she wanted to check with me on a couple of possible questions that might come up in preparation. She asked me about my experience with Microsoft’s SMS tools and Active Directory and I answered as best I could. A couple of hours later she calls back and tells me the question the manager had was simply “where does he live?”

    Turns out they wanted someone who could be on-call to show up at a moment’s notice and I’m too far away for that to be practical. So another one bites the dust. Dammit.

  19. No sweat, Brandi. I’m hoping that as more folks stop by I’ll see the trend continue for a little bit. I wouldn’t mind being like Kottke and turn my blogging into a way of life, but I probably don’t have the readership for that yet. grin

    I’m just flattered and grateful for everyone’s generosity.

  20. Les…

    I wish I could send more, but I did make another donation to the amazon honor page…

    Next I am gonna take a look at SEB schwag to see if I can buy presents for people there smile

  21. You hang in there, man.  I’ve gone through 3 lay-offs over the last nine years, and there was much suckage to be had with each.

    Hey! You guys reading this who have contacts: someone let the Daily Show know about Les and his abiliites.  Maybe someone will hire him to write political and religious satire for a living, so he can stop wasting his time on this weak-ass computer shit.  Waste of talent.

    Or, someone in the local area there needs to sponsor our boy on a billboard ad campaign.  Rent-A-Tech, or something like that.  Help the brutha out!

    In the meanwhile, I’ve done what I can.  Five years ago, I’d have recommended you move here to Portland, OR, when tech businesses were booming.  There’s been a serious decline here, also.

  22. Les:  Mac at Pesky Apostrophe put in a plug and a link to this, so maybe that will help.

  23. I’ll have to be sure to stop by and thank her personally. Wish I was able to pump out material as easily as she does. grin

  24. She is damn good, isn’t she.  But then, so are you.  I sent an e-mail to her yesterday about this – hope you don’t mind.

  25. *hugs, hugs, hugs*

    I wish I could help you… I am so sorry!  If I get something in, I will send you something.

  26. Herewith please find enclosed payment for 1 share of SEB Class A Uncommon stock.  Purchaser hereby acknowledges that said shares have no voting rights and may not be redeemed for value until Les Jenkins is damn good and ready.

  27. Hey dude, I’ve just chucked 20 bucks your way via amazon. It’s not much I know, but I don’t get paid for another week and I’m a bit broke myself at the mo.

    Your website makes a bloody good read and you keep me really entertained so consider it a late payment for services rendered. smile

  28. BTW… what’s with the “12 Seconds to midnight productions” stuff all about at the bottom of your page? meeesa confuseda. wink

  29. Every little bit helps, Andy. I appreciate the help just the same. As for 12 Seconds to Midnight Productions, that’s the name of my pretend company. If I ever do anything that would require me to actually have a company name that’s what it’ll be. grin

  30. I would say why not register the DBA.. I dont think it runs much more than 10 bucks in Michigan.
    Makes It easier when a situation arises and an ” Im doing somthing moment” comes along..  .. and it keeps it from being ‘stolen’ not to say that you are probably already ‘protected’ under the DMCA somewhere in there smile

  31. DBA? is that the Dirty Bastard Association? wink

    Hey les, if you fancy moving to the UK the hosting company I work for by day are looking for a couple of people for the technical support dept.

  32. Uh, Les- I just got paid for a couple of bows, and could afford to help you out a little. But is there any other way to get a couple of bucks to you? Paypal doesn’t like my credit card (although it works for everyone else) and Amazon says someone else has my email address.  Can I mail a check?

  33. Les, I’m not a big poster, but I’ve been hanging around long enough to know you shouldn’t be in the position you are in.  Get a job you bum!  Seriously, I think I just sent some bucks your way.  I’ve been very fortunate to not know your situation, but it still hurts to see someone else go through it.  Best of luck.  Send me a shirt or something when you get back on your feet.

  34. Ha ha Andyk now that would be some shit wouldnt it? naw.. its much more mundane – DBA ‘Doing Buisiness As..”

  35. Qoayn, I may just do that. I just thought it sounded like a cool company name. I’ve evolved my pretend company name from “Jenkins & Company” (which sounded stupid) to “Les’s Place Productions” (which was a reference to my old BBS days) to the current 12 Seconds to Midnight Productions.

    Zilch, absolutely. I’ll drop you an email with my address. Not that it’s hard to find my address online these days, but this way I know you’ll get it.

    Chad, thanks for the help. I really do appreciate it. The response has been very uplifting for me.

  36. Man, I finally had a chance to catch up with some of my fave blogs and was hoping I’d see that you’d been able to find a job by now. I’m so sorry that you haven’t. I’ve been in the scary place before, so I sent you a few bucks via Amazon – sorry it couldn’t be more.

    Now, that aside, I have a question. I’ve been building some sites with ExpressionEngine, and there have been a few times when I’ve just wanted to ask somebody who knows what they’re doing with it a few questions. You seem to know what you’re doing and so I’m wondering how much you would charge per hour to do some EE consulting? Like if I had some EE how-to questions that were driving me nuts I would love to be able to give you the questions/problems, the password, and have you take a look under the hood, so to speak. Is this something you would consider?

  37. Thanks for the generosity. It will come in handy. As for EE consulting, well, I’m a member of the EE Volunteer Technical Support team so I tend to do quite a bit of consulting. I’d be happy to help out with any EE related questions you might have and I don’t normally charge anything at all for the service. I usually just asks folks to pick something off of my wish list if they want to. So toss any questions you have my way and I’ll see what I can do. I’ve also been known to tinker under the hood at various sites when asked. No problem.

  38. Les:

    I’d be happy to help out with any EE related questions you might have and I don’t normally charge anything at all for the service.

    Being part of the volunteer tech-support team does not mean you are an indentured servant smile

    May I be so bold as to suggest you start charging for things you do outside the support forums? Seriously!

    If you think about the number of people who need help with EE and the experience you have, you could start a niche business that may help hold you over for a bit… it wouldn’t hurt

    I don’t think Rick & Co would have a problem with it … so why not smile

  39. In addition, there are people who may be unable to justify a donation for other reasons, but who may be able to pay you for your services.  For example, if someone wanted to get your advice/consultation on doing something that was business related, and which they could then submit to their employer for re-imbursement, it may be a lot easier for them to help you in this regard.

    Think, man, think!

  40. Eggzactly. Check with Rick et al. and find out if it’s ok. Then set a rate. I can’t exactly tell my client(s), “ok, I had this guy look at it and I paid him with a coupla Foxtrot anthologies … ” That wouldn’t go over very well—not even with our mom and pop clients.

    Think, Les, think!! Hang out your shingle! What else can you do? My husband/partner is building quite a nice sideline business helping people wrest their computers back from virii and spyware (especially folks with teenagers)—and it’s all been word of mouth (someone else we know of posted one of those tear-off notices at the grocery store and the library, and he’s doing too well, he says!)

  41. Oh I’m sure it would be fine for me to charge for consulting on EE. I just haven’t given much thought to charging mainly because I’m not asked to do so that often that it’s come up before and most of what I’ve done so far has been pretty simple stuff.

    Now I do charge for in-home PC consulting and I specialize in cleaning up infected PCs full of viruses and spyware as well as general tech support stuff. I also do consulting on PC purchases, custom PC builds, and tutoring on how to use your PC. I charge $25 an hour for that stuff and I’m told that’s an excellent price. I’ve worked up a business card that I need to get printed out and I’ve been considering the tear-off supermarket posters as well.

  42. $25/hr is some price allright – $50/hr is more typical.  Home service has a lot of overhead in the form of transportation time and contact time so it is appropriate to charge more. 

    At the computer store where I used to work, we charged $65/hr in-shop and $100/hr in-home.  That was too much but I didn’t get to say how much we should charge.

  43. I use a consultant occasionally at work for things I can’t figure out myself and I pay between $50 and $90/hour.  And that is for a retired engineer!  My last guy cost me $140/hour!  Another company that keeps trying to get my business charges $90/hour and more depending upon the work.  We’re talking about a small server-based network with about 25 computers.  Of course, I am in Massachusetts where a lot of salaries are over-inflated, but I’m sure you catch my drift.

  44. Hope things start to get better Les. I just picked up a couple of steins, I realize you don’t see much of the money but I figured any little bit would help. Besides, they are pretty cool beer mugs.

  45. So you guys are saying I should raise my rates, eh? Originally I started it as a means of having some splurging money, though it wasn’t long before it became supplemental money. This is part of why I don’t start my own business. I have no clue how to do it.

    Terroran, every little bit helps. I’m thinking I need to sit down with Cafe Press and set up multiple shops each on dedicated to a single design for the products. Have the WTF tagline all in one shop and just the SEB logo in the other so folks will have an easier time getting what they want on the item they want. That sound like a good idea to everyone else?

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