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Stories by Elizabeth Salaam

Eight seconds to make a good impression

Rob Smith, of the Job Readiness training program at Second Chance, explains the importance of interview readiness. In your program what is the very first thing you stress to your clients about interviewing? We stress ...

From sheep to sweater in 12 hours

The idiot-proof alpaca

Interviews with alpaca owners, spinners, and weavers who live in San Diego’s East County mountain region.

Gun grab

This year’s run on guns

The empty shelves inside the Chula Vista Gun Store (in mid-February) make it hard to tell the place sells guns at all. Last December, the amplification of the gun-control debate sent buyers rushing to this ...

Show up and put a smile on your face

The importance of face-to-face networking

For the second in a six-part series about stepping up your job search or job upgrade process, business coach Kate Hanley explains the importance of networking. Last time, we talked about the importance of the ...

Let's make money

Workshop helps turn ideas into working businesses

Joel Chrisco, of the International Rescue Committee, invites aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to come learn about what it takes to start or grow a business. First, please tell me about your organization. The ...

One steak at a time

Vons has a proud cutter in Angie Elsbury

Interview with Angie Elsbury, a butcher at Vons supermarkets who reshaped her life after being addicted to heroin and going to jail.

Hands-on high schools

The days of standing in front of a class to teach are over.

Career and technical training used to be called vocational or trade school. San Diego Unified School District has tried to put a new face on the program with much success.

San Diego Public Market seeks permanence

Vendors at the San Diego Public Market wonder what’s next as the management fields proposals to set up permanent spaces and prepares to become an everyday operation.

An overall lack of respect...

...and other challenges faced by substitute teachers

Colleen Burkett-Christopher explains what it takes to become a substitute teacher. First please tell me what you do. I’m a substitute teacher. I ensure continuity of education in a classroom when the permanent teacher is ...

Pancakes, sandwiches, jobs

Tom Fitzpatrick might have a job for you at The Mission. First, please tell me about your restaurant. I have three restaurants with Fay Nakanishi and Deborah Helm: The Mission –Mission Beach; The Mission – ...

Let your calendar manage you

You’ll be surprised how much more you get done

For the first in a six-part series about stepping up your job-search or job-upgrade process, business coach Kate Hanley explains the importance of keeping a calendar. First, please tell me what you do. I help ...

Temporary TV Fame

Who’s crazy enough for reality TV?

Some San Diegans who have made it onto reality TV shows speak of the experience appreciatively but don’t seem to want to further their TV careers.

What's in them sambusas?

Selling East African cuisine isn’t easy

Hasno Ali, 46-year-old owner of East African Cuisine, has to struggle to make money at San Diego’s farmers’ markets.

A pile is not a file

The importance of job search organization

Carolyn Walstein, profession organizer, explains the importance of staying organized in your job search. First, please tell me what you do. I’m a professional organizer. I help people update and prioritize, and let go of ...

Breast milk's not on the menu

To breastfeed in the California bubble was all she wanted.

Jamie Boyd and Joseph Taylor are confronted at Felix’s Restaurant in Lincoln Park and told that breastfeeding must be done outside of the dining area.

The life coach speaks

If one goes out looking for work coming from a place of exhaustion, worry, and resentment, that is what he or she will give off.

I try to never wear the same thing twice

“When people ask what my favorite decade is, my answer is ‘Now.’”

Life as a professional mediator

There is no greater feeling than the satisfaction you get from helping people resolve a dispute.

We couldn't have built it without Kickstarter

Love and money from a website

San Diegans have had varying degrees of success raising money for their business ventures through Kickstarter.

The Proper Handshake

...and other "soft skills" that will help you get and keep a job

Robert Coleman, executive director of the Second Chance program, offers tips and resources for the “hardest to employ.” First, please tell me about Second Chance. Second Chance is dedicated to creating opportunities for self-sufficiency. We ...

Let Your Website Find You a Job

The biggest no-no is creating a website that looks like you did it yourself.

The Deal with Farmers' Markets

“Someone making great handcrafted yogurt would be in like Flynn.”

Retro Rumble

Old school revisited.

Happy housewives and Mad Men, good for business.

This Selfish Pursuit

The incurable surf bug.

Interviews with San Diego surfers who describe the lengths they go to in search of stoke.

Why Pay More? It's Our Policy

A harrowing tale of San Diego’s waterworks bureaucracy.

This is (Not Necessarily) A Man’s World

I think the biggest challenge for a woman in a male-dominated industry is not being taken seriously when first starting out.

Workin’ on the Dock of the Bay, Not Wastin’ Time

Reggie Vaughn explains the ups and downs of semi-skilled trade work for intellectuals. First, tell me what you do. I work on aircraft carriers, doing maintenance and service work. I’m not supposed to go into ...

Tea Shop Clerk by Day, Burlesque Dancer by Night

Annelise Arevalo explains the challenges and benefits of creating a life around doing what you love. First, tell me what you do. I am a burlesque dancer. I received a B.A. in dance from the ...

They Want to Hire Veterans

What makes these job fairs unique is that they specifically target America’s service members and veterans.

Hail to the Chief Storyteller

Your Résumé Should be a Story, Not a List

Kim Mohiuddin, of Movin’ On Up Resumes, says it’s your storytelling that could land you the job. I see that you call yourself Chief Career Storyteller of your company. What does that mean? I help ...

Debt: Upside-Down and Empty

How some San Diegans (including the author) paid their way out of sleep-depriving debt.

Go Ahead, Try Some Tamales

Streetside Spanish lessons from tamale vendor José Gonzáles.

Afro Puffs

’Dos that don’t.

San Diego’s ethnic populations are segregated, for better and worse.

One Wolf Returns to Julian

A visit to the California Wolf Center in Julian.

We Only Hire Beautiful Girls

Heather Hyatt of Epic Fighting is looking for beautiful girls. Tell me how you got involved with Epic. I started working as a promotional model/ring girl with a company that was sponsoring Epic Fighting called ...

If You’re Right for This Business, You Already Know It

Jake Holmes, owner of Pilates United, could be your next boss. First, tell me about your company. I established Pilates United with Moji Austell in 1993. It’s a fitness studio. Our objective was to give ...

No One Cares About Being Cool

An outsider is permitted to experience a variety of San Diego social clubs from the inside.

My Kids See Me More Often Than the Babysitter Now

Teresa Arreola says there may come a time when you have to set your pride aside to make the kind of changes that last. Tell me what you do for a living. I’m a pharmacy ...

Volunteer For Your Dream Job

Amaroq Weiss and Erin Hunt of the California Wolf Center say it’s possible to volunteer your way to the job of your dreams. Let’s start with some specific examples of people who have begun as ...

Is College Worth It?

Pamela M. Christian, Ph.D., of Azusa Pacific University, says yes, college is worth it. In your article “Is College Worth It?” you mention the three most obvious advantages that a college degree can provide. Can ...

Hippocrates’ Helpers Educated Here

Students graduate feeling ready for their new careers, and they hit the ground running once they’re employed.

Some of Our Students are Starting Their Own Bookkeeping Businesses

William Setterlund, president and director of the Accounting Academy, puts you on the road to becoming an accounting professional. First, please give me some information about your background. I’ve been in accounting for my entire ...

City Drains Owners’ Wallets

In March 2005, Darnell Johnson bought a one-bedroom condominium on a quiet, dead-end street in City Heights. He never imagined he’d be forced to fork out $50,000 to keep his home from falling into the ...

A Man Selling Avon?

Avon Representative, Harold Cooks, wants you on his team. First, please tell me how you came to be an Avon salesman. Actually, I grew up with my mother using Avon products. So, I’ve always known ...

Your Child Is My Child

The first time I try to meet up with Makeda “Dread” Cheatom, she doesn’t show. I leave her a note. An hour later, she calls to apologize, and we arrange a new time for later ...

The Business of Nonprofit News

Don’t ask Scott Lewis about the layoffs at Voice of San Diego. It’s not something the chief executive cares to discuss. Back in early December, the nonprofit news organization let go reporters Emily Alpert and ...

The City Was Offering Up to $70,000 at 0% Interest

On October 12, 2011, my husband and I signed two hours’ worth of paperwork and forked over a $2450 earnest-money deposit on a four-bedroom, four-bath townhome in Chula Vista. For years, we’d fantasized about escaping ...

Helping People Is Very Satisfying

Lieutenant Commander Jon Bartel explains what it takes to work for the Coast Guard. First, tell me how and when you got involved with the Coast Guard. It’s kind of funny because I grew up ...

From Refugees to American Dreamers

Thuba Nguyen, senior employment specialist at the International Rescue Committee, explains why school doesn’t have to be out of reach. Please explain to me your role at the organization. I help newly arrived refugees find ...

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