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Stories by Elizabeth Salaam

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 ...

Coaster Train-Car Wraps Are a Train Wreck

Benjamin Tobias has ridden mass transit in major cities all over the world. In most of those places — London, Paris, New York — commuting in an urban area means riding underground in a dark, ...

Twitter Addict

You know that commercial where a man and a woman sit across the table from each other, engaged in what appears to be an intimate conversation, but the guy keeps sneaking looks at the football ...

Manufacture a Job

Michele Nash-Hoff, author of Can American Manufacturing be Saved? Why we should and how we can, explains why you should seek work with San Diego’s manufacturing companies. Please start by telling me a little bit ...

Chinese, It’s the New Spanish

Robert Dorsey is not Chinese, but he drives 25 miles from El Cajon to Point Loma every morning so his two daughters can learn to speak, read, and write in Mandarin. “In my culture, it’s ...

My Bookie Says "Meet Me at Arby's"

Tony McCoy found his bookie through a friend of a friend. It was October 2011, four weeks into football season. He’d spent all of last season testing a new betting system he’d created, and it ...

Dog Walking Ain’t Easy

If you’ve got the right set of skills and attributes, Roxanne and Kristyne of Walk-N-Roll Doggie might want to hire you. First tell me about Walk N Roll Doggie. Walk N Roll Doggie is a ...

The Unkindest Cut: Countdown to a C-Section

My introduction to Elizabeth Cooper-Schultz comes by way of a text message in which she refers to Mary Birch as “that hospital that claims to be mother and baby friendly.” When I arrive at the ...

Watch Your Step in City Heights

Last Sunday, while jogging up Wightman Street through City Heights, I had to avoid five piles of dog crap, seven fecal smears, and one brown lumpy puddle — all on city sidewalks. These numbers do ...

Milton the Barber

“Don’t take my picture,” he says. “I don’t like my picture taken.”

The waiting area at Headlinerz Barbershop on El Cajon Boulevard looks like a swank doctor’s office. In one corner of the spacious room, five men wait on a leather-cushioned, L-shaped bench. The black, laquered floors ...

Hip Boise, Idaho: The Modern Hotel

My husband doesn’t care for anything too fancy or too hip, especially not a hotel. Give him a Residence Inn, and he’s happy. So when a friend of mine recommended we stay at the Modern ...

You May Qualify for Free Technical Training

Daniel Romero of San Diego Futures Foundation says you may be eligible for IT training and job assistance. Please start by telling me about your program. The N.E.O. program (Network of Emerging Opportunities) was created ...

Pride and Prejudice: Milk Like Sugar at the La Jolla Playhouse

Playwright Kirsten Greenidge does not use the restroom during intermission when her plays are performed. “I get so wary about what I’m going to overhear,” she admits. “You have no voice in that situation. You ...

Labor of Love: Life of a Doula

Sarah Burns, a 24-year-old doula, explains what it takes to get started, and stay in business, as a doula. First, please define “doula” for me. What does a doula do? A birth doula provides emotional ...

Please Upgrade the Tenants in City Heights Apartment Buildings

On a hot Friday evening in late August, Jennifer Bernal and Jamila DeCarli sit at the kitchen table in their 998-square-foot home on the rim of Fox Canyon in City Heights. Their two small dogs ...

Bargain Mama

Stacey Ross, of San Diego Bargain Mama, found her ideal job in the world of online marketing. First, give me an idea of your work history. I worked as a schoolteacher, counselor, and special projects ...