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Stories by Elizabeth Salaam

I Started From Empty

Big dreams for so many small-businessmen.

In a recent Vanity Fair article, Groupon founder Andrew Mason is described as “the type of guy who comes up with wild ideas that often have no beginning or end, and then lets them rip.” ...

Gift From the Grave

Michael McCrerey wanted to die at home. In the four years since he’d been diagnosed with liver disease, he’d been hospitalized at least a dozen times (six in the past 12 months), his abdominal cavity ...

From Security to Biotech…at 54 years old

Ben Romans shares his story of unemployment, frustration, and finally relief. First, tell me about your employment background. I worked for Knight Security in Escondido for 15 years. I had worked as an alarm response ...

Tattoo Boo!

Say the name Lisa Fasulo in a San Diego tattoo shop and you may get blank stares from shop owners, employees, and hangers-around. Mention the Learning Channel’s one-hour reality-style television program about Fasulo’s tattoo school, ...

Homeschooling 101

Reading, Writing, Right Here

At the kitchen table, Andrea Manroe pauses her reading from The Story of the World and asks her three children a question about what they’ve just heard. “How did Shamshi-Adad get the people to obey? ...

Bread and Management at Panera

In the next seven months, Panera Bread will open three stores in the San Diego area. Meghan Gates, regional training manager, talks management. Please tell me a little bit about your management-training program. It’s about ...

McCall, Idaho: the Monster of Payette Lake

An afternoon spent at Payette Lake can be relaxing and refreshing – as long as you refrain from dwelling on what lies beneath. The 5,330-acre lake, around which the resort town of McCall, Idaho, was ...

The Weather Isn’t a Good Enough Reason to Stay in San Diego and Struggle

Jason Ulsh, 33, explains how and why his job search led him out of sunny San Diego (and why he’s ok with it). Let’s start with your educational background. My degree is in cognitive science ...

Shake Tree.com and See What Falls Out

n November 2010, Bernard Smith (not his real name) of Tree.com Inc. asked Peggy Gartin, leader of SD Tweetup — a local socialnetworking group with over 1100 members — to help him assemble what he ...

The Open Road is Calling You As a Truck Driver

Bonnie Trown of United Truck Driving School explains how you can get your foot in the door as a truck driver. Let’s start with a brief rundown of your school. United Truck Driving School has ...

Facebook Poll Suggests Retirement for Padres Announcer Dick Enberg

At 9:00 p.m. on July 13, Steve Adler, founder of Friarhood.com, a website for Padres fans, posted a poll on the site’s Facebook page: Should the Padres bring back Dick Enberg for the 2012 season? ...

The Secrets to Freelance Writing Success

Anne Wayman, of AboutFreelanceWriting.com, explains the basics of getting started as a freelance writer. First, let’s talk about you. What’s your background and your experience with freelance writing? I started writing sales letters and classified ...

Internship Pays Off

Maria Tomas went from unpaid intern to paid employee. Tell me about your schooling and other background information. I studied fine art at two community colleges before changing my major to interior design. I graduated ...

Dad Was a Bum

Mike Elliott’s father disappeared when he was 13 years old. Not disappeared as in vanished mysteriously. Disappeared as in left and never came back. Some 27 years later, on a rainy afternoon, Mike drove through ...

Are Your Skills Marketable?

Judy Kaplan Baron, master career counselor, explains the idea of marketable skills. Talk to me about what the term ‘marketable skills’ means. Skills are those abilities that enable you to perform tasks. Some are innate ...

There Is No Black San Diego

Evelyn Irving-Jackson’s olive-green Hummer takes up two of the four pint-sized parking spaces in front of the 1100-square-foot Trinity House thrift shop. The ostentatious gas guzzler seems incongruous, not only with the size of the ...

Everyone Knows Most Jobs are Gotten Through Networking

But Do You Know How to Network?

Kim Mohiuddin, president of both MovinOnUpRésumés.com and Authentic Executive Careers, offers networking tips for those intimidated by the idea of networking. Let’s start with the definition of networking. What exactly does it mean? The term ...

Have Your Guitar Out of the Case and Tuned Before It's Your Turn

South ParkWednesday, February 168:45 p.m. The sign painted on the building reads Delicious Food, Great Beer, Philanthropy, but I won’t notice this until I leave. For now, I dart from my car into South Park ...

I won’t consider hiring someone if they don’t have a LinkedIn profile.

Melodie Tao, of MarketingMelodie.com, explains the importance of social media as tools for job seekers. Please tell me about your background and how you came to be involved with social media. I started out working ...

See, This Is Like My History Right Here

Darrell Anderson steps out from behind an iron gate. Two dogs follow. One, a Maltese named Sugar, jumps up at me playfully. The other, Buddy, a muscular tan dog that Darrell refers to as a ...

I Have Clothes Flowing Through My Veins

Jaye Brown, academic director of fashion programs at the Art Institute of California – San Diego, offers options for your inner fashion designer Tell me about the Art Institute. What does it offer? The Art ...

Body Language is 80% of Communication

Dez, 25-year-old new father, makes the most of his not-a-dream-job. What is your dream job? My dream job would be no job. It would be to just gig my band, do Chi-Gong, martial arts and ...

Artists Have to Eat

The Good Son: A.B. Grizzwald sits on a stool in his friend’s Golden Hill garage studio. Though he claims this is where he paints occasionally, everything in the studio — paint, canvases, radio, couch, rug, ...

Home Childcare Program Trains Women in City Heights

Last month, 30 women graduated from the Home Childcare Program organized by Horn of Africa and the International Rescue Committee, two non-profit organizations in City Heights. The 27-hour program consists of 15 hours of state-mandated ...

Freelancer? Corporate Employee? This Graphic Designer’s Done Both

After three and a half years as a freelance graphic designer, Monique Jenkins went corporate. She shares her perspective on the advantages and challenges of both. Tell me what you were doing before you found ...

Fox Canyon Neighborhood Protests Governor’s Move to Eliminate Redevelopment Agencies

On Saturday, March 5, City Heights residents protested governor Jerry Brown’s plan to abolish redevelopment agencies. The rally, organized by the Fox Canyon Neighborhood Association, took place in Auburn Park, a site chosen for its ...

Blogging can lead to a new career

Colleen Lanin, founder of TravelMamas.com, blogged her way to a new job. Where were you when this whole thing started? I had been taking writing classes for years but had never submitted anything for publication. ...

I’d Like to Teach the World How to Use a Digital Recorder

Most people just aren’t made for transcribing.

Marcy Thorne’s transcribing business started at her kitchen table. Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you get started as a transcriber? About 25 years ago, shortly after I moved to San Diego, I ...

Color-blind

Bella has just finished telling me that, yes, she absolutely does believe in racial color-blindness. “I live it every day,” she says. “I’m married to a white man, and I don’t look at him and ...

Parkour Park to Be Built in Miramar

Sweaty boys aged between 7 and 27 filled the gymnasium at San Diego United Training Center on Sunday, February 13. The boys jumped and flipped over mats and off walls to the sound of thumping ...

What's Your Brand?

The importance of personal branding.

Jacqueline Schneider, founder of The Mint Collective, a San Diego-based creative consulting agency, explains the importance of personal branding. What is personal branding? Branding is what draws someone to a company or individual. It’s about ...

All I Want Is My Birth Story

The emotional trajectories of adoption.

For 23 years, my life story began at four months, when I landed in my mother’s arms wrapped in a thin blanket and bearing a handwritten letter that read, “Congratulations to you both, the new ...

How to Make a Living as a Ghost Writer

Helen Chang explains how she makes a living as a ghostwriter. Let’s start with a little information about your background. Schooling, work history, and all that. I have always loved writing. I started writing poems ...

Documentarian in San Diego to Cover Young Marines

Oakland-based filmmakers Carl D. Brown and Sean Donnelly arrived in San Diego on Wednesday, January 19, to film footage for a documentary on the Young Marines, a training program for children aged 8 to 18. ...

A School Principal’s Reflections on Race

"We Still Have a Long Way to Go"

At 10:25 a.m. on the last Wednesday in October, the auditorium at Adams Elementary School in Normal Heights buzzes with the voices of parents and children waiting for the student-recognition assembly to begin. The parents ...

His Hobby Became a Second Job

John Galasan turned his hobby into a second job that pays. First, tell me about your day job. I work for Union Bank in Mutual Funds. I like it because it’s stable, and because I ...

Illegal Street Vending Crackdown in City Heights

At the sound of a dinging bicycle bell, the children at Lulu’s Montessori in City Heights run to the screen door overlooking Van Dyke Avenue and shout, “Bolis! Bolis!” For some of the tiny tots ...

How to Build a Business as a Hairstylist

Think you want to be a hairstylist? Thu Nguyen explains what it takes. First, tell me how you’ve been in this line of work. I’ve been doing it for 12 years. What kind of schooling ...

Christmas Is Magic for So Many Reasons

The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants

A LITTLE OLD-SCHOOL GLAMOUR “What does he do, this man you seek?…He covets…And how do we begin to covet, Clarice?…We begin by coveting what we see every day.” — Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of ...

Career Coach Debbie Lousberg Helps Laid-Off Workers Get Back Into the Workforce

Update not only your job, but how you find it.

Please tell me briefly what you do for job seekers. What kinds of services do you provide? I help job seekers make sense of that daunting task of looking for a job. I help them ...

Public School Food Service: What Are You Kids Eating?

Children wound up from the morning’s thunder and lightning crowd under the lunch arbor at Chesterton Elementary in Linda Vista. Their voices echo under the tin roof that protects them from the light, misty rain. ...

City Heights Leader Lobbies for Safe Corner

José Lopez, president of the Fox Canyon Neighborhood Association in City Heights, started a letter-writing campaign to lobby city-council members to support a grant proposal that would address a problem corner at 50th Street and ...

I’ve Regained My Confidence

Sherry Luft is a participant and founding member of the Job Seekers Club at South Metro Career Center. Let’s start with what line of work you’re in. How and when did you become unemployed? I ...

Extra-Special Education

He Honestly Believes He's Smarter Than Everyone, Including the Teacher

Sammy Gonzales didn’t speak until she was four years old. In her first two years of school, she was considered “slow,” often completing assignments long after all the other children had finished. Sometimes she drifted ...

A Fast-Paced Job Working with Kids and Food

Shirley Cabri-Rumrill, Food Service Labor Supervisor for San Diego Unified School District, explains what to expect as a part-time substitute for school lunch service. First, let me ask, are you really hiring, or just accepting ...

The Chargers Don't Wear Pink

Ten minutes into the second quarter of the Chargers’ second preseason game, a crowd in the end-zone View section of Qualcomm Stadium stands up to shout, “Raiders suck! Raiders suck!” But the Chargers are playing ...

Two Weeks on the Pavement at Liberty Station

Tayari Howard, late-night radio personality on Smooth Jazz 98.1 FM, recently slept in a tent at Liberty Station for two weeks. Every evening, from October 9 through October 22, he left the radio station at ...

John Cage Is Realized at Palomar College

Bonnie Whiting Smith begins the Palomar College afternoon “concert hour” with a three-minute John Cage piece entitled “A Flower.” The piece consists of melodic singing and the sound of Smith’s knuckles and fingertips tapping on ...

Fortify Yourself During Hard Times

Mark Erwin, founder of Erwin Financial in La Jolla, offers advice on the do’s and don’ts of spending money during hard times. Please tell me a little bit about your company. We do customized, client-focused, ...

My Goodness, It’s Free!

…and Other Reasons to Look Into Continuing Education.

Ranessa Ashton, public information officer for San Diego Continuing Education, explains with the program has to offer. First, please tell me about the Continuing Education program. Are the classes really free? We’re the adult education ...