Web Feature | Guest Bloggers

You Can Call Me Roz

Over the next few weeks, Roz Lee, whom you meet in the SoCal Connected segment "Down But Not Out," will be blogging about her search for work.

You can call me Roz. I am a thirty-two year-old, 80's-loving (because let's face it — those were the best times on Earth), movie-going, God-fearing, fun-loving, love-giving, single, professional, and happy mother of two. Originally from Asbury Park New Jersey. I've been a resident of sunny Southern Cali for 26 years now. Currently, I live with my domestic partner of 7 years (and the proud father of our children) in Monrovia, Ca.
 
I have worked all my adult life. I remember my first job. It was a blast. I was 17 years old, and I worked just blocks away from my alma mater, Hollywood High Performing Arts Magnet. (Go Sheiks!) Anyway, when I received my first paycheck, I remember exactly what I did with it: I bought an outfit, a ponytail extension (don't laugh), and a ticket for the first annual 92.3 The Beat Summer Jam — ya'll remember those? It was so much fun. I met and hung out with Tupac Shakur after the show with my friends. In hindsight, probably not so good an idea, but we were safe, respected, and had the best time of our lives. And I had made it all possible! Once I got a taste of making my own money, and being able to set the course for things I wanted to do, have, and experience, I decided that I LOVED to work. I had not been without a job since then...until now.
 
In March of 2007, almost a year after my mother's passing, I received notice that I was being laid off from my $70k+ a year job as a training manager for a major Insurance brokerage firm. It happens all the time, right? And I felt, too, that things would be okay. I mean, I received a great package. I had a couple of weeks, even, to channel my inspirations towards where I wanted to go from there. It felt like a very free time in my life, if that makes sense. I felt liberated, and inspired. I was powerful because I had the freedom of choice. I could choose to do anything I wanted to do! It's a great feeling for a time. Yet, here we are almost 2 years later, and I still have not held a solid position since. What's happening? What's going on?
 
Maybe my story sounds familiar to you. Perhaps you, too, are seeing changes in the organizational structure at your job, and are wondering what you are going to do if you should loose your job. Perhaps you are working and busting your tail everyday for a paycheck that still cannot seem to scratch the surface of all your financial needs. Whatever your story, at the center of it, mine is the same. Fortunately for me, there is such a thing as grace and mercy!
 
I have been in the process of actively seeking aid for my situation. I hope these blog postings will help keep you in the loop of my progress towards re-claiming my piece of middle class  America. I just want to work hard, make a contribution, live life, and take care of my family. We don't ask for much, do we? Journey with me, and let me hear your story, too. You never know what your words can inspire.

LEAVE A COMMENT Leave Comment  

Hi sista, My name is Kris
I saw your segment.
be strong. I feel your struggle- we are all there. i pray that god will bless you and your family soon.

Kris,

He is a good and faithful God, and I am patiently awaiting delivery (-= At the same time, I have a sense that things can get a lot worse, so I am so grateful- especially for people like you who are there to show a light to my path every now and then. Thank you, kindly, for your response, and may God bless you and yours as well!!!

~Roz~

Roz,

I was nearly in tears by your story. Unemployment is not a new issue, but for some reason your story was different. In the news piece, you seem to still be positive. I enjoyed seeing you talk with the food bank person about having had volunteered there just a year before because you didn't seem an ounce ashamed or above receiving help. One can get used to a tasty lifestyle of $70+ a year. So to go from that to nothing in a short time is incomprehensible. I wish nothing like that on even my worst enemy.

Your story is encouraging to me. Although I am fortunate enough to have a job, I still feel -- just as you said -- barely scratching the surface of financial freedom. I'm proud of you for having reached as high as you did while working. Please stay encouraged. You said you are a "God-fearing" woman. Trust He will provide. I tell my sister (who has been out of work since this May) that all the time. "You're coming up. You're coming up."

Anyway, I look forward to reading your progress. Pray all remains well in health & mind with you & your family.

Stay encouraged Roz!

Sincerely,
Vera Lusia from Long Beach.

Vera Lusia,

This was the first response I read, and you have no idea what it did to me to "hear your voice". I felt a tremendous wave roll from within me, like I had accomplished something. Sort of like I had set a wave, and even if that frequency only existed between you and I and touched no one else, I was grateful. Thank you ever so warmly for your response. May God bless you ten fold with the thought and consideration you have shown me, and my prayers are going out to your sister. I know it will make a difference, as yours have mine. Thank you, again!

Hi Roz.

Can you send me your resume? I don't know if I can help but I'd like to try.

Best regards,

Mel

Melanie,

You help by having positive thoughts alone. Thank you so much for your thoughts and consideration.

Roz, I've just left a training position with a financial organization and would be delighted to introduce you to the decision-maker. They just posted the position this week on the ASTD National website.
Cr8tvsue

I just watched your story on tv. I am the editor of a blog called Obama IS America! and would be so very honored if you could write something for this blog.

This blog was started because of the belief that things are only going to get way worse if McCain wins because of his deep similarities in thinking to the Bush administration. We believe that if Obama wins, he will work hard to rebuild the relationship with the people that a President is supposed to have and fix broken systems like our broken economic system and our illogically constructed public welfare system. Politics is probably the last thing you want to think about, but we feel that it is so important to things changing in the future. If you feel inspired/motivated to write something for us to post on the blog, we would be so very honored. Your KCET blog entry will be posted (along with a link to this page) to spread your story to others. Best of luck to you and all the love in the world.

In additon to sexism and racisim, I have to add that I particularly experienced predjudice regarding MOTHERhood. As what was alluded to in the T.V. broadcast those that get over now either eway they are broke and husbandless (for social services), or (not mentioned in the show) for employment that they have no children. Unless of course you are running for polital office...

Hi Roz

I just saw your story. I work for the LA County Office of Education. We have a number of jobs that you may be qualified for AND that pay what you are worth. Check out: www.personnelcommission.com. Let me know what you find.

Happy hunting

Will

Will,

You are an angel. I don't know if people believe or understand what is truly taking shape when they respond to a person's need. Thank you for responding...you didn't have to. But you did, and you graced me with another outlet of opportunity. Whether it pans out or not, it is the thought that counts. And I am grateful for yours. May it come back to you ten fold!

Hi Roz, I'm a 30 year old, college-education, Black American living with my partner in the Silverlake area of LA. More and more I find myself saddened by my failure of prosperity as a adult - a dream that was promised by our elders to my generation. Doing everything "right" as instructed by our government, our education system and our financial institutions has led us all to the crisis that peaked this past September. For the past few months - well, years, I found myself living differently than the people around me. I chose to live a life more frugally to conserve the resources I did have and to live rich in experiences, health and love. That meant avoiding more debt, stop crazy unplanned spending and to cut down on things I do not need. So I gave up my car, started visiting local thrift stores, made my own products to manage my own natural hair, cooking my own meals, avoid mass consumerism and hanging around people who spend to obtain happiness. To so many around me - I may have as well announced my intention to sell drugs or join a cult! I walked my path alone for so long and had to say goodbye to so many along the way. I also gained new friends, new resources and new forms of support to support my new way of living.

Today, I made a huge decision to not go to the West Hollywood book fair and instead, to stay home to clean house and take care of stuff before the week begins. Sad because I really love books and have a monthly budget to afford contributing to my book collection. But what I can't afford these days are the time to travel across town, paying for parking (when I borrow a car), coffee shop coffee and snacks, eating out and everything that comes along with getting around in this city. I was able to see your story on the TV today and wanted to reach out to you to say that you are NOT along. Struggling citizens are all here around you and wishing for answers and change. Jobs can be found, mortgages/rents can be paid, food can be made available but I believe most of us will never again be made complacent by the false sense of security of property ownership, employment and education. By sharing your story you will receive all the support in the world and I know you will be sharing a new story the next time we hear from you. I only hope that the silent many others out there will raise their voices, seek help, demand change and become the change they wish to see.

Blessings to you and your family.

A. Star, Echo Park

Echo Park is WONDERFUL! My father lives up in the foothills off of Laveta Terrace. The owner bought the house in '83 for a little over $80,000. Today, he is trying to sell it for a mere $600,000!!!! I don't know how long you've been in the Silverlake district (lov it!), but I can tell you- that place has changed! For the better, I guess, although slowly but most assuredly trying to push my dad right on out the door...So goes the story.
It is refreshing to hear that you are college educated. You know that makes you filthy rich in a way that some people will never be. I'm sure you know that, but it's nice to hear sometimes (-= Congrats on pursuing a higher education. It's invaluable.
I also want to thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and experience. Isn't it remarkable how sensitive we are to one another in the sense that, when it comes to certain matters, no matter what your walk of life is, at your core, you feel deeply connected. I love that sense of connectedness (Please tell me if I just made up a new word. Oh, how I love it when I do!), and I appreciate you and your insight for adding to it. You truly may never know what your words have inspired.
Keep envisioning your better days. Like mine, they will come. Blessings to you and yours, as well...

Hello Roz,

Wow! I know how you feel right now. My family has experienced the same things.

Roz, If I may have your permission, I would like to pay for one months access to The Ladders:

http://www.theladders.com/
(do you happen to have paypal by any chance)

I also have an extensive list of online job search engines for your purview. It would be my pleasure to send you the list.

I also have other ideas to share with you. For right now BeyondShelter.org comes to mind and http://www.lafh.org/services/emergency.html

If you do happen to stay in the San Fernando area, my wife may be able to introduce you to her employer in Northridge as a CSR Insulin Pump Support.

My contact email is: 411Pro@gmail.com my name is Jeff of
North Hollywood

Jeff,

I am overwhelmed by your response to me in my situation. No one can tell me that that is not God working. I am grateful for you and your desire to help. Your positive thoughts in my direction have already started to set things in motion; you better believe it!

I will take a look at the links, and thank you, again, for your helping hand. I do not have paypal- is it required for one of the business opportinities?...Tell you what, I will email you and we can pick up this part of the chat then (-=

God bless you, Jeff, and thank you ( I know....AGAIN) for your consideration of me (-=

Roz: On Monday, 09/29 the Verdugo Job Center will have representatives from Marshalls interviewing and taking resumes. Marshall's is opening a new store on Brand Blvd. in Glendale. They're interviewing for all kinds of positions - maybe they would a management path for someone as well-qualified as you and also maybe for your husband. The Verdugo Job Center is at: 1255 South Central Avenue in Glendale, phone number: 818 409-0476, fax: 818 409-0496. The people at VJC are great. I lost my job on 06/09/2008. I just got a job offer on Friday. The job I lost was at $61,000 and this one is at $35,000 but at least I'm going to be working. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you. Terry

Terry,

Does the term a day late and a dollar short ring a bell? (-= My fault, not yours, of course. I missed this opportunity, but I have gained the positive thoughts and energy sent from you just by extending the opportunity. I have said before, and I will say again, you didn't have to respond. But you were compelled to, and I am grateful for that voice within you that wanted to reach out to me. You have no idea how valuable your consideration is. I pray that you receive the same ten fold!

Look Roz, I we have a less than $35,000 a year income. I have a house and a family of three(my wife, my daughter and myself. What is the different here? Yep only the pay. I work and I go to school full time and make myself marketable if I were to loose the current job. I learn to live simply and never been to a movie for the last 5 years. Sometimes my income increases and sometimes it goes lower. But we have always have something for the rainy days. I live comfortably with what I got. No fear of loosing a job because I can work a minimum paid job and still carry on with what I got. I don't believe in paying over $20 for any concert ticket or any football game. Why should I make all these people rich? Why not make myself rich by not going to all these events and invest what I have saved?
So tell me Roz, what is the different between you and me.

Hi Josh!

You are correct that the pay is a difference between you and I. And on so many levels, there are other differences. I don't want to loos sight, though, of what I mentioned about how at the core of everyone's story- we are all the same. Even people (okay, a person) I know who has millions of dollars is struggling- on a much larger scale, but feeling the crunch none the less. It's crazy. So, I don't know if you were supporting me with your insight, or challenging me, because the tone of your response was hard to detect.

I think you may have been eluding to the idea that I should be able to make ends meet just fine, because you know how to budget and survive with what you've got, so why can't I? For the record, wether I am on the street or in a house, I will be making ends meet with what I've got. Again, not much of a difference between you and I in that sense, either. Truth is what I got, ain't enough. And trust me, it's nothing a $20 concert ticket once or twice a year would be able to bail me out of. But to your credit, that is the way of thinking that we MUST begin to embrace in order to make it through these times and the times to come. We have to stop thinking, "Oh, it's only five bucks...go ahead and buy that CD, " or whatever the vice and price is.

You also mentioned that you have no fear of loosing a job because you can work a minimum wage job and make ends meet. So could I, if I weren't constantly told I am over qualified for minimum wage positions. And you know what, you're carsh darn tootin' I am over-qualified! But I want to work just like everyone else...and can't. Correction; I have yet to. If I haven't scared you away with all my exclamation marks (I was not screaming. Well not at you, anyway (-= ), take a look at my second blog, and let me know your thoughts. I need the perspective, and appreciate the food for thought....

It's a real and frightening fact, and I am not the only one, so I have learned.

I do think you have touched on a very important aspect, and yet another difference between you and I; I never made any important investments. I think a lot of Americans have also failed to practice discipline and use that extra notch towards invesments instead of dining out or a trip. I really can't argue with you there.

Roz,
I will be praying for you and your family. Please contact me so that I can get my feelers out on your behalf.

Angela, former co-worker.

I also work for the Los Angeles County Office of education I think that I can help you to find employment. Please contact me and email me your resume.

I live in Monrovia and saw the story tonight as a repeat.

It is good to see the many gestures of information, resources, leads, etc. in the above comments. Just when I get to thinking all civility has left our metropolis, I come across something like this story and find there are a goodly number of people with genuine goodwill. I trust your situation has turned for the better.

Best to all involved!

Dear Roz,
Your story was aired on Oprah through skype today. I had a friend of mine call me from another state telling me that she believed that I needed to know about your story.
I quickly looked you up online, and found these articles, and the video clip.
I would like to be in touch. There are some things I would like to share with you. I realize that you do not know me, but please pray about contacting me through my email address.
In Christ,
Storie

Roz,

I saw your story on Oprah yesterday and submitted a Craigslist posting to find you. A gentleman directed me to your blog.

First, let me say that I connect with your story on a personal level, and in time I found hope and promise for a better future, and I know you will too.

Second, I am a consultant. I have some work you may be interested in and want to provide you with additional information. On Oprah, you mentioned your passion for training and development. Please respond at the e-mail provided and advise if you would be interested in exchanging numbers. After a few brief questions, I would be happy to connect with one of my local partners in Moreno Valley, California (although location is not a primary concern).

Hope to hear from you soon.