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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

L.A. Security Guard’s California Dream Becomes Minimum Wage Struggle

Angie Fiedler Sutton |
April 30, 2014 | 10:22 a.m. PDT


This story is part of Neon Tommy's series, Wage in L.A., which explores how Angelenos survive on the state's minimum wage of $8 an hour, and how they feel about their jobs.


Coming to Los Angeles to follow your dreams is not a new story. But for one man, there's a bit of a twist. He didn't come here for his dreams: he came here for me, his wife, so I could pursue graduate school at the University of Southern California.

For Rich Sutton, the search for a job became a story in itself. While he currently works the night shift as a security guard for a car impound lot in northeast L.A., it's not what he wants to do. Working security was what he had done at his last job, and he had hoped that a new city would yield better job opportunities.

His search for a job was stressful - especially since he couldn't find something right away. Money got tight, and the stress of the situation strained our relationship.

Night shift security work is the type of job where Sutton hopes nothing happens. He is by himself, which means that if anything happens to him, there's not much that can be done. As the days turned into months, and the stress increased, he started relating to the concept of those cars, rusting away.

In the end, we came here for the adventure, and because we knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And Rich? He says his purpose is to be with me. His dream will stay the same, whether we stay in L.A. or not.

Contact Contributing Writer Angie here and follow her on Twitter.

See Rich and his security work here:



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