I used to sell cowboy boots.
Having been hired as a part-time sales clerk for the holidays, I worked hard, and when the holidays were over, they hired me full time. Months later I pushed the issue and got the job of assistant manager. Several months after that, my boss had a temper tantrum one day and what do you know? I became the manager of a western wear store in a mall.
I had felt very lucky just to get the job to begin with. Times were hard, I was just coming out of one of my crazier relationships, and just had to get a job somewhere, doing anything. It happened to be that I wound up at the mall looking for a job. You can just walk from store to store and put in a hundred applications right there, so that was what I was doing. Upon walking into the western wear store, there was an employee there that I’d gone to high school with, and he was my ticket.
As things progressed and I worked my way up to the management position, it appeared to me as if this job was a “sign” from above. I was really good at selling and enjoyed it, and I could handle all the responsibilities of the job. I decided that retail was the way to go, so I began to investigate my options. Soon, I found a school in Miami that had a program for “retail merchandising”. (This is the person who decides what items to place in a store) I called and got some information, and then made my plan. My vacation was coming up, and I decided that for my vacation I would go to Miami, fill out all the paperwork for school, and set it up to start in January. The lady on the phone was nice and helpful and said if I would come down, it would be a chance for me to see the school, meet some people, and she also assured me that I was a shoe in. She’d make it happen.
One day at work I got a phone call that was really strange. It was from a friend of a friend who I hadn’t seen in several years. We had never even really hung out. I remembered who he was and he explained to me that he had just been thinking about me and so he had tracked me down. He said “I’m living in Atlanta and if you ever want to move here, you can stay here until you get on your feet.” So I thanked him and after some small talk, and assuring him that I appreciated his offer, we hung up. This guy had never even been to my house, he had never been a close buddy, I just didn’t know what to make of this call, so I blew it off. I had plans.
The day before my vacation was to start and I was to go to Miami to make arrangements for school, I got fired. Its a pretty complicated story, but none of the details of it really matter, so I won’t bother you with those. What mattered to me at the time was that even though the store was doubling its sales over the last year, even though I worked tirelessly and endlessly, and did everything by the book, I got fired. My boss said “Look we know you haven’t done anything wrong. As a matter of fact, you’ve done everything right, but I still have to fire you, and I am going to say the reason is “mis-handling of company funds.” I got fired for stealing money that I didn’t steal, and they knew it.
I was truly devastated. No store in the mall would hire me after this. Who would hire me after this? My plans for Miami and school were shot, because my plan had been to work the rest of the year, get the bills paid, and continue the sales increase at the store. I’d get a huge Christmas bonus, and then I’d be off to Miami and school. My entire world crumbled in an instant and I saw nothing but the ashes. I went home. I went to my parents house. I called my close friends. What would I do?
Suddenly I remembered that strange phone call that had come a few weeks earlier. I hadn’t bothered to write down the guy’s number because, why would I have? I didn’t know the guy and I already had plans for my life, and they did not include living with him in Atlanta until I “got on my feet”. But now things had taken a turn. There was nothing for me in my hometown and my plans for going to Miami were shot down in flames. So now it was me that was tracking him down. “Hey it’s me, Kyle. Things have changed and I want to come to Atlanta after all.”
I put everything I could into my Honda Accord, and then called a few friends. “The door is unlocked and I am gone and I’m not coming back” I said. “If there’s anything you want, just come and get it. And off I went to Atlanta instead of Miami.
Oh I have a thousand and one great adventurous stories to tell. It was still a year and a half before I’d have my “self-realization” that I have had the honor of sharing with so many people over the years. But I went to Atlanta, and stayed with this guy until I got on my feet.
This is a perfect of example of how “the worst thing that could happen turns out to be the best thing that could ever happen” so why would I have a sour taste in my mouth about it? Tonight as I write this, I cannot help but smile. It is a happy and light smile, not a dark and angry smile. I don’t hold anything against any of those people, because… if it weren’t for them, I might be in fashion merchandising today. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but… what I got is better!
Kyle Shiver is a husband, father, inspirational speaker, meditation guide, healer, visual artist, and musician. If you’d like to have Kyle visit your church or Yoga center, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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-THis blog is a continuation of THIS blog which appeared earlier this week.