It was many years ago that a friend told me about a new management opportunity opening up as
an assistant store manager.
He knew that I had become increasingly unhappy in my present job. I’d enjoyed retailing…
starting out as a manager trainee in a large department store and quickly working my up to my
present position of sales manager; but now I was placed into a “big box” type of mass merchandising.
Where there was once the grace of personable service at the department store; there was now a
new breed of retailers, with an almost crass obsession of giving the multitudes what they wanted
… more and more cheap stuff, stuffed to the ceiling…to be replaced by even more stuff, daily.
Not that the prospect of this new management opportunity wasn’t without its own problems. For one
thing, it meant moving to Toronto. And, yes it was for an Assistant Manager (a step up), but for a
vastly smaller enterprise and initially for less money. It did, however, hold out the prospect of a
big payday … someday … as the manger of a store specializing in personalized services.
When I discussed all this with my wife, she simply had said that since it was a career decision, it
was up to me … and since we were expecting our first child in weeks, a decision had better be
That’s how I found myself at the park, by the river where we had played as kids… to clear my
mind… to resolve my dilemma. Praying? Yeah, I tried it before… why not? When I was young, I
remember talking (Is that the same as praying?) to God all the time.
This day found me looking down at the swirling waters, a foot or so beneath my feet, at the
midpoint of a narrow footbridge where the river’s normally placid state actually picked up speed
to form rapids.
Losing hope and feeling more perplexed than ever, I threw the stick I had been holding into the
water, just for something to do. It was then that I noticed, for the first time, the tiny island just a
minute down stream, where the rapid waters swept by each side of it. Just as swiftly I devised a
solution to my predicament! I decided that if that stick that was rapidly being carried to the
island went the right… we would stay… to left, we would go.
It wasn’t scientific; but I was feeling desperately inspired. So, you couldn’t believe my surprise
as the stick neither passed the island to the right or the left, but got stuck on the island itself!
What the Hell … now what?
Prophetically, although I didn’t know it at the time; that turned out to be my one escape route,
relieving me from all my burdens. But that’s another story; and I don’t know if I’m the one to tell
it…decisions, decisions, decisions.