It Does Get Better Than This

When I was 19, I had the perfect job. Clothes and shoes were my passion, so when I was hired to work at a popular shoe store that also sold clothes, in my mind: I had died and gone to heaven. I figured that it didn't get any better than this. One day, a woman came into the store looking for jeans and found a pair she wanted to try on. I took her item to our make-shift dressing area, which consisted of a sheet tacked to the ceiling draped part way to the floor. If you were trying something on, everyone in the store could see you from the knees down.

I noticed that she had selected a size 8. She was clearly no where close to that size. I politely told her that the jeans ran small, but she glared and in an irritated voice said, "They are just my size." I waited patiently outside while she squeezed herself into the jeans. Strange groaning noises were coming from the dressing room. Finally, she parted the sheet to look at herself in the mirror.

She had clearly performed a miracle by getting the pants on but the zipper was stuck. I could actually see a portion of the side seam starting to burst. "How do I look?" she inquired in a high pitched squeak.

I said that I thought that they were a tad small, and I would be happy to get her another size. She frowned and returned to the dressing and proceeded to try to remove the pants. More noises.Finally I hard a soft voice ask, "Miss, Oh Miss?" Can you help me?" As I opened the sheet, I noticed there was a huge cockroach stuck in the zipper of the jeans.

Its legs were moving a hundred miles and hour in a futile effort to escape being crushed. The look on my face said it all. I was horrified! The woman looked down at the zipper, noticed the bulging squirmy body, and started to scream: "Help! Help! Get me out of these pants, NOW!" I pulled, tugged and strained.

Nothing worked. Finally, I told the woman to lie down on the ground. I grabbed the bottom of the pant legs and pulled as hard as I could while she kicked her legs almost as fast as the poor cockroach! The store was full of customers at the time. You would think that someone would have come to our aid, but all watched to see a screaming woman being dragged across the floor in the dressing area.

Finally, the jeans came off! Instead of thanking me for rescuing her, the woman grabbed her belongings and ran out of the store in her underpants. My manager was furious with me for "assaulting" a customer. I could not find any evidence of the cockroach, which was probably smashed to smithereens.

No one believed me. Not even my mother. I was fired from my dream job.

Now what? Things happen for reasons of which we are not always aware. We usually don't have the ability to gaze into our futures and see what's ahead. Sometimes, losing a favorite job or ending a relationship is necessary to get us going in another direction .

Humans are usually motivated by either inspiration or desperation. Inspiration is more pleasant, but desperation is much more of an impetus in promoting change. Radical life changes teach us resiliency and usually put us on a new path. I know I might have sold shoes for a much longer time if I hadn't gotten fired.

It forced me to look in another direction right away and find a better job. The following are action steps recommended to help anyone who is experiencing a temporary setback: *Look back at a past event where you were forced to make a radical change. Were you confused as to why this event or situation happened to you? *Did you do anything to deserve this outcome? Since that time, what has changed in your life for the better? *Would these positive changes have taken place if you did not have the negative experience first? *Instead of regarding the event as negative, view it instead as a turning point that lead to a deeper life experience.

Sharkie Zartman is a former All-American Volleyball Athlete and is a professor at El Camino College. She is the author of Youth Volleyball,and Shark Sense. For health tips, volleyball coaching, or fun reading,go to .

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