Worked for an OD for 2 years, and before that worked with an Ophthalmologist who had an OD on staff.
I also became interested b/c it is a clean profession, flexible hours, able to work and still still be able to support a family. OD's make good $$, and the EYES are one of the most interesting parts of the body to study!
**Volunteering at the Blind Children's Learning Center (Helping a child with low vision)
**Observing the creativity implemented in Vision Therapy (What looks like a game can be helping someone to work both their eyes at the same time)
**Doing vision screenings at the Special Olympics (some athletes have incorrect prescriptions and can't compete to the best of their ability--You can change that)
**Pre-testing at a private practice
**Helping someone put on contacts for the first time......and the look on their face as they stare into the mirror (I remember my first time. I was so happy!)
**Seeing how much people enjoy their visit to the optometrist as opposed to a hospital, clinic or Dental office.
**Helping people choose frames (You can have some fun with this)
**Being able to take the afternoon off in a group practice to watch your kid's soccer game (The Doctor I worked for always did this)
**LOW LOW LOW stress (I don't need any)
**Very stable--When are people not going to need help with their vision? (even with lasik, optometrists still do pre-op and post-op)
**Nifty gadgets and instruments
**You can really get to know your patients (People come in who have been with the doctor for 20 years)
**You can be a doctor in 4 years
If you need more reasons, you can ask me....I have more
I am pretty sure I posted what got me started in optometry here in the past, but for the record I will state it again.
It was July of 94 and I was frustrated at my current job. I went to the mall looking for part-time work to help make ends meet while I went to Purdue. I asked at the Customer service desk for a list of who was hiring in the mall, and it turns out LensCrafters was.
I thought "surely you have to have some sort of speciality training for that" but what the heck, I went and applied anyway. I got hired for the lab and thought it was a great job to get me through school, till I got my "real job".
I really loved what it was I was doing. No other job has made me feel like I can and actually have on occasion make a real difference in people's lives. I wanted to know more. I took all the trade journals home, cornered the doc whenever I could. I sought out other sources of information on optics because I found it so fascinating.
After I graduated I got me a "real job" and a few months later quit. Even though I was making more money in my new job, it just didn't offer that same sense of satisfaction my old one did. In fact I became so unhappy that I begged for my old job back at LC. This time on my terms, with a slight raise and better benefits.
(I ended up doing that 2x)
I ended up moving to Seattle to attend grad school for a dual MBA/MPA degree. By this time I was doing everything but the exam itself. I worked as the doctor's office manager but I also did frame selection, dispense, and still on occasion made the glasses...besides pretest, etc.
I was running a bit behind and let the patient know that I would finish putting everything in the computer but another associate would be dispensing to her when she came back, because I had to go to school. She wanted to know if I was going to optometry school, and when I told her no; that I was studying for a MBA, she said it was too bad cause this was my calling. That my mannerisms and profeciency in my current field showed I really loved what I do and was good at it too.
Her words really stuck in my mind, and got me to thinking seriously about things. I talked to my General Manager and Dr. Hamideh about it and they both smiled and said "we wondered when you would clue in on it!" I laughed and I became focused on it from that day.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to take all my prerequisites to gain admittance to optometry school yet. When I went to Purdue I didn't really know of the option of optometry in the science area and switched majors from science to law my sophmore year. I loved science I just didn't want to be doing lab work my entire life, I wanted to work with people, and I never felt like medschool was for me. I want a life, and I have a child, and I am not willing to sacrifice being a mom to have a title behind my name.
I do think one day I will be able to go. I am currently working on a promotion that will allow me the extra time and some extra funds to put aside for that effort. And in another year I should be able to borrow what I lack from my 401k to make up the rest. So I have a plan, and I hope all of you stick to yours as well.