Job shadowing is a fantastic opportunity to get a real-life look at any potential career. In the medical field, job shadowing is very common and in many cases a built-in requirement (residencies, apprenticeships). After talking with some of my friends about job shadowing (one, who was infinitely deterred from becoming a doctor after one fateful day), Ive learned the importance of experiencing a day-in-the-life of an optometrist, before committing several years to study.
However, accordingto several trusty pre-optometry sites, job shadowing sets you apart and is a great step towards a letter of recommendation.Thus, Im still very much on the lookout for an optometry job shadow. Ive got a solid lead and should have an update next week!
In the meantime, Ive interviewed a few optometrists!
A close friend and her mom have been comparing me to their optometrist friend for many moons now. Eventually,it occurred to all of us that I should talk to her! She practices at Spectrum Optometric in Virginia now, but spent most of her professional years in New York. Lisaloves her career path and emphasized the flexibility, calm atmosphere, and autonomy that she enjoys. Some of her best friends are the ones she made in optometry school and she keeps in touch with them. Her only major hiccup in owning a practice is running the business end of things, but she finds it manageable.
For a future optometry student, Lisa had extremely practical advice around working/studying hard (particularly for the OAT), picking an affordable school, and being patient because time flies. We had a spirited debate over how quickly a decade goes by. I was on the what an inordinate amount of time, it will take forever side of the argument and she insisted that time will fly by, absolutely fly by and you might as well invest in the career you like.
Lisa also had to go back and take her prerequisites while working and before applying to Optometry school, so it was nice to hear her perspective. She was very encouraging and warm and after only one phone discussion she seemed confident I was suited for optometry and with my personality, I would find it easy to get clients. Always nice to hear!
Jeff Woerner, OD Oculus Eyecare
Jeff opened Oculus Eyecarein 2016, its located in the South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle. Seattle friends with vision care needs should check it out. Its the most stylish, modern optometry office Ive seen and they have a reputation forexcellent patient care and quality, unique frames you cant find anywhere else in the city. Jeff experienced variousoptometry fields including pre- and post-operative patients, leasing a space from a corporation, before landing on owning apractice. Jeff was candid about his experiences in different industries, which was very helpful to me. In particular, he emphasized that you have to try different things and that you can go in any direction with optometry, whether that iseducation, surgical groups, pediatrics, or vision therapy. Opportunities to specialize are vast and worth exploring. Ive been thinking about aging & eldercare, because I remember how important it was for my grandparents to be in touch with their optometrist as they got older (had him on speed dial!). I asked what advice Jeff had for new optometrists and he said,
You have to grind it out. If youre working hard, good things will happen. And care. There is always room for motivated people who care in any field.
Im enormously grateful to Lisa and Jeff for taking the time to talk to me about their careers, I got a lot out of both interviews.
I also looked up some optometry jokes out of curiosity. If Im being generous, I would saysomething is missing in the written delivery but see what you think! Check outOpticianonline.net.