I went to college and like so many others I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Eventually I fell into an accounting program. I was not particularly interested in accounting, but at that time I was told there was a shortage of accountants and that the pay would be good. So, I got my degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting.
I worked my way through school by apprenticing as an optician during the day under my father, a third-generation optician, and also under my grandfather, a second-generation optician. I would leave work at the end of the day and take my accounting classes at night. The company I worked at was started by my Great Grandfather back in the 1940’s.
As I entered my final semester in school, one of my mentors who was also my advisor told me that if I went on to become a CPA, I would spend quite a few years working mostly alone in an office by myself. Errrr, what?! I did not find that idea appealing.
At this point I did some soul searching and reflected back on my years working as an apprentice optician. I realized that I was already doing something that I loved, and the work was rewarding. It was rewarding because I was helping people see and helping them feel more confident about how they looked. One of the key words in that last sentence is “people.” I realized that I love working with people.
Daily work as an optician brings you in to contact with many different types of people. Your job is essentially to do three things with each and every person you serve. You need to find a frame that fits their face, is compatible with their prescription, and you need to measure them in order to make their lenses. If you want to do this well, you need to know a few things about their lifestyle and their personal style.
When you put all that together it means that you really need to get to know the people that you serve. I love that part of being an optician. I love my clients and all the relationships that I have formed with them over the years. I am grateful for my clients, because they have made it possible for me to continue the legacy that my Great Grandfather began back in the 1940’s.
My clients have also made it possible for me to go on to form relationships with others in this great industry. I love traveling to conferences and meeting other dedicated eyecare professionals. I love meeting eyewear designers who are passionate about designing frames so that opticians like me can find people who will get joy and newfound confidence in wearing them.
Today our company mission statement is “To enhance our client’s confidence through the craft of opticianry.” The craft is sometimes challenging, but always rewarding, and that is why I became an optician.