I have been recently asked, why do I choose to educate myself? The best answer I can give is I want simply to know more about the profession I love. Plato is quoted to having said “all learning has an emotional base.” I feel that my passion for the optical industry requires me to learn as much as I can about it. I’m 42 years old I have been in the industry for over 23 years, I started with learning lab work, then moved into optical sales, then learning the medical technician side.
My first job was at a chain franchise, then went to the biggest corporate retailer for a year, and and now I have been employed at an independent shop for the last seven plus years. You name it, I’ve done it in the optical industry.
I truly love what I do. That passion motivates me and requires me as an individual to do as much as I can. Some feel that the education for our industry is necessary only to keep your job. Even though my state (New York) is a licensed state, requiring only 18 hours of CE/ 3 years, I still go beyond…. our industry now more than ever before with the technological advances, online competition and new products…. I feel we as eyecare professional and I as an optician need to keep educating ourselves to compete in todays marketplace. Education will help us gain respect from consumers, education will help us build respect from the media, education will help gain self respect and respect from our peers.
Plato’s “all learning has an emotional base” should be our touchstone. I encourage those who work in our industry to find something you are emotional about, that strikes your interest, that you can find passion in. Let it be the frame, the lenses the fit and adjustment or just simply wanting your clients as excited as you are about their vision. Become attached to that idea and become involved in your learning. Attend CE classes on that topic. Then assign yourself homework.
Personally I research the articles that the speaker refers to during the class, then find peers that share your excitement. I love perusing on line forums such as face book groups, The LEF and it’s website www.luxuryeyewear forum.com I also enjoy OD’s on Face Book along with Optiboard. If nothing else, you will discover your next subject to learn. Be the best you can be. I truly feel that if we elevate ourselves that we will elevate our industry.
My current focus: learning about high fashion and the luxury concept of a dispensing optician. I have learned that luxury does not always have to be a high price tag. Although that can be rewarding in itself. Luxury is truly about the experience we give our clients. From the greeting to the delivery and the follow up. Every client deserves an experience that they will remember.
As the market for low quality online sales grow and our profits are shrinking we need to show that we are different and better. That there is a reason why the client buys from us the independent optician. The best thing I have learned is to give them an experience they won’t soon forget. There will be more on this topic in future articles so please check back often.
I encourage one and all to continue to learn. Be the best you can be. If you are interested in rediscovering passion for your job and our industry, please contact me Jody A. Shuler at jodyshuler@gmail (dot) com. I have been in the industry for 23 years and an LDO for 18 of those. I would love to help and motivate.