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    Why making connections is vital to your optometry career

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    I have been fortunate in my career to meet some amazing people: optometrists, ophthalmologists, editors, those involved with industry, and several others along the way. One of the things I enjoy most about the profession is working and collaborating with many to help advance the profession and continue to move it forward.

    Although I frequently find myself shaking hands and continuing to meet several new individuals, I wasn’t always that way. There was an experience that changed the way I looked at human interaction and that sometimes dreaded process of introducing yourself to new people.

    Related: Develop a culture of mentorship

    The awkward silence

    It was September 2001, and I was in my fourth-year rotations. I was a student of the New England College of Optometry and was at the East Boston clinic for my second of four rotations. It was the morning of 9/11, and I still remember the awkward silence that started while I was seeing my first patient of the morning.

    This clinic is located very close to the airport, and as such, we constantly heard a silent hum of planes in the background. This morning was different because the sound that we were so accustomed to hearing was gone. That silence was what made that morning so awkward. Shortly after that, we all had realized what was happening and, in shock, gathered around a computer in the back office to see what was being reported about the horrific event.

    More blogs: The ROI of an MBA for an OD

    In addition to the horrifying things that occurred that day, it created a significant economic unrest throughout the country and the world. It was two weeks later that I would call the ophthalmologist that I was planning on practicing with after graduation. Much to my surprise, the opportunity that I thought I had was eliminated. The main reasons, according to the practitioner, were concerns of business instability because of decreased LASIK demand, patients not purchasing glasses, and decreasing reimbursements for eye examinations. 

    Next: Finding the right opportunity

    Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO
    Dr. Mile Brujic practices in Bowling Green, OH. He also owns Optometric Insights, a service providing career coaching to optometrists.

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