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Big thread on Optom as a career, from optometrists

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    As I said in another thread, i'd post some opinions of those who are optoms to help any considering it as a career path:

    (Original post by optom)
    I find optometry very rewarding and enjoy it. I have made if quite varied so don't find it boring at all, but I'm sure others out there do nothing but refractions one after the other and that would do my head in.

    I think I could have had other careers that are more financially rewarding but there can't be that many that let you work 9-5.30 and be relatively free from worry after that time.

    Any career involves getting out of it what you put in so if you work hard you'll find something that you will enjoy and will pay your bills I'm sure, but there are serious concerns about over supply in some areas but some parts of the country it is very hard to find decent Optometrists so you will get work if oyu move.
    (Original post by optom)
    With hindsight, I'd likely not do Optometry if I had my time again; I'd probably get a proper job and be a plumber or a sparky!
    Ultimately, you are judged by how much money rings through the till. Sometimes I'm told I'm a great Optom (££££££), other days not (££) - this p!$$es me off!
    All the sales nonsense aside, I do enjoy the job. Yes, it is repetitive, but if you genuinely enjoy talking to people and build long-term rapport with the patients this far outweighs the monotony of 'Lens 1... or lens 2? Look up, now look down'
    (Original post by optom)
    I really regret choosing optometry and would strongly encourage you to reconsider.

    For 90% of us, our jobs aren't about helping people. Naively, I also believed this would be the case when I chose it. Rather, optometry is about selling glasse. We undercharge so much for our sight tests (the public won't pay anymore as they're used to the multiples doing £5 or even free sight tests), that we have to sell glasses in order to keep our doors open. The majority of optoms these days are employed by multiples, where they receive daily pressure about conversion rates, sales per dispense, KPIs and targets. Our managers (who are senior to us) don't care about what's in the patients best interest - they care about meetin sales targets and getting bonuses.

    Occasionally weekend work? You will be working every weekend. Every Saturday, sometimes Sundays too. It's rare to find an optom who doesn't work weekends. In additional to that, most of us also work late nights until 9 or 10pm. Getting a weekend off is the holy grail. I'm constantly missing out on birthdays, christening a, get-together a or even just a standard Friday night out as a result of this. I don't feel like I have a work-life balance.

    Not to mention how boring this job is. It is so repetitive, and most patients are just here to change their glasses. The same thing, day in day out, twenty patients a day (who each have two eyes, so make that 40!), is mind numbing. I'm brighter than this. I'm so intellectually unstimulated and bored to death.

    Salaries. They have been on a constant downward trend for 15 years. The number of optometry graduates is ever-increasing (specsavers funding more college courses, resulting in more optoms and more competition for jobs - hence downward salaries). For the grades I needed to do optometry, I could just have easily become a doctor or a dentist or many other things, and be earning double or triple what I earn now.

    Not a day goes by when I don't regret my decision, and the majority of my peers (we graduated in 2009) feel the same. Think long and hard about it. Get lots of work experience, particularly in the multiples as that is where you are most likely to end up working.
    (Original post by optom)
    Well that sounds like a tale of woe, but isn't the case for everyone. We enjoy a 4 day week of relaxed consultations with our clients helping them in their eyecare journey, where every day is as varied as the people that come in. Yes, sure, there are things that can be repetitive and occasionally dull, but even racing drivers have the same old steering wheel and pedals to contend with whenever they get behind the wheel.

    It is a relatively straightforward easy career in a comfortable environment with endless opportunities ahead of you if you wish.

    The commercial aspect of the work is a part of life - everybody has to justify their existence - optics is no different in that way.
    (Original post by optom)
    I am a locum and have been locuming ever since I qualified a few years back. If you have a car and willing to travel, then there is a lot of jobs. Locum rate is anywhere between £250-300 week days and £300-350 or sometimes even more on Saturdays. This all depends on company.

    I only work 3 days per week due to family commitments and I'm always finished latest 5:30pm. It's a 9-5/5:30 job which brings a decent salary if you locum. I don't think I would ever go down the permanent route as I like the flexiblilty of locuming, you can choose your own days, have holidays when you want etc etc. Also, locuming doesn't come with all the pressures of conversion and hitting targets...

    I would say go for it! It is a very secure career and ample of work around
    (Original post by optom)
    I enjoy the job and enjoy most patients.

    I am employed in a nice independent practice and work 9:00 to 5:30 and have been in the same practice for 9 years, so I have built a rapport with thousands of patients.

    If I had my time again, would I choose Optometry? I'm not sure.

    The only thing I dislike (in fact, absolutely detest) is working Saturdays. This is becoming more of a factor as my kids get older. I have worked every Saturday for over 10 years now (maybe 6 off per year for holidays). This is something that I wish I had considered. I will encourage my children to do a Monday-Friday 9-5 job that doesn't involve weekend working, where they can "work from home" as well.

    The grass is always greener....I have friends who are dentists who earn way more money but moan about the job more than me.
    Hope these help
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