Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Days of Our Worklives: an unvarnished look at work today. Part III: Adam's Story. Episode 5: Stick That in Your Eye!

Part III: Adam's Saga

Episode 5
Stick That In Your Eye!

In the previous episode, Adam left the career fair wondering if there really were any good careers left. 

He put on his reflective jacket and helmet with built-in taillight, got on his reflective bike, turned on the flashing LED headlight, and headed home, musing on what the hell he wanted to be when he grew up.

Despite musing, Adam was paying attention, really. But when the car door opened right into his bike, Adam could not have avoided it. The door knocked Adam off his bike, with his eye landing right onto the narrow end of the headlight. A direct hit.

Fortunately, after just a few seconds, his vision returned to normal and he was otherwise fine but Susan and Ben insisted he go to the optometrist just to be sure. They looked on Yelp and found the highest-rated local optometrist that had lots of reviews. Anyone could have a shill write one or two positive reviews or a competitor could write a negative one to try to destroy him or her. But someone with a lot of ratings, mainly 5-star, plus detailed narrative reviews, is a good bet. Dr. Michaels was an hour away in Seattle but everyone agreed it was worth it.

In the waiting room, Adam was somehow scared. And he wasn't put at ease when Dr. Michaels came out. While professional, he wasn't exactly warm, nor was Adam calmed when Michaels put Adam in a machine that "will make a map of your retina."

But after the exam, Dr. Michaels said, "Everything is perfectly normal." Then Adam relaxed and asked, "Could you fit me for contact lenses? Glasses are dorky. Girls don't like them."

Dr. Michaels tried various lenses: "Better lens 1 or 2?"  until they seemed so similar that Adam couldn't tell and, again, he felt stupid.

At the end, when Dr. Michaels was writing the lens prescription, Adam was now fully relaxed and reflecting on the experience: He was fascinated by what Dr. Michaels did: all the gadgets, the precision, and that he could, just by writing a prescription, make you see perfectly, and without glasses. And you didn't have to be socially polished and you can still get 5-star ratings.

So Adam decided to ask Dr. Michaels about his career. Nearly everyone likes to talk about their career, especially if they're good at it, so Michaels was pleased when Adam asked, "I'm thinking about becoming an optometrist. What's best and worst about it?" 

He replied, "You help nearly every patient, there are few night emergencies, pay is good, there's prestige, it's low stress, and the technology is always improving so you can help more people. The only bad part is it requires a lot of school: 4 years of college and 4 years to get your Doctor of Optometry, although there are 7-year combined programs."

When Adam returned to the waiting room and the anxiously awaiting Ben and Susan, he was smiling. "I think I want to be an optometrist. Oh and I'm getting contact lenses!"

Susan asked, "Are you sure you'll take care of them? You're not exactly the neatest person in the world."

"I will. I will.'

Ben asked, "Are you sure you won't lose them?"

"I won't. I promise." 

The next episode is HERE.

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