Dear Dr. Faizal,

I am a Licensed Optician. I LOVE my career. I work at two Optometry clinics and founded a mobile service. I’m not ready to close my business but I am losing my confidence at it because my eyesight is failing by way of irreversible retinal degeneration. I am thinking positively and looking for new ways to run my business. I can still see but am losing the detailed vision I need to do my job independently. Should I close my business?

– But I Love My Career

Dear But I Love My Career,

It’s so wonderful to hear that you love your career. I presume that you have worked very hard for many years and are dedicated to the work you do. Such dedication sometimes leads us to believe that we will always continue to play the same role that we have appreciated for so long.

Appreciation for one’s career can sometimes be a double-edged sword; it’s wonderful when you can actively participate in it but it hurts when you realize that you are, over time, unable to perform all the duties you used to and that things must change (in your case, you’re considering closing your business).

As a Licensed Optician, you’re legally and ethically obligated to offer the best possible care for your patients. Anything that may obstruct or hinder optimal care could be harmful to your clientele and to you, as a professional. I applaud you for recognizing that because of your failing vision you are unable to do your job “independently.”

But all is not lost as I see it! You have three assets to help you transition to the next level of your career: a positive mindset, knowledge, and many years of experience. Here’s how you can have your cake and eat it too.

Many professionals who, because of advanced age, disability or lack of confidence, etc., would no longer prefer to work independently. So, they choose to join forces with others. Perhaps you could also, instead of “closing” your business, expand it by forming a collective with other opticians and/or hire interns. You could leave the examinations that would require detailed vision to the other clinicians and you could still be an asset to the practice by greeting your patients and performing more consultation-based responsibilities. A setup like this would be a win-win for all involved: your patients would still feel safe in the familiarity you have provided for so long; your associates/interns would benefit from your vast knowledge and your established clinic; and you would still be an active part of a career you love!

You could also expand your love for, or interest in, the optician field by putting on a slightly different type of lens. Why not become a mentor to up-and-coming optician students by way of guest lecturing at – or even joining the faculty of – a college or university? Future opticians will regard you as a model figure as you would be providing a much-needed service to students, which would increase your confidence as a professional and as a valued individual!

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