The Office – A School In Itself

So, I live by the belief that everything should be a learning experience. Just this past week I’ve learned why Hull has earned the nickname “dirty Hull”, walking long distances in the cold is totally worth it for poutine, that sushi is made differently depending on each individual restaurant, eel (that’s right, eel) is delicious, and that going all out on your first workout after 4 months probably isn’t the best idea.

While I search for a job I’ve been working in my dad’s optometry office to help ease the stress of one of his employees being away on vacation early. I spent half of my summer working here already so I’m already pretty well versed in how everything functions. Working here, even part-time, gives me a lot of experience that I might not otherwise get from being in school or working in a retail job.

I’m essentially the tech guy in the office, but I do a lot more. If you’ve been to the optometrist lately then you probably had a pressure test done. You know, the one where the machine blows air into your eyes? Ya. I get to work that machine. People love me. I also do a lot of filing (not an easy thing to after that aforementioned workout), faxing as well as making the occasional phone call.

Workin’ the 9 to 5

For me, working an actual job where I am in the office from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. is a huge contrast from both high school and college. Getting experience in an office environment let’s me get a taste for what life after school might be like depending on what kind of degree I end up getting. Working has so far been a lot less stressful then school, but at the same time I still feel like I’m falling asleep at my desk. At least with college I could go back and sleep at noon after two classes. Now I’m here from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then back from 2:30p.m. to close. The great thing is that once I’m done for the day, I’m actually done for the day. No essays, assignments, or studying. I could definitely get used to a job that I don’t have to take home with me.

Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

My job involves a lot of interaction with people. I bring patients from the waiting room to either the machines or the exam room. I have to instruct people on how how to place their head in the machines, where to look, and sometimes, if they ask, what I am doing. By working here I am quickly developing a professional decorum with patients while also overcoming my natural introversion. Of course I was professional with the patients when I began, but it took some time to learn the proper responses and information I should be giving the patient without first referring to my supervisor.

The difficulty of working in an optometrist’s office is that the people I work with are, a lot of the time, anxious even before I bring them to the machines. No one is ever excited to go to the eye doctor and because of this they can be a little difficult to work with. This actually gives me a great opportunity to exercise everything I learn here each day through my interactions to help ease the patient’s concerns.

Goin’ Old School

Did you know that people still use fax machines? My mind was blown when I discovered this. Up until I started working here there was absolutely no internet. (As the “tech guy” I finally got it started up) Because of this I need to learn how to use some old school equipment, such as the fax machine. It puts a smile on my face to hear that old dial-up signal every time I use it and gives me a great appreciation for my high speed internet and e-mail.

If you are like me and didn’t know your cell phone could actually make phone calls instead of just sending texts (slight exaggeration) then you might also not be the best phone conversationalist like myself. Being socialized with the ability to send words instantly to someone else, I find using the phone to be one of the strangest things. You might laugh and call me weird, but unless I’m e-mailing or texting I find it odd to be talking to someone that I cannot see. It also requires that I have all the information I’ll need to have a successful phone conversation the moment I make the call, unlike e-mail or texting where I can come back to it later

Don’t I always say to try new things?

This week is no different. You might be saying to yourself “I never want to work in an office.” This might be the case, but it can never hurt to give it a shot. It might be good just to try it to confirm that it is not for you. If anything it will look good on your resume.

As a student it might be difficult to find an office job since we’re mostly used to filling out grocery store applications or dropping off a resume to an employee at the cash. There are resources you can use though. Try looking for a youth and student employment centre in your city. Beginning around March these centers will begin helping students search for summer employment all over the city.

Anyway, I guess today is Christmas eve. Merry Christmas to all celebrating and an equally merry day to those who might not be. You’ll hear from me one last time before the new year, but until then you can follow my holiday adventures on Twitter or YouTube. If anything, my “Where’s Waldo” video and tweets complaining about the weather or my lack of sleep will keep you somewhat entertained.



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