Optometrists are strivers.
They strive to learn about eyes and how to take care of the patients they belong to. They strive to carve out career paths, build their practices, and polish their reputations. They strive for financial success, independence, and—usually—enough savings and investments to retire on and enjoy the balance of their days.
They build résumés that are the records of their strivings—the “professional virtues” they scurry about collecting like early morning beachcombers scavenging for shells, sharks’ teeth, and jetsam.
Even though I am well-established in my career, entering the “bell lap” even, I keep my professional curriculum vitae (CV) up-to-date.
Because you just never know.
Previously by Dr. Brown: Blog: How I learned to stop worrying and love tech refractions
Recently, though, while attending the funeral of an optometry school classmate, I was reminded that in the end, “professional virtues” pale in comparison to “personal virtues.” The latter are the lifelong record of what kind of person an individual is as demonstrated by his words and actions. In short, the things people say about a person in his eulogy.
John Keriotis, OD, a member of our Class of 1990 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, was the first of us to die, but he will not be the last.
Although mention was made of John’s professional career in his online obituary, I noticed that on the day of his funeral, not a single person I heard talk about him—including his priest—mentioned he had been an optometrist.
At first, it struck me as odd. But as I listened more, I realized what was happening.
Because John made the wise decision to put love above all else, I was hearing the oral recitation of a résumé so greatly weighted with “personal virtues” that it had flipped upside down and become an inverted pyramid.
It looks something like this:
Also by Dr. Brown: Blog: Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth