Why join your state opticians association, your national optician’s association or other professional associations? According to social scientists, belonging ups our Satisfaction With Life (SWL) quotient.
One of the lessons learned from living through the COVID-19 pandemic is that people need people. Who are our people? For most of us, family and personal friends are our people. “We tend to identify with groups that share our values, interests and life priorities, as well as those who support us in times of crisis, and we can see how this would link to happiness,” states Dr. Juliet Wakefield, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University and the study’s lead researcher, examining the psychological effect of belonging to groups. She goes on to say that their research “taps into knowledge that is deep within all of us, but which we often forget due to the fast-paced and achievement-focused nature of modern life—that to be your best self, you tend to require the support of others.”
Research into the link between satisfaction with life and the effect of belonging indicates that those who are members of one or more (more is better) groups, clubs or associations reap the added benefits of higher self-esteem and happiness. Furthermore, professional association membership can have a direct impact on your success in your chosen field. Associations and optical groups can be excellent resources to look for job postings or network with other professionals. Attending events in your field/industry builds a strong sense of professional community, and it’s a great way to have fun meeting new people. Finally, one of the most valuable aspects of becoming a member of the OAA and your state association is the opportunity to mentor, share your knowledge and experience while gaining from the experience and wisdom of your fellow opticians and educators. There are many groups that an optician can join and become part of their professional community: the Optical Guild, the NAO, the NFOS (if you are degreed) and more.
I want to highlight the Opticians Association of America (OAA). The OAA is our national organization representing the opticianry profession, business interest, educational interest, and legislative and regulatory interests. Their mission statement says it all: In essence, the OAA is the collective voice of the opticianry industry. The ongoing mission of the OAA is to work with members, partners and other professionals—both inside and outside of our industry—to ensure that opticians receive the recognition, respect, opportunity and protection they deserve.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” –Henry Ford.
• Deborah Kotob
Pro to Pro Director