Colleen Galanti was about to graduate high school when her mom saw a help-wanted ad in the local paper for an optician trainee. “I had no idea what an optician was,” she recalls. But she got the job and hasn’t looked back, and she’s now optician and optical manager at Pascarella Eye Care & Contact Lenses in Eastern Pennsylvania. (She’d worked with Dr. Paul Pascarella at another practice before he started his own.) She’s also the founder of Opticians on Facebook, a popular and freewheeling professional forum with nearly 2,000 members.
My favorite type of patient is one who truly understands how important eyewear is, from frame fashion and fit to good-quality lenses.
My favorite part of my job is simply everything. I work for a doctor who truly appreciates the wonderful staff he has. I love all my co-workers and we are like family. Our patients often tell us how much they enjoy coming to our office. We love to laugh, talk and sing to the awesome music streaming through the speakers: mostly ’70s and ’80s artists on a Pandora shuffle. Our patients compliment our music daily.
My favorite eyewear to sell include Lafont, ProDesign, Coco Song and Ogi. I love the styles, color patterns and enjoy selling independent eyewear that isn’t flooded on the Internet or in my competitors’ shops.
I know a sale is going awry when price seems to be an issue and they are looking to take their Rx. I will usually try to find a way to work within their budget and/or offer interest-free Care Credit. It’s not often that I cannot save the sale.
I am a crazy crafter. Martha Stewart is my hero and I love DIY projects. I can get lost in Michaels or A.C. Moore for hours.
To get psyched up for a day at work, I usually listen to Philadelphia’s Preston & Steve in the morning (on radio station WMMR). They crack me up, and by the time I get to work, I have usually had a few good hearty laughs. Nice way to start the day.
In September 2013, I was looking for an active opticians-only Facebook group to seek advice, vent, etc. When I could not find one, I created Opticians on Facebook. First, I added all my optician friends, then they added their friends and so on. After a year, I asked Dorothy Reynolds if she would help me moderate the group. She has been a huge help to me. Some days it can be a full-time job.
The best thing about Opticians on Facebook is how we all want to help each other. Recently a member posted her dilemma and immediately received problem-solving answers. She was so thankful and another member said, “It takes an optical village to do what we do.” I love that! It’s a big optician family.
I know it’s time to take a few days off when I’m waking up grouchy and dreading work. I take a long weekend and go to Lancaster, PA, or Atlantic City, NJ, with my husband, Joe. I live about 90 minutes away from either place, so it can be a quick getaway stress reliever.
This article originally appeared in the July-August 2015 edition of INVISION.