“Most people have no idea how interesting eyes are, how complex they are and how special it is that we can see.” For years, Iris de Jong needed glasses or contact lenses to be able to see clearly. Until she had her eyes lasered. “It was a great feeling not to be needing my glasses the first time I woke up after lasering,” the 29-year-old account manager laughs. “Because of this experience, I understand better than anyone how beautiful my job is; how rewarding it is. I can really make a difference.”
At the age of 15 Iris was done washing dishes at a pancake restaurant and decided to take on a job at her father’s shop. “He was an optician and every Saturday I helped him out with some small tasks. Pouring coffee, cleaning up, managing the cash register – that sort of thing.” On those Saturdays, her love for the profession started and the foundation was laid for Iris’ future career. Therefore, an education in Optometry in Utrecht seemed a logical step. While Iris’ father mainly focused on measuring the necessary glasses or lens diopters, Iris learned everything about the eye. “My father is the reason why I work in ophthalmology, and he too finds that very special.”
Before joining Ophtec, Iris worked as an optometrist in an eye clinic for almost four years. “Patients came to me with complaints, after which I looked into the cause of their complaints,” Iris explains. “A great job in which I learned a lot. Yet, after a while I was ready for a new challenge.” She briefly considered moving abroad – “after all, I can do my job anywhere in the world” – until she came across a vacancy at Ophtec. “It was quite a gamble. I had the right background, but I had no idea whether the position of ‘account manager’ was the right fit for me. Still, I decided to take my chances.”
With success! Iris has now been part of the team of account managers for more than three years. What does her average day look like? “Gosh, do you have a minute?” Iris laughs. “On one day I visit customers such as ophthalmologists, clinics, and hospitals. Or I’ll be working at relationship management – strengthening ties with existing customers and approaching new potential customers. On another day I do lens calculations or watch an implantation surgery in the operating room. No two days are alike.” Over time, she has built up a large customer base. Mainly in the The Hague area, where she lives. “This means I can’t be in the office in Groningen every week, especially not when it’s busy,” Iris says. “But when I’m in the office, I immediately visit all the departments, and enjoy my lunch with colleagues in the canteen to catch up on everything. The people at Ophtec are so nice. I am always full of energy when I drive home from Groningen.”
It is not only the colleagues who determine Iris’ happiness at work, but also the freedom that Ophtec offers. “Of course, my work has to be done in time, but I have the freedom to schedule my calendar as it suits me. When I visit a conference that ends late at night, I will stay in bed for an extra hour the next morning.” Moreover, the freedom and opportunity to further develop oneself are also important for Iris. “You can decide which field you become an expert in. That’s cool, isn’t it?” Within her team, Iris is known as the lens specialist. “Multifocal lenses are just what I find most interesting. Also, of course, because of my background as an optometrist.” Due to that background, Iris can really think along with patients and doctors. “I don’t just sell a product, I also offer my experience and insights; I advise the doctors as much as possible. When I get a message about a patient who can finally read without glasses, I get such a kick out of it. That’s why I do this job!”
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