The Vision I Needed for My Dream Job

By Enrique Palacios
August 16, 2016
MAn with beard in white lab coat

It may seem like an unlikely career path, going from working at the Auto Care Center at Walmart to becoming a professional eye doctor.

Ten years ago, I would never have guessed that I would be headed into optometry. Ten years ago, I didn’t even really know what optometry was.

What I did know was that Walmart offered its associates opportunities to experience different types of jobs throughout the company. So once I completed our Management Training Program, I worked in several different departments. Each of them was interesting in a unique way, but nothing felt like the perfect fit.

Then a friend mentioned an opening in the Vision Center, and it was like a lightning strike. I immediately knew this was the direction I wanted to take. A colleague who was mentoring me saw my excitement and urged me to go back to school. My wife and I talked about it over the next year, and finally I took the plunge.

Within two years I had become a licensed optician, able to dispense glasses and contact lenses. It was a big step, but I knew I wanted to go further. So we packed up everything and moved to Memphis, hoping that I would be accepted to The Southern College of Optometry. Sure enough, our faith paid off and now I’m an associate doctor of optometry – finally doing something I’m passionate about.

I love helping people. I love putting that first pair of glasses on a kid, and watching his or her eyes light up, being able to see clearly for the first time.

Even though I have a lot of responsibilities, I still have the flexibility to spend time with my family. I’ve been incredibly blessed. And I can say with complete honesty had I not had that job changing tires at Walmart, I would not be where I am today.