Happy Work Anniversary


It used to be that work anniversaries were typically celebrated on milestone years. After 10 years on the job, a loyal employee might receive a plaque commending them for their years of service. A quarter century’s worth of work might be rewarded with a ceremony at which the boss makes a speech and presents the employee with a gold watch inscribed with their name.

Today, work anniversaries are announced on social media. Hardly a day passes without being notified by Facebook or LinkedIn that we should congratulate some of our contacts on the length of their employment—even if they’re self-employed. It doesn’t matter if the anniversary marks a year, a decade or a whole career. It’s all the same in the digisphere.

These constant reminders make me wonder if these occasions are still meaningful. Do work anniversaries provide an opportunity for reflection for the “celebrant” and those in their social network, or have these events become so banal that they have been reduced to pseudo-events?

To gain some insight into these questions, I contacted a few of my social network contacts who recently had a work anniversary. I asked them what it means to them, how their job has changed since they started doing it, and what keeps them working at the same job or company. You’ll find their responses below.

As for me, I marked the start of my third decade at Vision Monday and 20/20 Magazine last year. The occasion gave me an opportunity to reflect on my career covering the optical industry, and I shared my thoughts with readers in a VM column. In case you missed it, here’s a link to the column.

--Andrew Karp

Dana Cohen, Optician, Owner
Celebrating 42 years at Medford Optical, Medford and Waltham, Mass.

“Wow, I can`t believe it`s been 42 years since I first started. That`s a long time! I started specializing in pediatric eyewear over 35 years ago and have had the special privilege of seeing children grow up into adults and now are bringing their own kids to me for their eyeglasses. It doesn`t get any more rewarding than that.

I was only 22 years old when I took over Medford Optical. At that time, we mostly catered to an adult population. I grew up wanting to be a pediatrician, so I followed my passion and developed the pediatric eyewear specialty. As my pediatric referrals increased the adult business started to decrease. This has been a substantial change in my business since I started in 1976.

I have learned that as much as you would like to be everything to everyone, it does not work. In order to be the most successful in today’s market as an independent eyecare professional you must focus on what you do best.”

Maria Sampalis, OD, Owner
Celebrating seven years at Sampalis Eyecare, Cranston, R.I.

“My office started at Sears Optical and then moved to a private practice. I recently took on a second location at For Eyes as a sublease owner from
Grand Vision.

I work for myself—Sampalis Eyecare. This means a lot to me. I started out seven years ago, and I was a little nervous to go out on my own, but it was the best decision I ever made. I take great pride in being able to achieve the business goals that I want.

I started as an optometrist and have become the CEO of my business. I wear multiple hats for my business but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really enjoy the business aspects of optometry.

I love being self-employed. I ask myself sometimes if I actually worked today. I feel that I'm just chatting with people all day.”

Todd Hostetter, COMT, Dry Eye Practice Consultant, Owner
Celebrating three years at Eye Doctor's Resource.com, Lancaster, Penn.

“I’ve been working in the eyecare business since 1975 and about half of my career was spent working clinically in private offices, university settings and then corporately since 1999. My current work anniversary is for my own business, Eye Doctor’s Resource, where I am a 1099 contractor for a number of manufacturers in the dry eye space. This three-year milestone is huge for me in that I’ve grown a sustainable business in a niche eyecare market, assisting physicians grow the dry eye segment of their practice.

My career began as an ophthalmic photographer, and I parlayed that experience into being an in-office technician, surgical assistant and eventually had a focus in optics and specialty contact lenses. When I hopped the fence to corporate eyecare, my technical background became molded into a sales and marketing guy.

I always like to be at the forefront of technology and helping others. I do the latter with my local church mission work. The eyecare business just stuck after being introduced to ophthalmic photography, with always having the ‘gotta wanna’ drive and being in the right place at the right time. In doing so, I’ve taught many doctors about the newest of many technologies and how to grow their practice.”

Mary Boname, OD, MS, FAAO, Owner
Celebrating 20 years at Montgomery Eye Care and eight years at Ivy Eye Talk, an Education and Consulting Business, Skillman, N.J.

“The 20-year milestone is significant to me. It’s an indication that we aren't just a flash in the pan. My practice has evolved into a wellness/preventive care practice. It’s an established part of the community... a meeting spot. It’s like Cheers without the alcohol. It feels like home to my patients and they in turn feel like family to me.

I started my practice from scratch. It's my baby. It is a privilege and a pleasure to care for my patients and it is truly a labor of love.”

Matthew Gatlin, Vice President, Sales
Celebrating for five years at OVVO Optics, Mahwah, N.J.

“I started in the optical industry in 1988. Early in my career I would work for offices and build them up, streamline their operations, but after two years I would get bored and move on. Usually I was recruited by other offices looking to replicate similar success. But ultimately it become like something out of the movie Groundhog Day. When I got into the wholesale side of the industry I felt that I had finally found my true calling in life and was content.

For me, each day my surroundings changed, and I was faced with different obstacles and opportunities. But again I was recruited heavily by other companies looking for territory managers who could deliver similar results. In 2013, Artur Pilat, president and founder of OVVO Optics, offered me a job as a territory manager in the Pacific Northwest. Most people had never heard of the company since it was in the early growth stages. In the first three years, I opened 256 accounts and was eventually promoted to vice president of sales.

As each anniversary approaches, I reflect back on all the people that have given me the opportunity to help get us where we are today. It took several years for me to find a company that I consider a true extension of my family and a place that I can call home at OVVO Optics. When you are treated with respect, dignity, and like family, it motivates you to naturally go above and beyond the call of duty for the company.”