Signe Bäckmark cannot express how satisfied she is with her job as an optician. She first did a bachelor's degree in drama to work as a schoolteacher, but now she is 100% convinced that it was right for her to retrain and pursue a career in the optical industry.
At Specsavers, she gets the opportunity to help people every day, and that's what she likes most about the job. “It is incredibly satisfying to go home from work and know that you have helped someone to a better life,” says Signe. “Good eye health and vision are crucial to people, and many do not realise their significance until they face issues. However, they’re very grateful when we discover effective solutions.”
Signe says that in the past year, she has had several patients whom she has referred to an ophthalmologist. “We are constantly discovering medical conditions that cannot be solved with glasses or contact lenses. It can be glaucoma, retinal detachment, or diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. During eye exams, strokes can be discovered. Last year we had to call an ambulance for one of our patients.”
“One of our customers approached us complaining of double vision. Upon examination, we determined that vision wasn’t the issue. After consulting with a doctor, we advised the patient to be urgently admitted to the hospital due to a suspected stroke. The ambulance went straight to the hospital. Fortunately, it went well, thanks to immediate treatment.”
“When I was 17, I got a job as an assistant at the Specsavers store in Stange outside Hamar, located on the eastern shore of Lake Mjøsa, the largest lake in the country. A few years later, I moved with my boyfriend to Kristiansand, where he was planning to study. I went to Specsavers and got a job as a shop assistant. I spent two years in a permanent position and met Ingrid and Pernille. Ingrid Stenersen and Pernille Bringsdal are store owners, and they changed my life.”
“First, they sent me on an optical dispenser training course and then inspired me to apply to study optometry in Kongsberg.” Due to her talent in the field, Signe was named clinician of the year at Kongsberg. “I think it's so exciting, I'm almost a bit of a nerd when I perform eye examinations,” Signe adds.
Signe works as an optician at Specsavers on Henrik Ibsen's street in Oslo. This particular Specsavers branch is situated opposite the Royal Palace. We asked her about her experiences working at Specsavers and what she shares with friends and acquaintances about the company.
"First and foremost, Specsavers is known for its friendly people and positive atmosphere. That's how it has been in all the Specsavers stores I've worked in. It truly feels like being a part of a close-knit family. It's like reuniting with old friends when we attend classes or seminars and meet with former colleagues. Specsavers is also excellent at supporting us with various training courses, development programmes, and information, ensuring that we continually grow and stay at the forefront of professional development in our industry.
What sets Specsavers apart is its operating model; it fosters a sense of ownership among employees, encouraging everyone to give their best and take pride in their work.”
“Right now, I'm happy with what I do. I want to work and keep developing as an optician. What truly satisfies me is when I can successfully address people's needs, like finding the perfect contact lenses after several attempts.
I have a two-year-old son with his own demands, so at the moment, I'm not considering further professional development, such as owning my own store. However, maybe sometime in the future, I'll explore those possibilities. We'll have to see," Signe concludes.