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What Career Would You Have Chosen If Not Ophthalmology?

What Career Would You Have Chosen If Not Ophthalmology?

By Joel Hunter, MD

What would you do if you weren’t an eye surgeon? This is the kind of staff question that I can’t imagine has an answer that anyone would want to know. Our clinic director Kate, though, says if I don’t blog she is going to let the air out of my tires so that I can’t go home. She believes in candor as a powerful writing tool. It truly is.

The last career I dreamed of before being an eye doctor was being an executive chef. My wife is a wonderful chef and watches the Food Network enough that their advertisers get their money’s worth in attention even if it is just her. I watch the Food Network with her sometimes now. It has made me realize that there may be no career I would have been worse at than that of a chef. For one, it seems really sweaty (maybe that’s just in the competitions though). Also, I realized late in life that I have the palate of a 1960’s mid-westerner.

My three qualifications for a delicious meal:

1. Is it a casserole?
2. Does it have Ragu sauce in it?
3. Does it have unique spices and herbs?
(Answer key: 1. Yes 2. Yes 3. No.)

So, chef is out. When I really think about it, I’m almost sure that I would have become a college professor. When I’m really stressed, that is still the job I daydream about. I would like to wear coats with patches on the elbows. Having a chalkboard with several large vertically moving pieces seems wonderful. It doesn’t even matter to me what I’d teach as long as it was chemistry, biology, physics, history, or astronomy. I don’t even really know a lot about astronomy, but don’t let that get in the way of this thought experiment.

I just thought of another one. Owning an outdoor gear company seems like a lot of fun. I’m sure owning it would be stressful (“We’ve ordered too many yellow tents!”) so maybe just working at one would be nice. I’m one of those people that likes having outdoor gear probably more than I like being outdoors. And I really like being outdoors.

So in conclusion, I’m glad I’m an ophthalmologist mostly because it means I’m not a chef that serves terrible food.

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