Every Monday is tough. Back to the grind, another 5 days of work before the weekend, wondering what the DREAM job really would be…the grass always looks greener on the other side. I love having a business of my own, I’m proud of what I built. There are days I wish I worked for someone, wishing I could leave work at work. I wish I could have the ability to wake up in the morning and take a personal day to stay home and do stuff for the house, meet my kids for lunch, or just get a paid day off. Owning a business of my own doesn’t really allow for that. However, every Monday that I dread coming in, I end up having the best day and some of the best conversations with some of the best people out there. I’m absolutely an introvert, but in my office, I love to talk and get to know people. I especially love listening to people. I didn’t realize after 4 years of optometry school that the most satisfaction would come from truly getting to know people – all the while still using my skills and knowledge to give them the best possible eye care.

I am always asked if I knew what I wanted to be when I was a kid. The answer is YES! I always wanted to be an eye doctor. I’ve worn glasses since I was 5 years old and going to the eye doctor always seemed fun. Dr. Wilson was her name…my sweet eye doctor who wore fancy earrings and always gave me something to look at when I was leaning into that large microscope. She wore clip ons – as big and obnoxious as you can imagine. I wanted to be just like her, I wanted to wear cool earrings and give my patients something cool to look at when they sat in the slit lamp. When I forget to wear my earrings, it makes everything more complicated.

The whole profession of Optometry seemed so clean, so rewarding. There were no needles, there was never any pain or discomfort when I went to the eye doctor. I always left her office smiling and seeing better every time I made my yearly visit. And I had the ability to have a new look every time I got glasses. Now, my parents were control freaks and they made the decisions for me – picking out my glasses and making sure I had the most horrendous and goofy glasses possible, but everyone in the 80s looked silly as well, so I didn’t notice then.

I worked a few years in retail optometry and I hated it. I never saw the outside, never developed relationships. I worked in a dark room all day, every day. Everything was so rushed, it was all about the numbers…so, I quit and decided I wanted to go ahead and work for myself. I immediately knew that I wanted to have an office in Baxter Village. I wanted windows so I could see outside and I wanted a neighborhood feel. I wanted to take my time and do what I was supposed to do and practice to my best ability. I wanted to be the boss!! So, I did it, and here I am. I’ve been at In Focus Eyecare for 11 years now. My first day at my own business was my 30th birthday. I was pregnant with my son and ready for the challenges ahead. I had everything set up and now I had to see if anyone would come. I got ONE phone call that day. I was so excited that the phone rang I was grinning from ear to ear. It was just me. I had no employees and I did everything from scheduling, to performing the exam, getting glasses picked out, filing insurance and checking out. Those days feel so long ago and my staff no longer allows me to answer the phone, because I don’t even know how to schedule an appointment. Today, I have an amazing team that helps me get things done quickly and correctly. They are my friends and my co-workers and without them I could not function.

What I love most about owning my own business? It’s mine. I am especially blessed to have a hard working husband who makes it possible for me to have a practice that doesn’t bare the burden of supporting my family. It affords me the opportunity to spend 30 minutes with each patient, to listen and get to know them, to understand their medical and lifestyle needs. I feel like patients are a part of my family. I love the connection I make with people, the fact that they trust me with their personal lives. I love seeing young patients grow up, going to college, getting married. I also love that my patients are happy for me when I take time off to spend with my family. This practice is my third child, and it is my most difficult child. It has taken a lot of time away from my family and my two kids over the years…but it’s paying me back now.

Wishing you lots of love, health and chocolate,

Dr. Neff

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