Optics: A Career with Confidence
A fulfilling career is empowering. It builds confidence and helps us find our true potential. This feeling extends far beyond the workplace, because success anywhere makes thriving everywhere seem that much more possible.
Meet Sarah Hobaugh. When Sarah, 33, applied to her first Optics position, she didn’t know much about the field. She thought it was just another random manufacturing job to pay the bills and help support her young daughter and husband. To her surprise and delight, Sarah found something so much deeper. As she grew into her blossoming Optics career, Sarah was also growing into herself.
“I can use my skills in a way I never thought I could and become the powerful woman I've always known that I was.”
From Off-Grid to On-Track
The path to a career you love is rarely a straight line. It definitely wasn’t for Sarah. After working a few jobs that never felt right, she and her family moved to rural Oregon and lived off-grid as caretakers of a 24-acre plot of land. But since her daughter was getting older and purchasing a house there was out of her budget, she moved back to the east coast. It was then that a friend recommended Optics.
“At the time, it was really just a job, but now it’s turned into a career,” Sarah explains. She works on the inspection side of Optics, collecting data, running tests on lenses, and working with technicians and engineers on how to best improve the parts. She especially loves the collaborative nature of her position. “About three months in, I was transferred to the shop area, and I just fell in love right there.”
The Tools to Succeed
This collaborative aspect of Optics makes it easier for newcomers, especially those transitioning careers, to gain familiarity and comfort with the work. Sarah’s company paid for her to go to school while she worked, a common practice in the field. This allowed her to dive deeper into Optics while simultaneously using what she learned first-hand in a supportive work environment. “I had three mentors,” Sarah says, which gave her “permission to spread my wings and reach out to different goals.”
“My job has given me everything that I need to do well,” she adds. “Everybody is basically really good friends, and it feels very family oriented, and we all have a lot of fun together.”
Thriving Career, Healthier Mindset
As a self-described “big picture thinker,” the work was an ideal match for Sarah. Her job requires close examination of lenses to determine if they pass inspection or need to be rejected and she had a knack for it.
Her career also allows her to teach since many Optics instructors also work in the field. “I started teaching really because I absolutely love what I do, and I like to mentor people,” Sarah explains.
Sarah’s growing confidence at work has spread to other aspects of her life, specifically having a positive impact on her mental health. “I’ve been at my job for a little over five years, and with the help of therapy, support of my husband, and upwards career progression, my depression has lifted.”
Studies show that doing what you love can improve your mental health. According to a 2015 study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine, when you engage “in interests you enjoy, you’re more likely to have lower stress levels, a lower heart rate, and a better mood. You’re also more likely to engage in the world around you.” For Sarah, finding a career she loved helped her direct those positive feelings to herself.
“I’m kind of just growing into myself and becoming a whole person again,” adds Sarah. A fulfilling career is much more than a paycheck. It’s a path to self-discovery. “I would define Optics as empowering,” she explains. “I can use my skills in a way I never thought I could and become the powerful woman I’ve always known that I was.”
"I've been at my job for a little over five years, and with the help of therapy, support of my husband, and upwards career progression, my depression has lifted."