New Beginnings

 photo credit: changeboard.com

photo credit: changeboard.com

I can't stress enough how important work life balance has become for me since having a baby and finding that right balance between the two.  Retail pharmacy isn't the easiest for working moms as you're obligated to work nights, weekends, holidays, and during hurricanes/blizzards - you name it.  That leaves little room for family. It might've been easier when it was just us two and no baby, but burnout is huge and especially with a little one at home... it takes a toll on you physically and mentally. It's just draining and exhausting where I have little to no motivation to do anything when I get home but to just decompress.  We have plenty of vacation/personal time that we can't get approved off.  We aren't allowed to call out sick because there is no coverage yet at one point we have had plenty of floaters; floater pharmacists that had hours cut back and eventually quit because they couldn't afford to work 24 hours a week and pay bills/school loans on that salary. We are constantly working understaffed, no lunch breaks, no bathroom breaks, standing on your feet for 12 hour shifts, dealing with difficult customers while administering immunizations, patient consultations, keeping verified time under 15 minutes, and all trying to meet corporate metrics.  Pharmacist just don't count pills or slap a label on it.  We are monitoring drug interactions, making sure dosing and therapy is appropriate, preventing opioid abuse and therapeutic duplications while maintaining and upholding quality patient care .  We as pharmacist have a dual liability of what we fill and if there was an error on the doctor's part that we did not catch, we are the first to get reprimanded - not the doctors.  Unfortunately, that is the reality and retail pharmacists are being spread thin.  

So many pharmacy schools are pumping out pharmacists in an already saturated area and that makes us easily replaceable. What is trending in the world of retail is that companies are pushing out older "slower" pharmacists to make room for faster younger pharmacists who are eager, who are power hungry, and out to prove themselves.  When I say older, I have colleagues who are in their mid 40s who are afraid of their jobs because they may not be as fast as they used to be.  I may not be able to speak for all, but I feel the culture of retail is changing to where we are all expendable at any given time.  There is no longer job security or any recognition but more of  questions of 'why aren't you doing more?' with less - (less hours, less help, less support). 

I can honestly say that I had great store managers and district managers supporting me and helping me grow my career through the years. But after working in retail for 17 years (8 years as a pharmacist) in the same company, the right opportunity came along and I knew I had to take that leap. Every retail pharmacist has that dream of leaving retail in hopes of a more positive work environment where work life balance is key.  Finding that right work environment and network to support your career and life at home is where we all want to be (in the present and future).  It is attainable - with the right job.  I actually interviewed twice for this position and got rejected the first time. 🙃 But I guess my determination and perseverance paid off for what I really wanted.  I found it kind of awkward to reapply for the same position that had opened up again but it couldn't hurt right? If I don't put myself out there and go for it, I would've never had this opportunity come up (and it doesn't happen often). I had to compromise on some aspects of this new job ($$) but everything was screaming WORK LIFE BALANCE! It has been my dream to work for a PBM (pharmacy benefits manager) or insurance company working that cubicle life, Monday-Friday, no nights, weekends or holidays. I'm super excited about this opportunity and new area of pharmacy.  Not because the hours and positive work environment is great (okay, huge plus!) but I'm grateful that someone gave me that chance. It's super hard to break out of retail pharmacy when that's all you have on your resume.  I can only further my career from here and be able to focus on making lasting memories with family and friends.  

Certain things catch your eye,
but pursue only those that capture the heart.
PROVERB