You’ve just graduated, pharmacist license on its way via snail mail. Your classmates and peers flood the market, clawing and scratching for every job offer.
What used to be several full time job offers per year for every candidate, has now been cannibalized to dozens of part time positions for half as many people.
With hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt looming over you, it can be a scary thought to not find a job.
How are you going to manage that debt before it compounds and capitalizes?
What if you only get offered a part time job with no benefits? What if they offer you less than you expected?
You’ll hear about pharmacists looking for work, picking up odd jobs, and floating per diem for years on end. That can’t be me.
You fear the shame of being categorized with the nameless few who didn’t secure the stable full time job.
Congratulations, You Got The Job
Luckily, you do manage to seal the deal at the last interview with a big corporate chain. Buckets of sweat, internal ulcers, and lots of smiling and handshakes required.
In such tumultuous times and overwhelming competition, earning the job offer shows that you’ve successfully showcased your character and core competencies.
All your hard work has finally paid off. Sleepless nights, endless cups of coffee, and painful studying all lead to this point.
There’s only one caveat: the company offers you nothing less than a Pharmacy Manager position.
In this moment, fear and uncertainty take hold of you. You’re momentarily paralyzed, stuck at a crossroads between comfort and aspiration.
You initially plan to be a floater or staff pharmacist for a while. Also, you hope to learn at your own pace, maybe even under the guidance of another seasoned pharmacist.
This is quite the dilemma, and you can’t help but think the offer is too good to be true.
You hadn’t even entertained the thought of managing a pharmacy or leading a team. You probably haven’t even verified your first prescription yet, and now they want you to be manager?
You’re ready to play the part of clinician, but you’ve also heard the stories of terror and all the war casualties of your fallen pharmacy comrades. The attrition rate of Retail Pharmacy Managers is a very real phenomenon.
When you’re a new student, it’s hard to ignore the widespread whining and warning of fellow pharmacists. Every person will have an opinion about something, but the last thing you need is someone else telling you how to navigate your own career.
Yes, the Retail Pharmacy profession is saturated, hostile, and unforgiving. Every day, people whine, burn out, and quit retail pharmacy because the demands are so high and the working environments poor.
But that doesn’t define the profession, but rather a segment of it. Talk to the successful pharmacists, and you will hear a different story. Who do you identify and choose to assimilate with?
Be careful taking advice from the pessimists and cynics of Pharmacy. Complaints and negativity have root causes, but following that trail will lead you down a dark road.
It will also lock you on a path to self-destruction.
When confronted by the masses, ask yourself, “Do I look up to these people and aspire to achieve what they have?”
If the answer is “No,” then why would you consider adopting their views and methods?
“Being a Pharmacy Manager isn’t worth it,” they say. “The pay and prestige doesn’t make up for all the extra work you have to do.”
They’re basically saying, “You’ll never be good enough or happy enough, so just quit while you’re at it.”
Or even worse, “I could never be successful at that. Want to follow in my footsteps?”
I recommend you find a different mentor and role model.
Take Time To Clarify Your Goals
If you’re still reading this, that means you’ve tuned out the white noise of negativity. Time to get work done.
With your offer in hand, whether verbal, written, or emailed, I encourage you to showcase your excitement and respectfully decline to accept right then and there.
That’s right, refuse to answer because you have not yet thought it through.
You may be tempted to accept the offer right away out of courtesy, maybe even out of desperation.
But nothing can hurt you more than a wrong decision that you haven’t clearly thought out.
The company has all the leverage in the job market right up until the point of offering the position to you. That’s because there is a lot of risk once they extend the offer.
They can’t extend offers to multiple people because their budgets don’t allow the extra risk. Onboarding and training is very, very costly.
Lots of paperwork, discussions with HR, and background checks go into making an offer, and resources have been spent on you.
Use this to your advantage.
Ask for more time to think it over and agree on the appropriate time to give them your final decision.
This is a big step in your career, and you want to make sure you make the right choice.
Discussing the job specifics and weighing all your options at home will enable you to think more clearly.
Make A Purpose-Driven Decision
PharmD’s who pursue clinical positions in hospitals or other institutions very well know that their basic degree is not enough to succeed.
Retail Pharmacy is no different, except that business acumen is the measure of success. Your PharmD does not prepare you for success right out the gates.
So, ask yourself, “What do I really want to do with my PharmD? What kind of work do I want to do?”
Does solving clinical problems for critical patients stir your faculties?
Do you want to practice on a broad healthcare level with many disease states or on a deeper level, diving into pathophysiology and complex mechanisms?
Does business ownership and leadership interest you at all?
Take the time to reflect and make the career decision for yourself.
If leaning towards accepting the Retail Pharmacy Manager position, you must realize that you will never be fully prepared.
How can you without another 4 year degree in Business and Leadership? But good leadership does not depend solely on knowledge.
It takes the willingness to learn, be proactive, and to ask for help. If you can do these three things consistently and in a positive way, you will succeed in whatever you want to do.
I challenge you to listen to your inner voice. The one that no one hears because they’re too busy talking over you.
Tune out the voices of those who work grudgingly and without passion. Whatever you do in your career, do it with head held high, owning each failure and success.
Business Tips for The Corporate PharmD
- Tune out the negative advice from peers and those who couldn’t make it
- Take time to clarify your goals and values
- Accept a job offer on your own terms
- Always ask for more (money, benefits, training, time to make a decision, etc.)