I’ll never forget my first lesson in retail pharmacy as a fledgling tech-in-training.  We all have one or two career-altering moments.

Mine just so happened to be on Day One of pharmacy life.

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I walked into the pharmacy for my first day on the job with my chest held high.

Time to turn on beast mode.

I said hi to everyone as I walked into the pharmacy, and a deafening silence followed. Something felt wrong as the pharmacist greeted me and introduced herself as the floater.

Panting and out of breath, she says, “I’m not from this store,” as if she had to explain herself. I introduced myself to the other two technicians.

Shortly after, I discovered the reason behind the eerie atmosphere I just walked into. Both of them were also tech trainees just completing their training curriculum, same as me. Today’s pharmacy all-star lineup consisted of one floater pharmacist and 3 tech trainees.

What in the world is going on? 

Next thing I knew, the pharmacist put me in charge of Drop Off and then sent one tech home. Apparently, he couldn’t handle the stress.

No big deal; I’ll just customer service the heck out of everyone.

As the day went on, my deficiencies compounded. With each insurance problem, my Drop Off line continued to extend from the back of the store all the way to the front.

Finally, the floater pharmacist pulled me aside and said, “Just type everything however you want, input everything as 30 days supply, and I’ll fix it.”

Because of me, clinical safety and regulatory compliance went down the drain. 

Regretfully, no matter how big I smiled or how much I colored my voice, it couldn’t make up for the over-promised wait times and highly probable medication errors.

My poor floater pharmacist.

Looking back on my career, I’ve been blessed to never have such a disastrous day occur on my watch as a pharmacy manager.

To this day, I use this momentous experience as my benchmark moment of strength, my secret weapon in times of great adversity.

As a result, I also have great admiration for any tech trainee wanting to enter this profession with no background or experience.

I know just how tough this job is and how scary the retail war zone can be.

But this is also how greatness is forged.

Certainly, no retail experience would ever traumatize me again.

Nothing can phase me now.[sta_anchor id=”biztips19″ /]

Business Tips from The Corporate PharmD

  • As a new hire in any company, make sure to get specifics about how the training program will be conducted
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade; even if you suck at it, you’ll still learn something
  • No matter how bad the situation is in the moment, keep one eye on the horizon
  • View failures as stepping stones to an ultimate goal


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