I get a lot from simply asking questions. Listen to this.
I called for a transfer recently. It was a chain and the young pharmacist answered my question, “How do you like working for a chain?”
“I hate it,” he said. “I work too damn hard. The fuckers expect me to get the drive up
between prescriptions now.”
“Well, why not work for an independent?” I should have asked that question to myself in the 1980s and 90s when I was toiling as a pharmacy manager for a chain. They expected
me to work 12 hour shifts.. (I had already been diagnosed with Progressive Post Polio
Muscular Atrophy) .. on my feet all day long, gobbling salty snacks and too much coffee
for my meals, running to the bathroom, literally, with my underpants slightly wet because I dribbled from waiting too long. You get it? You do the same thing.
“Money! I can’t get the same money from an independent.”
This didn’t sound right. “Most independents will pay chain wages.”
“It isn’t the wages. It’s the extras. I have my 401k maxed out. I have an IRA that is maxed out. I don’t have to make car payments. The chain does that for me. They will pay me a new sign on bonus every 3 years when the contract expires. I get a bonus based on performance. I’m still single. I have made good investments. I’m getting out early.
Maybe at 50.”
“Goodness, man. What would the profession do if everyone got out at 50? The shortage is bad enough.”
“Fuck the profession.”
I was thunderstruck. This is my profession that he was talking about. Like many of us, I have a love/hate thing going on with pharmacy, but the love always wins out. Not this young guy, just starting out.
What is this FUCK THE PROFESSION? How many of you early career pharmacists are concerned only about the $100 grand a year, the benefits and the extras? How many of you simply do not give a shit about the profession?
I am getting benefit from the shortage too. I’m an older guy and work only two 10 hour shifts a week. Thursday & Friday. I make a good wage. I love working. If I quit completely it would be like taking the clown out of the circus. I have been doing it for 40 years. I love it and I hate it. At the worst time, I have never even thought FUCK THE PROFESSION.
In the twenty first century, we need to be watchful. This is our profession, not the non-pharmacist middle-management at CVS. I have heard the bloated wage referred to as “hush money.” (Paul T) Is he right? Are they buying you off? Are you not fighting
for pharmacy because you are too damned comfortable?
This is a time for focus. This is a time for stubbornness. For resolve. The profession needs for all of you to take a stand on the little things that matter. A goddam 30 minute
lunch break, for crissake.
I’m too old and tired to take a job where I need to fight for my rights. My boss is good to me. I am too beat up to join a struggle to the death. You’re not. THIS IS YOUR PROFESSION. You are the DECIDERS. You just don’t know it yet. You have the power. You just haven’t used it yet. You can have it any way you want it. I predict that the first chain to treat pharmacists in a dignified manner will not have recruiting problems anymore. Trust me on that. IT IS YOURS FOR THE TAKING. Fuck the guys who say Fuck the Profession.