“Sorry, Ma’am. Like, I mean, you came in at 8 o’clock. I had worked without a meal break for 12 hours and still had two hours to go. The urinary tract infection keeps flaring up. Like, I mean, what do you expect?”
This is a short excerpt from the best thing I have written for pharmacists. ”The Prisoners of Comfort”.
Recovery is regaining Your Power
Essentially, the miserable pharmacist is wretched because they choose to be unhappy. There is a choice every single day to be proud of what they do or to blame the job because they are not happy. They don’t even use the best tool available to them. That tool is anger!
Anger is fuel. It is not the bad thing that your parents said to suppress as mine did. “Jimmy, nobody needs to know you are angry. You should control yourself.” We feel anger and we become frustrated when we hide it because we want to do something about it. This goes against the image of the calm, in-control professional. Instead of showing the anger, we stuff it and chug Maalox and take two 20mg omeprazole every day.
How would it look if we showed that we were angry? At work, you don’t hit that someone or break that something or throw that fit. If you smash that fist against the wall, do it in the bathroom where no one can see that you are out of control.
What we do with our anger is deny it. We stuff it so far down that we forget what makes us angry. We are institutionalized and we believe that we should not get angry. We lie about being angry at the store manager. We hide our anger at the lack of technician help. We do not express our outrage to the district manager. Doesn’t he know that it is his precious customer service that pays the price?
Some of us hide it so well that we medicate the anger and filch the occasional lorazepam to hide it even better. We are professionals and professionals are nice people. We bury our anger. We block it and we hide it.
What we do best with our anger is lie about it. Unfortunately for our spouses, we lie so well that we often take our misery out on the people we love (or are supposed to love) the most. We do everything but listen to our anger.
Listen to your anger. That is what it is meant for. Anger is not a polite request. Anger is a scream. It is a command. It is a slam of the fists down on the table demanding your attention. Anger has a right to be heard. Anger should be appreciated and valued. Anger must be listened to if you are to regain your professional balance and power. Why? Because anger is an atlas or a chart or a diagram back to living the ideals you had when you were in pharmacy school.
Anger reminds you of your boundaries and limits, the areas where no one was allowed to tread without your permission. If you can set up the periphery of your professionalism in just one area, more will follow. If you list only ten serious drugs that you will counsel on no matter what, your list will be twenty in little time. If you let the store manager know in writing that his touching you at anytime, in any manner, is unwanted, you will regain enormous power and control over your own life on the job. You can gain power simply by refusing to get wet underpants because you neglect going to the bathroom when you have to go. Documenting anything at work that makes you uncomfortable will give you surprising control.
Anger shows us where we want to go. We may not know exactly what we do want on the job, but our anger tells us, without ambiguity, what we sure as hell do not want. That is a really good place to start because anger shows us where we have been and sets us on the course of recovery. Anger is not a sign of disease. It is a sign of health. If you no longer get angry at being institutionalized, stop, take a deep breath, and examine how you will find your way back. I contend that you will find that the first sign of recovering your health, well-being and pride will be anger. Welcome it. Savor it. It is not very healthy to act out from anger. That is childish and not productive.
So, what can YOU do with your anger. You can whine and complain. Not productive. Whining and complaining is childish. You can throw your keys at the manager and scream, “Take this job and shove it”. Not a really good idea when there is no paycheck next Friday. I enjoyed reading this by Angrytech11. Nothing new, but if we keep on sticking this into the ribs of CVS Pharmacy personnel something is gonna give. Do you think? There has to be 20,000 of you, just pharmacists. What about that kind of power do you not understand?
This was posted by Angrytech11 at CVS-Profit$ Over Patient$. Why are so many people at CVS angry? Or Angriest?What good does it do to be angry?
Friday, January 18, 2013
So by this point the entire company has been converted to the newest brainchild of the CVS Ivory Tower boys-WeCARE. The motto was something along the lines of “Helping us work more efficiently. So we can care more”, or some such bullshit. This is somehow meant to convince us that because of this new workflow we will have all sorts of extra time to actually take care of customers. This philosophy, while certainly an ideal, is also completely unattainable from this new workflow. It has meant more pressure on the techs and the pharmacists to reach more time-related goals, all the while doing it with fewer hours budgeted. Let’s not even talk about the fact that since the program rolled out the system has crashed at least half a dozen times, leading to countless hours company-wide where we were unable to service ANYONE IN ANY MANNER, Tell me how this helps us “care more.”
The situation as I see it is that the workflow in a pharmacy is a little like transferring liquid from one gallon bottle into another gallon bottle by using a funnel. The problem was the receiving bottle (representing the customers) wasn’t filling up fast enough from the feed bottle (representing the prescribers) because the capacity of the funnel (representing the pharmacies) was limited, Now logic would tell you that if you want to eliminate the slowdown you would increase the capacity of the funnel (put more personnel in the pharmacy). However, the fucking geniuses at corporate have reasoned that the way you improve the flow is to pour the liquid faster out of the feed bottle. Anyone who has ever tried this method realizes soon enough what happens when you do that–you spill shit all over the table.
Now add to this fabulous formula the fact that they have actually REDUCED the capacity of the funnel. Technician hours have been cut across the board by 10%, no doubt due to the notion that the new workflow is SOOOOO much more efficient that they don’t need as much help. Where they came up with the conclusion that the system works better is a mystery to us all. One thing we know is it didn’t come from the system developers’ vast experience working in the stores. They are in the Ivory Tower and they have absolutely no fucking clue as to what it’s like in the stores. All they know is that they spent millions of dollars developing and implementing this program and they have to find some kind of cost savings to justify it, so they cut labor hours to pay for it.
Once again what’s going to happen is that everything will just slide along as is until there’s some tragic event that comes from the fact that the new system puts more pressure on the stores to perform more work faster with less personnel. When people start dying because of the added pressures that the system puts in the stores then they might take a look at it. More likely is the real possibility that they will do whatever they need to to blame in-store personnel. They will never look at their own house to discover if perhaps things could have been done differently, In the past the operating philosophy has been to try to deflect blame. I remember a few years ago there was a death related to a mis-dispense and the company released a statement the press in a question and answer format. When they got to the question of “Does CVS time their pharmacists?” the answer was classic dance-around-the-truth bullshit where they tried to give the impression that pharmacists aren’t timed or measured on their time. Anyone who knows the stores knows that nothing could be further from the truth. The whole bonus system for pharmacists is based on speed, not accuracy. The new workflow brings this into sharp focus.
More work being done faster by fewer people–a corporate manager’s wet dream. A recipe for disaster in a pharmacy, however.
Larry J. Merlo, CVS-Caremark CEO 2012 compensation. Cash: $7,869,838.00, Stock: $6,500,004.00, Options: $3,750,001.00 A Grand total of $18,119,843.00 If you work for CVS, if you fight the District Managers, if you get nauseous about the metrics and mind-sick over not doing your job as a pharmacist, this has got to kill you. Larry Merlo is getting close to $50,000.00 a day. That is close to $6,500.00 an hour in an 8 hour work day.
This is coming right out of your hide and all you can do is whine. I know. ”But, Jay Pee, you don’t understand. I have mortgage on my 3,000 square foot house on a wooded acre lot. My wife drives a Lexus. My Mazda Miata is my dream. We have car payments. My kids go to a private school. I mean, like, you know, Jay Pee.”