The Magic Question. Who Benefits? Look Out For Yourself

Jp Enlarged

I was searching for a suitable image and saw this.  I could not pass it up.


Well, perhaps 3 of the 300 (between 260 and 320) who read this today will do this, but the rest of you will say, JP has a terrific observation.  He is simply asking me to wake up and pay attention.  He thinks that I should look out for my own welfare.  It is good advice.  I should do this.  But…Will you?  

I keep reading here stories of good, veteran pharmacists who are being replaced,  assigned to the float team or have their hours cut.  This is after years of being loyal company men/women.  You worked extra.  You missed hundred of lunches.  You took your vacation at the worst time of the year, when your kids were in school.  You worked when your daughter had her dance recital and your son had a game.  You put in 14 hour shifts until your knees locked with pain and your back seized.  You are 6 feet 2 inches (or 5 feet 2 inches) and the pharmacy computer terminal is permanently set for someone 5 feet 8 inches.  You do everything they ask.  You work hard.  You go home exhausted and jump your spouse because he/she didn’t make you what you want to eat at 10:30 PM.  And this is all of the every day stuff you do.

You agree to extra projects and work hard, using your intelligence, education and experience to create value.  What do you get?  A big ATTABOY.  That’s it.  You feel good for a minute, but there is a nag in the back of your neck.  What the?

You failed to ask yourself the question:  WHO BENEFITS.  Who benefits from everything you do?  Is it you?  I know, you laugh so hard you hurt yourself.  If all of the extra effort is not benefiting YOU, why the fuck are you doing it?  Oh,I suppose that they make you believe that it is your job.  Bull shit.  We all know that your only job is to run the Prescription Mill as fast as you can.  Actually, faster than you SAFELY can.  As far as your company is concerned, you are supposed to keep your mouth shut, your ears closed and your eyes straight ahead.  

I don’t want to labor this, but can you see value of asking yourself, “What do I get out of this?  Who benefits if I put my ass out there to get this done?”  If the answer is not ME, why do it?  Why do it over and over again?   That is a serious question and I’d like to now why I DID IT for three decades when I was the manager of a drug store and then pharmacy departments.  For ten years, I was in a bonus situation and I did well. Anywhere from one to two grand a quarter, but my pharmacy was turning a 43% Gross Profit in the early 1980s.  Still, the company benefited more than I did.  

I suggest that you keep a score card.  When you go over and above, ask the question and put your answer in your score card.  After you have been suckered a half dozen times… stop doing it.

It all starts with the question:  Who Benefits.





  1. AnotherJim  •  Oct 28, 2013 @7:25 pm

    My advice to the newbies is don’t ever do anything extra. Keep your bosses expectations of you low. Unless you want to make it to the “Home Office” all your unpaid, no-lunch, take-one-for-the-team, extras will count for shit.

  2. Pharmaciststeve  •  Oct 28, 2013 @8:12 pm

    If you “give” to the corporation to be consider a “good company employee” .. your “giving” will soon become viewed as an entitlement by the company.. and the first time that you don’t/can’t give.. you will be put on their “shit list”..
    Good will with a corporation has a half-life of about 8 hrs.. once you leave your shift… by the time that you start your next shift – or the sun comes up – your “good will” will have vanished. The only thing that an employee can accumulate with a corporation is personal/vacation days and hours/$$ toward your next paycheck.

  3. Dave  •  Oct 28, 2013 @9:06 pm

    I’m a new grad here working for one of the big 3. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a family but I don’t see why being a “yes” man is such a problem. I love picking up extra shifts, it’s more money in my pocket. So I DO benefit from this. The company is the SOLE SORCE OF FOOD ON MY TABLE. When there are so many out of work, why should I complain/ bitch/ moan about not getting a lunch. I get paid damn near 60 an hour, who cares if I don’t get a break.

  4. Peter  •  Oct 29, 2013 @12:42 am

    Gotto disagree here. Do the extra projects, take on the challenges, do all that extra crap. Don’t do it for the money. Do it for the experience. Use that knowledge. Figure out what works and what doesn’t. But more importantly, figure out how to fail small and make small mistakes. Learn to think creatively, progressively. They will smile and pat you on the head, thinking “What a good little pharmacist”. But each time you take on the extra job, project, initiative, etc, you sharpen your most important tool – your brain. And once it’s razor sharp, which shouldn’t take more than 3-5 years depending on the number of projects, LEAVE AND OPEN YOUR OWN PHARMACY. You’ll have learned NOT to be afraid to fail. You’ll have learned that your smarter than most of the people you work for. You’ll have figured out what makes patients tick and how to make them YOUR patients/customers. You’ll understand the marketplace, insurance carve outs, the margins with different plans, which generics give you a great return, where the best locations are and who the best doctors to work with are. You will crush them. So, take on a few projects, why don’t you. What do you have to lose.

  5. Broncofan7  •  Oct 29, 2013 @12:47 pm

    Peter I agree wholeheartedly with your take. I didn’t recognize the opportunity I had as an employee until 5 years into my career but once I realized that I was no longer going to work to perform tasks; I was going to learn the ins and outs of our profession. For others out there I’d recommend working with a temp service for placement in different settings to broaden your professional horizons…..

  6. pharmacyslave2000  •  Oct 29, 2013 @1:07 pm

    Dave, two things stick out in your post, “new grad” and “I don’t have a family”. You probably have a good bit of debt and you have no real responsibilities, so sure work some extra. But it’s a slippery slope you’re on. Once you have paid down some debt and you do have a family, you probably won’t want 60 hr. work weeks. By then, it might be to late. Once you become the “go-to guy”, the one that will ALWAYS takes one for the team then it becomes an expectation, not a favor. That’s the point where you F yourself. The point JP is making here is that you have to weigh what you’re sacrificing versus the benefit received. If you don’t feel you are sacrificing anything, then go for it. Just don’t be surprised when your perceived “good will” is gone and there is someone else to take your spot.
    Peter, BF7, that is a great idea IF AND ONLY IF your goal is to own a pharmacy. I’ll keep my opinions on independent pharmacy to myself, but again, that’s a slippery slope you are suggesting someone to follow.

  7. PharmacyStudent  •  Oct 29, 2013 @1:16 pm

    I was a pharm tech back in undergrad and also wondered what’s the point of doing extra work? I had a vietnamese boss, really good man, who worked very hard for walmart. He would stay past closing time until 10-11 pm to finish up the days work, would come in to cover no shows on his off days, the list goes on.

    I once asked him this question and his reply was “if i don’t do all of this, someone else will”. Most immigrants, including myself, all have that same mentality and we all lose because of this. We lose our health, friendships, and time.

    Very astute, Student. You have a good view. Just starting out. Get ahead. Buy my pamphlet THRIVE AS A RETAIL PHARMACIST. Price reduced right now. You can get it here. Up Above, click on BUY FROM JIM. Buy it, read it, DO IT. You will be in the driver’s seat. Jay Pee

  8. PharmacyStudent  •  Oct 29, 2013 @1:30 pm

    Guess i forgot to add the reason he stayed extra was because the company didn’t let him hire enough help.

  9. Whistleblower  •  Oct 29, 2013 @1:51 pm

    @Dave…being a new grad I’m sure you want to please…maybe you haven’t experience harm to a patient yet or a near fatal error!!!! If you work for one of the big three and you are out to please with the metric portion of the job, which has nothing to do with the role of RPH. I’d like to know more about you Dave…slow store or high volume?? Staffed or understaffed? What do you see as your biggest challenge working for a chain? What brought you to visit this forum…just curious.

    Joe Zorek

  10. broncofan7  •  Oct 29, 2013 @2:40 pm

    Looking out for yourself in this current job climate may not be best for your continued employment:

  11. broncofan7  •  Oct 29, 2013 @2:43 pm

    Good points Pharmacyslave….Dave sounds like he will learn things the HARD way…

  12. Pharmaciststeve  •  Oct 29, 2013 @3:48 pm

    @Peter .. great concept IN THEORY… I was the youngest store manager in a regional chain 100 yr history .. went on to be regional director for a apothecary franchisor.. Thought that I had the pharmacy world by the tail.. then I decided to open my own store.. from day one…

    I was so friggin stupid about how to run the business side of the business….but I learned.. one hard knock at a time.. and I survived.. although at times.. it was in question.

    @Dave… knock yourself for the company.. we have all been there and learned the hard way.. how corporations work..

    They love you as long as you say “YES” and the first or second time you say “NO”.. you just shot yourself in the foot.. because there is some “new grad” that is willing to say YES.. and you are “old news”.

    Just wait until the day you are sick and you call your DM and tell them that you can’t open the store and they tell you that you MUST come in and open the store and run it until they find someone to come in .. so you can go home.. and that someone never comes..
    From my experience.. don’t presume that you learn much about business from the corporate world..
    BF7 was lucky to walk into a store that had systems in place and trained staff and maybe the previous owner stuck around for a while to mentor him… while he learned the business side of the business.

  13. Broncofan7  •  Oct 29, 2013 @4:27 pm

    I turned a 2.2 million pharmacy into a 3.8 million operation in 2 years by upgrading our computer system, adding staff, training them to fill Rxs the way I want them filled and marketing the store and being friendly and reaching out to MDs. The “hard knocks” come when one deals with their accountant until one finally decides the model that he/ she is comfortable with. I learned more about what NOT to do from the previous owner than anything..

  14. Peter  •  Oct 29, 2013 @5:25 pm

    Not a just a great concept in THEORY, Pharmaciststeve, but in application. I learned a lot from just working in community pharmacy for 1 year. I also read a lot. I also made a lot of mistakes (none of them fatal). There is a learning curve and very few will hold your hand and help you navigate the way. But that’s OK. You come out tougher and smarter at the end of those five years.

    I started a pharmacy from scratch. That has different challenges than buying an established business. They’re both challenging and have risk. But you can’t expect reward without risk.

    Remember, nothing is guaranteed. Our retail job is guaranteed. Reimbursement levels as an owner – not guaranteed. But if your smart, lucky,and develop niches that have a high barrier to entry and that are profitable, you’ll be fine. And yes, excellent service has become a niche.

  15. pharmacyslave2000  •  Oct 29, 2013 @5:25 pm

    “Just wait until the day you are sick and you call your DM and tell them that you can’t open the store and they tell you that you MUST come in and open the store and run it until they find someone to come in .. so you can go home.. and that someone never comes..” LOL Pharmaciststeve, that’s my favorite one. Retail pharmacy is the same no matter the geographic location or the corporation. I’ve heard horror stories of women almost giving birth in the pharmacy while they wait for someone to replace them.
    Here’s a heads-up Dave, NEVER, EVER go into the pharmacy unless you plan on being able to work the ENTIRE shift. NO ONE is coming to relieve you. Trust me. Young Dave will learn….eventually.

  16. MSDEMEANOR  •  Oct 29, 2013 @9:03 pm

    I am out of retail now but I really despised DMs who gave pharmacists a hard time when they called in sick even though a call in it would be rare.
    Eventually when they gave me a hard time I would have them deny my request in writing
    and inform them of the companys liability. No DM would do that. They know about how
    dedicated we are and they take adavntage of that. I am not going to sacrifice my health just because a DM does not want to bother finding someone.
    Daves attitude is just fine but dont think the chain DM will cut you some slack or hesitate to fire you because you covered for them.
    Pharmacy is a business.

  17. AJ  •  Oct 30, 2013 @8:52 am

    Oh Dave…you are in good company We were all young, dumb and single once. You’ll figure it out…usually around year 8 to 10.

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>