“Can you guarantee that medication will be in on Thursday?” The patient asked sternly. I wished I had a guarantee to offer him.
“No, the medication is ordered but I can’t guarantee it will come in” I responded. These days with recalls, back-orders, and out of stocks it would be foolish to give a patient any kind of guarantee.
It seems like that is a general rule for the profession of pharmacy and for life. Guarantees are hard to come by in this era of high unemployment and uncertainty. And I am learning that pharmacy is not immune from this uncertainty.
Early in my career I almost thought that a job was a given. Years of hard work and a pharmacy license ensured I would be employed for as long as I want right? Well, it doesn’t exactly work that way in the real world does it?
These days the pharmacist shortage has swung into a full fledged surplus. More pharmacy schools are graduating new pharmacists who have mounds of debt and an eagerness to join the profession and the workforce.
But as the economy continues to be slow, pharmacists are finding out that a job is not a guarantee. But really, employment never was promised to any of us simply because we are pharmacists.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own set of security blankets. And pharmacy can easily become one of those blankets you rely on at least financially. But life has a way of surprising us at times. And our work dynamic is an ever evolving entity that guarantees nothing.
I’ve realized that I can’t control corporate politics, major shifts in the profession, or what happens with my state board of pharmacy. That doesn’t mean I am hopeless to influence change. But it does mean there are lots of things I can’t control.
Pharmacies open and close. People quit, get fired, move away, or otherwise alter your work environment. The reality of where you work and who you work with is constantly changing. And I have learned that I must accept this uncertainty rather than fight it.
I don’t know where I will be or what kind of job I will have in 5 years. Things have never been more volatile within the profession of pharmacy than they are right now. Change can come swiftly.
All I do know is that I am proud to have the letters RPH behind my name. I am blessed to be married to a wonderful person who loves me. And I am thankful for the job I did today even if I am not promised any tomorrows.
Life doesn’t afford us many guarantees. And the ones you can count on aren’t the type of things to look forward to.
The profession of pharmacy is no better at providing us absolutes. All the letters in the world behind your name won’t grant you a guaranteed job for life. And even if you are lucky enough to stay employed, things will change somehow.
I’m very thankful for the years I’ve been a pharmacist. I sure hope I can continue to be a pharmacist for a long time. Nothing though is set in stone. And just like that customer waiting for a prescription order, there are no guarantees that it or anything else is coming soon.
The Redheaded Pharmacist