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Anyone else feel "blah" about work life?

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by 2012PharmDgrad, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. 2012PharmDgrad


    Nov 30, 2012
    I've been working as a retail pharmacist for 1.5 years already. Throughout this time, I have decided to remain a floater indefinitely as I just can't see myself at any particular store for very long. I am considered to be one of the "good" floaters based on the feedback I've received at more than 40 stores I've covered throughout my employment.

    The money is great, my schedule is very flexible (one of the perks of being a floater), I travel quite a bit, and pay my student loans. But I feel something is missing: I have no SPARK, no passion. I lack drive. I feel like a robot at work and that I don't really care much for the work. Obviously, I get my work done and on occasion feel some degree of satisfaction from making an impact on someone's health and well-being. I strive to do as much as I can on every shift. But I just somehow feel mediocre. I was a great student in school and was actually in the top 5% of my class and little did I know I'd feel so apathetic about work life later.

    I guess I'm wondering is there anyone else out there who can relate? Surely, I can't be the only individual to experience this. I notice I get very happy when my shift is about 2 or 3 hours from ending so I can go home. I don't deal with any upper level management harassing me. So, what's going on with me? Whenever people ask me how I like retail, I can't say yes. I can't say I hate it either. I hesitate and respond "Eh, I'm kind of in between". I wish I could look forward to it. Patients are grateful with my help, but even then, I sometimes feel nothing. I'm numb. I can't imagine running an off-site flu clinic on my own time without additional compensation. Basically, I just want to do what I need to do, leave, and get paid. It seems to be that I only live for the times I am off from work.

    Sorry about this very long reflection, but I'm just a leaf in the breeze.
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  3. BMBiology

    BMBiology temporarily banned~! 10+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2003
    What you are going through is common. I call it retailitis. That is when you are making good money but you are not happy because you don't get any satisfaction from retail work. I went through it as an intern and I was determined not to be that 45 year old pharmacist who doesn't give a ****.

    - Pay off your student loans and get out of retail.

    It sounds simple right? But it is not. The longer you stay in retail, the harder it is to get out. You need to find a way out and you need to do it soon.
  4. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Open your own'll never be bored again!

    There is no greater soul sucking experience than working corporate retail.
    BenJammin and jafx like this.
  5. Gombrich12

    Gombrich12 2+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    I'm grateful that it is a tolerable job that pays a lot. In America these days that is all you can ask for. The one thing I don't like is being fake all the time. It can be hard to turn that off outside of work.
    oldstock likes this.
  6. jafx

    jafx 2+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    Heredia, Costa Rica
    If you don't feel like opening a pharmacy, which was a brilliant suggestion by MountainPharmD, consider buying an apartment complex. 30+ unit buildings tend to produce decent income compared to the cost of the 7 year business loan, only require 10-20% down, and in some areas can be had for under $1,000,000. You often will have to use a local bank to finance a commercial building that cheap, and there will be a prepayment penalty on the loan so let it ride the whole 7 years. Give one apartment unit to an administrator, and another to a maintenance guy; that way you can pay them smaller salaries and they are always on site, also they will then have a vested interest in your property not turning into a ghetto.

    This would give you the satisfaction of being a business owner, extra income, something to do between floating, and a free place to live if you're willing to live there.

    You're likely too smart to be fulfilled by anything less than being your own boss in some way, shape, fashion, or form. I'd bet that's why you feel like a zombie right now as a corporate slave.

    There was a guy named Steve Riggs in Big Stone Gap Virginia that bought a trailer park in the 70's on an owner contract. Smart smart guy. When there was a local natural disaster he got government emergency funding to renovate and rebuild his trailer park. After the park was renovated, on the tax payer's dime, he pulled out a business loan on the property and used the money to buy all the other trailer parks. Over the course of the last 40 years he bought well over 100 houses, six trailer parks, built a huge comfort inn near the Bristol Motor Speedway, got in on the ground floor of the Huddle House chain (and subsequently bought most of the other locations,) and now spends his time gambling prolifically out of boredom. There's something to be said for thinking outside the box and being an entrepreneur. The worst that happens is you fail. You are guaranteed 100% to be a failure if you never try. Be adventurous.
  7. fiorio

    fiorio 10+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2007
    If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.
    oldstock, Fushi.tarazu and jafx like this.
  8. Transformer

    Transformer 10+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    Prior to pharmacy school, I worked as a tech in a large retail chain. After watching many pharmacists, techs, clerks get burnt out (myself included) with working retail, I made it one of my top priorities to do whatever I can to put myself in the best position to compete for non-retail jobs.

    I have nothing against retail, and have the highest respect for retail pharmacists. I just don't think full time retail work is the best fit for me. For that reason, after graduation, I turned down a retail offer near home to work in a non-retail job far from home. The hope is the hard work now may pay off in the long run.

  9. mustang sally

    mustang sally 10+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    The middle of nowhere
    Amen, brother! (or sister).

    I do feel like it's just a job for me. I don't know, maybe I need to get more creative in my career endeavors and pursuits. Plus so much of my job happiness is tied to upper management…but I supposed that's probably true for any job unless you become your own boss.
    Estrace likes this.
  10. npage148

    npage148 Senior Member PhD Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    May 2, 2005
    I believe what you're expierencing is called life. Noone is truly happy with life and their job (despite what their Facebook may tell you). The people that take great happiness (not just satisfaction) are usually loons that only live for their jobs and that's no life i want. I found, once you get past platitudes about ones work life, people generally don't like their jobs.

    Most days I'm eager to leave when it's time, other days I'm running out the door. I'm mostly indifferent to it but it's an easy way to make 60/hour with, despite all the griping here, relatively little oversight. I may see my boss once a month but as long as I'm not killing or insulting customers the visits are congenial.
  11. bacillus1

    bacillus1 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2008
    Trust me, it's not just retail where people feel this. I do get satisfaction from making interventions at the hospital, but other than that I want to spend as little time as possible at work. Nothing wrong with changing jobs if you can, just to see if there's something better out there, but otherwise I think that it's perfectly normal to feel how you feel.
  12. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    I find that part difficult too. Customers want you to be caring for the sake of altruism, and corporate wants you to be caring for the sake of customer relations. But caring all the time is draining, so you find a way to fake it. Faking that you care all the time, when you have no reason to care one way or the other, is sad because you're being dishonest to yourself. I try to find things to champion for here and there to create purpose which relieves me from having to act like I give a **** about everything all the time. Other people like to respond with a "that's fine" indicating no preference, and it amounts to the same thing. You can't have an opinion about everything.
  13. BenJammin

    BenJammin No Apologies 5+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Where my ex's live
    I feel like that sometimes at the hospital. I'll go up to rooms to do counseling and get hit on by patient and/or their parents who want me to meet their "gorgeous daughter who needs a hard working, smart man" and that usually ends up being the highlight of my day. The highlight of my day isn't teaching a new resident how to convert IV opioids to PO, catching an order for a 15x overdose of potassium, or learning about the new class of diabetic drugs. Those days are real downers.
  14. BMBiology

    BMBiology temporarily banned~! 10+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2003
    ^ She didn't say she wants her daughter to meet a "handsome" man LOL
    HouTX and BenJammin like this.
  15. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something? 10+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Best Coast
    I really love my job, but there are other things I like doing better. So it's relative, and I think that's called "normal."
  16. OmiPharmD

    OmiPharmD Pharmacist 2+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2013
    I feel a lot less blah about my job now that I'm working part time. :soexcited:

    The idea of going back to full time when the kids are older does not excite me to be honest. I have some years before that is a real concern though.
  17. PumpkinSmasher

    PumpkinSmasher Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Exactly, I really enjoy my job. I feel like ambulatory care pharmacy is a great fit for my work style and personality. But I would rather be with my wife, family and friends than at work. I was reflecting on my job the other day when I was out with a group of friends. When people ask me about what I do at my clinic, I am excited to talk about. I feel good about what I do and my career path. To me, that is a sign that I am in the right work environment.

    I did not feel this way in regards to moon lighting in retail for extra money, I dreaded going in for those shifts. So, I decided to quit the PRN job last year. :) Don't waste 2080 hours/year working in a position that you hate or are apathetic about, if you can help it....
  18. PharmdA07

    PharmdA07 10+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    You said it already...Please be aware that there are people stuck in a situation or forced against their will to be unable to help it.....
  19. Estrace

    Estrace 2+ Year Member

    Mar 10, 2012
    I always said that retail pharmacy is not for everyone. I love retail and I love my job even though I rather have every evening and weekends off so I can take my kids to all their practices and be there at every game. I used to have such a bad day the last two hours I overlap with my RXM because she is very annoying until I asked myself one day why was I leaving work everyday depressed. What exactly was she doing that I can't ignore and why was I giving her so much control over my emotion. My mom always tells us that we can't control how other people act but we can control how we react to their actions and my reaction to her actions is what is making me depressed. I bounced into work the next day with no care in the world, my happiness and love for my job intact. I play Pandora when she's there and ignore her for the most part.
    Outside of all the stress of retail, I've come to find out that your personality, the people you work with and your customer base are very important. I didn't like floating and hated going to work. I felt like an unwelcomed guest at most stores most days and I was miserable.
    I wouldn't trade my store now for any other job. I've turned down interviews because I'm really that happy where I am right now.
  20. Sunshine98


    Feb 1, 2014
    I would be ok if I didn't have to deal with some people at work. I used to enjoy what I do, but after being treated the way I have, the passion is gone from me. Tired of being used and abused. Harder you work, harder people sit back and be lazy and watch you work. Nothing gets said to them, and Im the one who gets crapped on. Hoping to find a new place where I can feel valued again.
    PharmDstudent likes this.
  21. gambit78

    gambit78 5+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    don't feel too bad. I worked at a mail-order pharmacy where it was mainly older semi-retired pharmacists who left retail. Retail to them was getting worse and worse and some left when drive-thru was implemented. MailOrder has its probs, but they were relieved to get out of the retail rat race. There is some light at the end...folks who eventually moved out of retail and just do prn work in independent. Imagine being able to accumulate a lot of money so you don't end up work three jobs in your older years. And other options too. Wasn't there someone who owned a carwash after leaving pharmacyland?

    IA with you about the state of work these days with corporations bleeding you dry.
  22. Pharmpills

    Pharmpills Accepted Pharmacy Student 7+ Year Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    I feel the same way in that sometimes I just can't wait to leave work to be home and relax. I really to be honest can't see myself working like a dog until i'm 60 or 70. I strongly see myself phasing out my work by working less and less as I approach 40 to 50. Most people say it can't be done but if you don't live in a 300-500k house and buy a 50-100k car then it's definitely possible especially since we are making 3-4 times the average household income in the US. Meaning in 10 years of working we should've accumulated what a regular person made in their lifetime.
  23. jafx

    jafx 2+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    Heredia, Costa Rica

    Some of the wisest words that have been uttered on SDN.
  24. Hope1974

    Hope1974 5+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2011
    Amen to that!
  25. BidingMyTime

    BidingMyTime Lost Shaker Of Salt 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    What you are describing affects probably 90% of people working. It crosses all fields & all job types. See, when someone is really passionate about don't have to pay them to do it. So a job, by definition, is something that while it often has rewarding parts, isn't so great that anyone would do it for free. Be pleased that you do your job well, stay abreast on current knowledge, and then use your income to fund activities that you are truly passionate about in your free time.
  26. farmadiazepine

    farmadiazepine 5+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2011
    I'm in your same position right now. There is no satisfaction. The money is great, but I've made all the money I can want for now. However, I do deal with upper management harassing me. That's why I'm quitting chain pharmacy. I'm still young, so let's see where it goes. I am numb, just like you, but probably more numb. I am cold, I have no feeling, I have no sympathy, I have no empathy, I have no feelings. I just want to work, get paid, and go home. This is what CVS does to you.
  27. BMBiology

    BMBiology temporarily banned~! 10+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2003
    ^ how is management harassing you? Why are they doing it?
  28. DrQuinn11


    Sep 26, 2014
    I did two years of residency and was burnt out. I just was so apathetic at work. I quit in January and now stay home, it really helped with the burnout, lol.
  29. aldolase

    aldolase 2+ Year Member

    May 26, 2011
    ^ that's not realistic for someone who is in a lot of debt. Or has a family.
  30. aznjeff07

    aznjeff07 2+ Year Member

    May 23, 2013
    My first year was in retail. It was an ideal setting minus rural location: 2 pharmacists open to close 9-7, 4 techs majority of day. at most 400 rxs, no drive through. I left because of DM and the company pushing for more money earning changes. Also retail is retail...another reason to leave

    Year 2 is mail order. It's super easy and laid back, but mind and soul crushing in terms of satisfaction

    Currently just accepted a clinical staff position (my only interest through pharmacy school) and will start part time in addition to the mail order. I'm hoping this is the answer or after I pay off my loans I may make drastic changes....

    You are not is lame
  31. DrQuinn11


    Sep 26, 2014
    I have four kids, graduated in 2011 with 220 thousand in debt.

    I paid off the loans in January and quit.

  32. DrQuinn11


    Sep 26, 2014
    In the interest of full disclosure, my husband is an intensivist and the only pediatric palliative care physician in the state, so my situation is not common. That being said, I can say with certainty had I not got so burnt out by residency I would still be working. I still take call and work per diem 5 hours a week for an infusion pharmacy for funsies. If you are burnt out or are so apathetic you aren't effective, change your scenery.
  33. PumpkinSmasher

    PumpkinSmasher Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Exactly, have fun now but not at the expense of your future. My wife and I try to look at our short and long term goals at least weekly. Neither one of us want to be working like dogs when we are in our 50s. We invest and save for retirement aggressively. Essentially my entire salary goes toward investments and retirement. Things may arise along the way that change our plans but that is why revisit our goals weekly and reevaluate. I feel like it is a healthy exercise, check in with one another and talk about your relationship, personal career goals and happiness in current positions. I do not live to work, I work to live. But I do really enjoy my job and so does my wife and I think that makes us happier people all around and improves are interactions, outlook, stress level and relationships outside of work.

    When evaluating big financial or life decisions, ask yourself if it is moving you closer to one of your short of long term goals...
  34. bobanderson214

    bobanderson214 5+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I am in essentially the exact same position as you. I've realized that money and the incredibly quick pace you accumulate it with this retail job is what keeps me going with a job I don't hate but definitely don't love. I've saved so much in my 15 months of work that I cant imagine taking a job that pays less but could be more satisfying. You've just got to accumulate as much wealth as possible and then cut your hours or just retire all together. Set a savings/investment goal and get to it.
    W19 likes this.
  35. kendrick lamar

    kendrick lamar 2+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    I've been burn out since my last few years of pharmacy school. The thing with pharmacy is that the job is pretty standardized. No matter what retail store you work, you do the same thing. It's a little different in hospital based on institutional setting differences, but overall what you do in one hospital as a pharmacist isn't really going to change in another. It all boils down to what goals you have. I know a bunch of kids in my school who loved retail because they liked walking into work and knowing exactly what is expected of them instead of hospital where you have different orders to intervene on. I know people who like hospital/clinical bc they like academia and they like working on different patient cases everyday.

    Most people I know went to pharmacy not because they love it but because it's a high paying, stable job. Although it's changing a bit these days, there's nothing wrong with being realistic, it's reasonable to chose a field for this reason esp with the way the economy has been. But most people I kno who graduated w four year degrees did actually find jobs within a few months after graduation and plenty work in some really cool start up companies, or places they have different projects to do etc. and plenty earn a pretty decent salary as well (of course, this depends on geographic location-I'm from the Bay Area so the cost of living here is also high). They also don't have to pay excessive loans. I'm not saying they won't get bored of their jobs either, but they're doing something they enjoy and have a decent job. Essentially there's a different kind of cost benefit you have to consider with any field. Personally, if I started college again, I don't think I would have picked pharmacy. It wasn't something I really wanted to do, I love learning about health and medicine, but I probably would have been more passionate about nursing, PA or medical school. but I can't say I regret doing it since I don't know on the other hand what would result if I did something else.
  36. veyep

    veyep Got Books? Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Many pharmacist or school people in general like to use their brain. Unfortunately at retail it's hard to use any brain cells. To compensate I have started reading books, magazines, watch educational lectures and documentaries. It satisfy my inner curiosity. That's my only advice. Keep yourself busy. Best wishes.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  37. W19

    W19 SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2014
    No job is perfect! Many nurses are going to med and pharm schools these days... The good thing about pharmacy/medicine is the income. You can basically work for 15 years and retire (or semi retire) if you are good with money.

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