It’s not like we know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives when we start college at age 18. Many of us are coached toward a certain career path by teachers, family, or friends. But, over years of personal growth and work experience, we become different people and desire different things.
Sometimes, we get pigeonholed into a career. We get used to the steady income and lifestyle, and we even develop a fear of trying something new after a seemingly long duration of time in one job.
I often hear this from pharmacists, especially those who have worked in the pharmacy profession for more than 10 years. My favorite question to ask them is, “If you weren’t a pharmacist, what would you be doing?” I get tons of diverse responses from faces that light up when they talk about it.
It’s not that these pharmacists dislike their jobs or what they do for a living, but over a lifetime, some things become more of a priority in our lives than we previously expected. Some may desire a flexible schedule to make time for hobbies, take care of aging parents, travel the world and try new foods, or just do more activities outside of work. But, after I get these amazing responses from pharmacists, it is always followed up with “I am only trained to be a pharmacist and I need this paycheck.”
Pharmacists are in a great position to reinvent themselves because they have developed the following skills over time that are useful in many career fields:
1. Management skills
Pharmacists are pros at management. Whether you are a retail pharmacist, hospital pharmacist, or director of pharmacy, you manage employees and workflow on a daily basis. Amplify those skills on a resume.
2. Finance skills
If you work in retail or at a hospital, then you are responsible for drug inventory control. Extrapolate that into dollars. You also manage overtime for your employees and assess profit and losses reports for your store.
3. Mentoring skills
Hospital and retail pharmacists have opportunities to precept pharmacy and pharmacy technician students. Show your skills in teaching, directing, and assessing competency of students.
4. Multitasking and efficiency skills
Multitasking is an everyday duty for pharmacists. Being able to work on 2 or 3 projects at a time and complete each of them in a timely manner is a skill that most employers seek.
5. Communication skills
Working with physicians, nurses, patients, and health care facilities make pharmacists experts in appropriate and effective communication.
Although a new field might not guarantee a salary that is commensurate with what you are making as a pharmacist, the way that you market yourself and sell your skillset is of utmost importance. Update your resume at least every other year with the new experiences and skills you have developed, no matter how small you believe they are.
Also, do not disregard volunteerism. What you do in the community and with non-profit organizations builds your experience and skillset, as well. Always keep learning and growing, and stay confident in your ability to be a valuable asset to any employer.