Monday, August 13, 2007


The first blog entry I ever wrote (on another site, over a year ago) was about my inability to multitask. I was an intern at the time, and I was still learning the ropes of community pharmacy. Basically, I wrote about how I would never be a good community pharmacist because I could not concentrate on one particular task while the phone is ringing, customers are asking questions, the fax machine is going non-stop, and all the other distractions that go on in the retail setting.

Well, a year later, I can proudly say that I've overcome that initial multitasking hurdle. I can now more than adequately handle myself in a community pharmacy. Yes, I still get pretty stressed out when the work and problems start piling up on me, but it doesn't cripple me like it used to. However, this doesn't mean I've conquered my multitasking problem. My inability to multitask extends to my life as a whole.

For example, I can't focus on relationships and/or friendships while I am working full-time as a pharmacist. I put so much focus and energy into my job that I don't have anything left over for anything else. Unlike many other pharmacists that chose the retail setting, I don't believe my job is just about punching a clock. While I may have a set number of hours I'm supposed to work in a week or a day, I don't pay attention to them because to me, I get paid to do a job, and I won't leave unless the job is done to my satisfaction. Since the standards I set for myself are so high, doing the job to my satisfaction means staying late every day, going in early, and even coming in on my days off.

My coworkers think I do this because I have nothing better to do. They think I do this because I love my job, or perhaps it's more likely that they're completely confused that I do this because I show no love for the job at all. I work so hard because I feel a personal obligation to do the job right. It honestly bothers me when someone forgets to order a product for one of our customers. It really bothers me when someone gets one rejection from the insurance and doesn't put in any effort to figure out why. It bothers me when someone doesn't want to deal with some sort of tricky customer or prescription, so they leave it aside for someone else. Meanwhile, the customer comes in and finds out that his/her prescription was never filled due to nothing but laziness on our part.

I feel like I've earned the trust of a lot our customers due to my committment to doing the job right. However, I've sacrificed my personal life for it. It's not even really a sacrifice. It's not my conscious choice to choose work over personal life. It just happened that way. When I was with my ex, I didn't care about work. It was nothing but a paycheck for me. I didn't care what happened when I wasn't there. I didn't want to stay one minute passed the end of my shift, and I certainly would not be anywhere near the pharmacy on my day off. The reason? All my energy was focused on her and us, so I didn't have any left for my job. Now that I'm single, the only thing I have is this job, so the opposite is true.

My view on life is that if you're going to do something, you might as well do it well. Unfortunately, doing well in anything requires my constant attention and focus. Right now, I simply cannot accept being just a mediocre pharmacist. This will make it impossible for me to improve my social life, and it's also why I'm almost at the point where, despite my many positive characteristics, I'm ready to accept that I'll remain alone.


pepperpourri said...

Don't give up so soon. I'm sure all will work out well. You know, sometimes things happen when you least expect it.

Anonymous said...

Take a bit of advice: Being a good pharmacist does NOT mean you have to be 100% dedicated. Actually, as a general rule, don't be that dedicated to anyTHING or anyONE. Think of it as an investment in yourself.. diversify your assets. Set a time for work.. time for play.. time for love.. etc....
It's a must. Take some time and think about for a little while instead of going into work on your day off.. again, consider this time an investment in yourself. Get your priorities straight. This is especially true since you don't own your own pharmacy.. I don't think you're even the PIC there, so it's NOT your problem if other people are lazy.. feel free to educate them and tell them to act as though they were treating their mother or something.. but do NOT attempt to carry the world on your shoulder.. you are setting your self up for a disasterous failure, sooner or later.. and you sound like you're about to crack!!

greensunflower said...

I have this problem too. I can multitask in nursing, which is an invaluable skill. But I cannot be a nurse, at least in the unit I am in, and be a really great wife. Sometimes my husband is in the distance waving an orange flag trying to get my attention to like... sit down, eat dinner, AND talk to him, like we are married or something.

I am just hoping I will get better as time goes on about balancing it.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised processing insurance doesn't bother you...As a Pharm.D., a part of me cringes with each non-pharmacy purchase at the register (alcohol..WTF?) or even just I using a register...Even taking out trash...What did I go to school for? It's pretty hard for pharmacists to garner any amount of respect standing next to chips and dip as a health care professional...Lawyers, MDs, Dentists, even Eye Docs don't take payment...their secretaries do and they charge a rate for their time...What the helll do we charge?

Don't get me wrong...I'm paid well...but the principle of these mundane activities just bother me.

You could have a been clinical guy...meaning you're probably capable of more as a pharmacist than running insurance all day...However, it's great you take pride in that sort of work...Somebody has too and I don't...I do it...very well actually....but I wish I was doing something else.

Anonymous said...

I've been a community retail Pharmacist for 34 years. If you stay "on the counter" your headed for MAJOR burn out. Keep working off the clock and get that nose as brown as you can. Move in to management ASAP. That is the ONLY way you will survive in this practice setting. Let me give you a tip. Employees that go "postal" on the job are the ones who really care about the quality of their work, but the bullshit finally makes them snap. Don't get me wrong. It can be a very rewarding "job". You just have to be realistic about it.