I decided to stay in retail. I thought long and hard about it. I actually made a list on the positives and negatives for each choice. In the end, I couldn't do it.
Here's the thing. I just don't like hospitals. I don't like the environment. I don't get all tingly with the thought of working side by side with doctors and nurses. Honestly... I don't care much for the health care profession as a whole. That's the beautiful thing about retail pharmacy. You can be in a health care profession without actually doing any health care stuff. Yes, I dispense medication to people. Yes, I counsel them and happily answer any questions I'm asked regarding medications or common disease states. That's the extent of it though, and that's what I'm happy with.
Working with the public is both the best and worst part of my job. A lot of retail pharmacists complain about all the stupid things they get asked and the customers with bad attitudes. For the most part, I don't care about that stuff. Maybe it's because I work in a nice area, so I'm not presented with the same sort of challenges other pharmacists are. I'm sure that's part of it, but I think I have a different attitude than most pharmacists toward the job in general.
I hear all the time that we're too well educated to be spending all day on the phone with insurance companies and directing customers to the bathroom. Maybe that's true. I do only use maybe 10% of what I learned in school in my job. However, I'd like to think that my education and my intelligence is what makes me good at my job. Just because I can do something more intellectually challenging does not mean I'm obligated to do so. Why can't I just do something a little less intellectually challenging but use my intellect to do it better than others?
I actually enjoy solving insurance problems. I actually get a lot of satisfaction from stepping out from behind the counter to show a little old lady to a bottle of Tylenol. I actually like interacting with the customers... even the angry ones. I view an enraged customer as a challenge to see if I can manage the situation. This is what makes my job interesting.
Perhaps the thing I dislike the most about retail is dealing with the other health care professionals. I freaking hate calling doctors' offices for the 9,000th time about a prescription that the doctor wrote incorrectly. I hate doctors with god complexes. I hate making a recommendation that I know will help the patient only to have the doctor ignore or ridicule me. Therefore, the whole clinical aspect of my profession really doesn't thrill me at all.
Basically, the only reason I was even interested in that clinical position was a way to be a step ahead of a possible future collapse of retail pharmacy. I figured that if retail someday dries up, I'll have already moved onto a clinical environment, and this would ensure my long term success. That's really it. It had nothing to do with dissatisfaction in my current job. It had nothing to do with an overwhelming desire to use my extensive clinical knowledge. It was just a concern over something that may or may not happen some time in the near or not-so-near future.
I'm not a psychic. I have no idea how things will play out in the future, so it's stupid to leave a good job that I like because of something that might possibly happen some day. Moreover, I'd be going to a job I don't really like at all. I'd be trading in happiness for long term stability. I feel like I've spent my whole life doing just that. Maybe it's time to live in the moment for once. Maybe it's time to just do what makes me happy and not worry about what's 5 or 10 years down the road.
When I look at it that way, it makes absolutely no sense for me to take that clinical job. Therefore, I'll be staying in retail, hopefully in my current position, for as long as I can. If some day retail jobs start to vanish, then maybe I'll look into somehow getting into hospital. If that's not possible, fuck it; I'll do something else even if it's not related to pharmacy at all. Flexibility is the beauty of being single. I can move. I can change careers. I can take a pay cut without worrying about anyone else but myself.
Anyway... that's the update. Pharmacy Mike will remain Retail Pharmacy Mike.