I should be sleeping right now. I have to get up less than 6 hours from now in order to get ready to open the pharmacy tomorrow morning. I just really felt I had to get this post done. I've been wanting to write it for a week now, but I've been putting it off for various reasons. Anyway...
A couple weeks ago, I had a particularly rough day at the pharmacy. Nothing went right. A technician called out. We were incredibly busy. There was one insurance problem after another, and the phone would just not stop ringing! I was going insane.
Finally, with about 30 minutes left in the day, things started to settle down, and I got a little quiet time to finish up some paperwork that I didn't get a chance to do earlier. I started ranting to one of our technicians about how something has to change in this pharmacy because I don't know how much longer I can deal with all this crap.
She listened for about 30 seconds before saying, "well, just be happy you have a job." You see, working at the pharmacy is her second job, and she doesn't get paid particularly well for it. It was supposed to be something to supplement her income. However, she's getting laid off at her primary job. Without her primary source of income, she's unsure if she can make ends meet.
This made me feel kind of stupid for ranting about my situation to her. After all, she was right. I do have a job, and I get paid quite well. A lot of people would kill to have my salary, especially at my age.
However, later that night, I got to thinking that there has to be a point where "you're lucky to have a job" no longer applies. I understand that a lot of people don't have jobs. I understand I'm very fortunate to be paid very decently. However, just having a job and being paid decently shouldn't preclude me from complaining about shitty work conditions.
By the "lucky to have a job logic," my company could force me to fill 1,000 prescriptions per day by myself without any help at all while dealing with all the customer complaints and all the phone calls, and I'd have no reason to complain because at least I'm employed and making 6-figures. At some point, the stress reaches a level where it doesn't matter how much damn money I make, I'd rather be unemployed and broke than be treated like shit.
I can't think of a single profession that forces you to multi-task more than a pharmacist does on a daily basis. At a busy pharmacy, there's always 5 or 6 things going on at the same time, and the pharmacist is responsible for directly supervising EVERYTHING. While we're trying to fill prescriptions, the phone is ringing. It's a doctor calling in a script, and only a pharmacist can take that call. However, there's also a customer at the counter that wants to ask a question that only the pharmacist can answer. While trying to decide which to attend to first, the prescription for Celebrex you were typing into the computer just came up "prior authorization required," which means that you have to send a fax over to the doctor's office in order to let them know they either need to call the insurance company or switch it to something else. Naturally, the guy in line after the customer asking the question is looking to pick up that Celebrex prescription...
This goes on ALL DAY LONG, and it happens EVERY DAY. Oh yeah, and while you're trying to handle these pharmacy tasks, you just got an email saying another drug has been recalled. It's the third one of the day, which means for the third time, you have to check your shelves, quarantine the recalled product, and fill out the paperwork that corporate requires. The next email is telling you about the Aetna audit that's taking place next week. You have to make sure to make all those prescription files available for the auditor. And the warehouse is out of vial caps for the second time this week, and since you're running extremely low on them, you have to call a bunch of other stores to hunt down some that you can borrow.
Between filling prescriptions, dealing with customers, dealing with doctors, handling insurance issues, and following corporate policies, you're head is spinning all day long. You're constantly racing around. You work 12 hours without a proper break. You just briefly pause for 5 to 10 minutes to scarf down a sandwich, and then it's back to the grind.
And know what your reward is for busting your ass all day? Customers complaining, "20 minutes???? Is it really going to take THAT long??!?!?"
However, community pharmacists can't complain about this because, hey, at least we have a job, and we make over $100,000 per year. We should just shut up and take it because we're "lucky" to have the opportunity to be overworked and overstressed.
That's what the chains count on though. The reason they can get away with this crap is because, at the end of the day, most of us subscribe to this lucky to have a well paying job mentality. We hate the work, but we're addicted to the money, so even though we may complain, we won't do anything to really rock the boat and risk that paycheck.
I'm guilty of this. I want to quit my job so bad. Sometimes I actually get a little giddy imagining myself just walking right out of work one day and never coming back. I'm scared to death to do it though. I've become accustomed to my paycheck. I'm used to not having to pinch pennies. I'm used to just going out and buying what I want without having to worry about whether I can afford it or not. I'm addicted to the money.
Because of this addiction, my employer has me by the balls. They know that as long as they keep the money coming, I'll put up with whatever extra responsibilities they throw at me. The money provides an illusion of freedom when in reality, it is the thing that imprisons me.
However, I feel like I'm very close to boiling over. I'm not quite there yet, but I feel like soon, I'll reach the point where the money just isn't worth it anymore. It would be scary, but losing this job might be the best thing that could happen to me. It would be the kick in the ass that I need to find something that I'm happier doing.
***I said I was done writing here. However, I guess I haven't quite run out of things to say. I'm sort of feeling the urge to write recently, which is probably a sign of mind not being at ease. In any case, if I have something to write about, I'll write about it.***