Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.
Something just isn’t right about your job.
You went to school to be a pharmacist, and now you’re not sure you made the right choice. You’re wondering if you’re in the right place, working with the right people, and doing the right job. There has to be more than this.
Whether you love your job, hate your job, or simply tolerate your job, I learned in the career book 48 Days to the Work You Love that everyone should be looking for new opportunities and great prospects.
For some people, however, the search is more urgent.
I’ve talked to many career coaches lately, particularly those in the medical space, who say that one of the main reasons people leave a job is because of burnout. They explained that, prior to burnout, there’s another stage that is optimal for beginning a new job search, but it can be tough to identify the stage if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for.
There are 10 extremely common signs that you’re headed for burnout, and that it’s time for you to consider a different job or a different type of job.
Creativity is dead.
You and I both know that pharmacy school beat the creativity out of us pretty well. You don’t see many pharmacists writing books or painting art!
Although some pharmacists maintain creative outlets, many pharmacists feel their jobs have no room to be creative.
If a pharmacist proposed a new solution to an existing problem, they believe the idea would be shot down.
Creative space is necessary for a thriving career.
You became a pack mule of responsibility.
Businesses seek to maximize efficiency. They want employees to use every moment to its fullest. This can create a pattern of assigning more and more responsibility to those who are performing well without any opportunity for them to let go of competing responsibilities.
Unfortunately, many managers don’t know when to stop adding tasks.
If you are given more and more responsibility, it likely means that you’re a great employee, and your prospects of finding another job are quite good. But watch out for burnout.
New benefits or promotions pass by you.
Nothing irks employees more than knowing a benefit or promotion that they deserved went to someone else. For whatever reason, your employer gave it to someone else, and you’re angry.
There’s a caveat here, though: you must ask for the things you want.
If you believe that you deserve a benefit or promotion, you must let your employer know that you want it. Do not expect other people to read your mind and simply give it to you if you haven’t communicated that it’s something that you want.
If, however, you do that, and the benefit or promotion is given to someone else, it is time to start looking elsewhere. The saying is true: people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.
Salary discrepancies occur between employees.
In my research for salary negotiations, I spoke to many experts on the subject. (In fact, there are 3 speaking at my free summit for non-traditional pharmacy careers.) One of those I spoke to is a salary negotiation expert for women.
I discovered that pharmacy actually has one of the lowest salary discrepancies between men and women, and it made me happy to know that our profession is leading the way. There is truly no reason why 2 people who are able to do the same job should be paid differently.
If you discover that you are being paid less than someone else who has the same job, the same amount of experience, and the same responsibilities, you can use that knowledge at the negotiating table if your manager learns that you are seeking a new job.
You’re looking for more freedom.
For a time, my job caused daily anxiety. I was looking for more freedom, so I found a way to be creative on a daily basis through my side business.
If you’re seeking more room to be creative or more freedom in your work, it’s a clear sign that you may need to look for a new job with fulfilling opportunities.
Mondays cause anxiety.
I know that many pharmacists don’t have traditional Monday through Friday jobs, but if the first day in your workweek causes you anxiety, you need to look for another job.
Despite how much I’ve forgotten from pharmacy school, one of the things I remember is the study indicating that more heart attacks happen on Monday than on any other day of the week.
Stress and anxiety related to work are bad for your health, so if you have anxiety at the start of the workweek, for purposes of your health, you need to seek another job.
There are "Negative Nancies" all around.
Jim Rohn famously said that each of us is the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. That means, whether you want them to or not, the people you work with will bring you to their level. They have influence in your life. That applies to salary, opportunity, networking, debt levels, hobbies, and interests.
If the people you spend the majority of your week with cause you to be anxious or stressed, the effect will impact you at work as well as in your personal life.
You are consistently unhappy at work.
If you can’t think of 1 positive thing to say about your job or your coworkers, it is time to move on to something else.
No one should have to endure feeling unhappy 8-12 hours a day when there are so many options available. Obviously looking for a new job will involve sacrifice. It will require some hustle, some networking, and meeting new people. The whole process may be a little uncomfortable.
But these brief moments of discomfort will pay dividends because you’ll make your own life a little better, and you’ll influence those around you to do the same.
Your skills and passions are untapped.
Have you ever thought, “I would enjoy my work so much more if they would just let me do (fill in the blank)”? If so, you’re untapped.
There’s a story about a college professor who asked his students which plot of land holds the most value. The students suggested oil fields, gold mines, and other reserves, but the professor told them they were wrong.
“It’s the cemetery,” he said, “because it’s full of unrealized dreams. Novels that were never written, inventions that were never developed, businesses that were never started and jobs that were never created.”
The wealth of the world sits within these tombs, unrealized.
The sad part is that most people never allow themselves to fully pursue the things they really want to do; but if you can find a position in which your skills are truly being utilized, that’s where you’ll find great satisfaction and happiness.
10. You’re bored.
If you’re bored at your day job, don’t accept mediocrity. Don’t expect things to change. Boredom is no way to spend 40 hours a week, and you don’t have to resign yourself to it.
Take the first step.
If any of these signs describe your situation, and you’re ready to make a change, I’d love for you to join my free virtual conference Sept. 11-14. The summit will be live and online, so you’ll be able to access it from wherever you are.
The Happy PharmD Summit provides information about non-traditional pharmacy career paths and how you can find your new path. You’ll discover how you can create a pathway to a new career, and you’ll hear career tips and tricks, as well as negotiation tactics, from more than 20 speakers in a variety of pharmacy fields. The summit will also include financial topics to help with the transition to a new career.
Don’t continue to be miserable in a job you hate. Don’t limit yourself if you find you’re simply tolerating your job, and don’t rule out the possibility that there may be a great opportunity waiting for you.
Empower yourself by taking the first step toward change.