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.
“I hate my job.”
There. You said it, but now what?
Now you have to do something about it. The truth is it’s one thing to hate your job, but it’s another thing completely to hate your job and do nothing about it. You can’t be a victim of your circumstances.
When I read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it literally changed my life. Among other things, it taught me that I must be proactive. The same goes for you. If you hate your job, or you simply want a new job, you are the one that must take action.
The simplest first step is to register for the Happy PharmD Summit: a free virtual conference all about non-traditional pharmacy careers. Designed for pharmacists who want information about non-traditional opportunities, the summit will include more than 20 speakers from a variety of industries and pharmacy specialties.
Beyond that, there are 4 things you must do if you hate your job.
1. Look for the positive.
There’s a great proverb that says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Perhaps you know a person who constantly looks for the negative and who constantly complains. You can’t have a conversation with this person without something negative coming up: negativity about you, about your job, about your manager, and about your customers. Everything about the person is toxic. Literally, nothing makes the person happy.
If this describes you, I’m sorry. You must change the way you think about the world. Focusing solely on the negative will leave you feeling powerless to change the outcomes around you. Although everyone feels some level of negativity, complaining doesn’t improve anything, and it almost never involves a solution.
2. Invest time in what you enjoy.
A human without a creative outlet is living life in the matrix. If you aren’t familiar with the movie The Matrix, it tells of a time when machines have taken over the world, and humans produce the energy required to run the machines. The similarity between a human in the matrix and someone who hates her job is quite similar.
The person in the matrix working only to produce energy for the machines is creating output for someone else. The person who hates her job and doesn’t have a creative outlet is working simply to fill a space with a body: producing an outcome for other people rather than producing an outcome for herself. There’s no passion. No involvement. There is nothing beyond a paycheck.
When you find the things you love to do, they could lead you to a new job. Tim Ulbrich turned his passion for finance into a blog where he writes about his financial journey as well as the lessons learned along the way. Then he took it a step further and landed a part-time job working at the American Pharmacists Association talking about finances with new pharmacy graduates.
He already had a job he loved; he simply turned his interests into a job that he really loves to do.
3. Imagine your perfect job.
When you begin searching for a new job, you don’t want just any job. You want a great job. Getting just any job will put you right back into the same situation with the same problem. Understand, too, that the best time to search for a new job is while you already have a job.
It’s best to think about what the perfect life would look like for you. What would you love to do if money wasn’t part of the equation?
4. Determine what kind of expert you’d like to become.
Experts in niches are valuable because they are rare. The majority of pharmacists, on the other hand, are simply pharmacists. They aren’t specialized and, as a result, they can be replaced with another general pharmacist. Any person that can be easily replaced holds little value for a company.
A pharmacy student sent me a long email about his career goals and aspirations and asked me what school he should choose based upon his interests. I, in turn, asked him what he hoped to accomplish in his career. It’s not a new question, and for many people, the answer to it is constantly changing. Start by deciding what your perfect job would look like. What kind of impact would you like to make on the world?
Realize you have a choice.
There’s a series called Mr. Robot that follows a group of hackers who want to use their skills to change the world. They have identified an evil mega-corporation that is allegedly responsible for 80% of America’s debt, and they want to create a financial revolution by taking this company down.
The flaw in the plot is the group’s failure to recognize that debt is usually a choice. Most people are in debt because of the choices they made rather than because someone forced them into it. Even in the case of pharmacy school, it isn’t reasonable to think you can complete it without incurring an average of $150K in debt, but you’re still making a choice.
Working at a job you hate is the same. You have a choice to stay in a job you hate or find something you’d rather do.
Create a revolution of your own. Resolve to take the first step toward finding a job you love today. Sign up for The Happy PharmD Summit and hear from pharmacists who have successfully made the switch, as well as experts who can help you prepare for the move financially.
Put your talents to use in a way that will impact the world.