What Qualities Do Employers Want?

MARCH 07, 2017

Just recently, one of the pharmacy technicians returned from airline flight attendant boot camp.

That is her new second job when she is not at the pharmacy. She said it was a totally different experience from the environment we currently work in, a large hospital. She said that there were so many people wanting to be airline flight attendants, that the competition was fierce, and the administrators were very selective.

The people who ran the boot camp made it clear exactly what they wanted from the new hires. They wanted the cream of the crop. They wanted perfection. They wanted someone who was outgoing, optimistic, helpful, kind, and compassionate. They wanted someone smart, good-looking, and well groomed. They wanted it all.


My friend said the training almost became a sort of competition to see who could be the happiest, friendliest, most optimistic candidate. They called them "candidates" because they were constantly being reminded that even though the training period was a month long, they were not employees. They were not getting paid, and they were having to buy all their equipment prior to being hired.


One woman complained about the mounting expenses the training was costing her. She was eliminated from the group, despite doing everything else right. She complained, and that was not an option.


My friend almost got eliminated also, when she pointed out to the instructor that the information being presented contradicted itself. She was accused of rolling her eyes, when in fact she did not. She’s naturally very easy to be around and very kind. She had to go overboard to prove this to the administrators. All of the candidates had to go overboard. They were constantly complimenting those around them, wishing them a good day. 


Unfortnately, many of the administrators allegedly were not displaying the traits and qualities that they claimed to be looking for. Despite this, many of those in the camp wanted to beflight attendants so badly that they endured the often-difficult training.


It turns out that this surreal training period had served her well for what she was about to experience on the plane. Some of the passengers were rude and verbally abusive. (Do retail pharmacists who may be reading this know anything about that kind of behavior?)


One passenger complained the ice cubes in her whiskey were not large enough. “When I order Crown on the rocks I want intact ice cubes,” he said, adding some rude comment about her lack of intelligence.

When my friend relayed this story, it got me thinking: is this really what employers want? Do employers want someone who can endure stress and humiliation, someone who is optimistic, encouraging, gracious, kind? Do employers want employees who easily connect with other people. Do they want poeple who are helpful, smart, good looking, and well groomed?


I certainly don’t condone being a doormat. However, when we are at work, and we are receiving wages to do a job, and I think it is totally appropriate to gracefully endure a little bit of bad behavior from the people we serve. But just a little. At some point I think it is okay at to say, “Hush, enough bad behavior. You have made your point.”


Just like in English literature, it’s important to know the rules of grammar so that we are well aware of when we consciously choose to break the rules. I think it’s important to know what the ideal image of an employee is before we consciously deviate from that image. Because if the competition becomes fierce, and the boss becomes selective—guess who they are going to select?

Knowlege is key to success. It's better to know...than not know.

Gunda Siska, PharmD
Gunda Siska, PharmD
Gunda Siska, PharmD, has worked in various fields within the pharmaceutical industry as a licensed pharmacist for more than 20 years. She is currently a staff hospital pharmacist assisting nurses and doctors with drug prescribing, administration, and dispensing, as well as independently monitoring and dosing highly toxic and dangerous drugs. For 2 years, she was concurrently a consultant pharmacist for skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. Dr. Siska is a member of the New Mexico Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @GundaSiska