7 Ways to Add Positivity to Your Pharmacy Career


Personal development is an ongoing process that encompasses all facets of life.

Personal development is an ongoing process that encompasses all facets of life.

Since you spend a large portion of your adult life at work, it may be worthwhile to take some time to reflect on your career and where you can add value to your work.

Here are 7 ways to add positivity to your pharmacy career, especially during the times that are most draining.

1. Find the bright side in every negative situation.

When something negative happens, ask yourself, “What good can come from this? And what lesson can I learn from this?”

A colleague of mine once told me a story of when he wasn’t chosen for a job that he thought was his “dream job” as a clinical pharmacist for a major academic institution. He was devastated at first, but then he continued with his job search until he landed a job that paid better and was a shorter driving distance. Had he received an offer for the initial job, he may not have found this new, better job.

You just never know when or where your next opportunity will come!

2. Carry an aura of positivity.

The individuals who we spend the most time with and the work that we do influence who we are. Don’t get caught up in the nonsense and drama that others tend to create. Keep a smile on your face and focus on the good aspects of work.

Remember: there some individuals who can’t find a job. So, if you have one, should consider yourself lucky. Pharmacists make a comfortable living, and there are tons of individuals in other professions who have it a lot harder than we do!

3. Don’t rush.

I was never the type to cram for a test. Rather, I was always that rare person who was prepared well before an exam. That way, I never had to stress the night before a test like many of my classmates did.

I also like to give myself plenty of time to arrive at an event on time. Punctuality is something I highly value. It shows that you respect others’ time, as well as your own. Giving myself extra time for interviews or appointments is how I avoid feeling stressed out if there’s unexpected traffic along the way.

4. Maintain perspective.

Whenever I’m feeling stressed out, I think about how small I am in the scheme of things and how insignificant my problems really are.

If you’re feeling stressed, breathe deeply several times until you calm down, and then refocus your thoughts on the problem at hand and what you can do to solve it, rather than why it happened. You’ll often see that the issue isn’t as daunting if you take the first step toward addressing it.

If there’s something bothering you, apply Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 rule and think about how it will affect you in 10 minutes, 10 hours, and 10 months from now. Most likely, you won’t even remember the event 10 months from now, so most things just aren’t worth the worry.

5. Don’t allow fear to hold you back.

The one fear many individuals have, even more than death and public speaking, is that they didn’t do something, such as strive for their goals. They were afraid to fail, and so they never pursued the dreams they thought were beyond their reach.

If there’s something you want to do or a path you want to take, it may be worthwhile to pursue it before it’s too late. One day, you’ll be too old to pursue all your dreams, and the weight of regret will be heavy.

6. Add value to someone else’s life.

As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

There are countless ways to help out in the pharmacy profession. You can listen to patients and address their clinical concerns, mentor a student who’s just starting out in the profession, or even volunteer to do brown bag sessions in a local community setting.

7. Sharpen your saw.

There’s an old fable I like to tell my students:

A woodcutter was once stressed because he was trying very hard to saw down a tree. He was hurriedly sawing back and forth to no avail.

An old man was watching the woodcutter and asked, “What are you doing?”

The woodcutter replied, “Are you blind? I’m cutting down this tree.”

The old man was direct and said, “You look tired! Take a break. Sharpen your saw.”

The woodcutter explained to the old man that he’d been sawing all day and didn’t have any time to take a break, to which the old man said, “If you take the time to sharpen your saw, you would cut down the tree much faster.”

The woodcutter said, “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw. Don’t you see I’m too busy trying to cut this tree?”

Moral of the story: sharpen your saw or else you’ll end up like the woodcutter who gets too caught up in his work and ends up burning out.

We’re all more effective when we give ourselves the chance to recharge. Take your time to do things well, as haste makes waste (and, in our world, medication errors). Come prepared, and stay on the positive side of life.

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