Desperate Makes You Stupid

I was following up with someone the other day. He is a recent grad, who has been looking for a pharmacist position for a long time now. I had asked him what had changed since the last time we had talked. He said that he had talked to some of his friends and classmates who were managers, and hire for their companies. They had given him the advice of keep applying to different positions, that it’s a numbers game. Anyone who has the least amount of understanding of today’s pharmacist market knows that this is the WORST. ADVICE. EVER. I had asked him how his friends got their jobs, and he said through fraternities and people they knew while in school. So basically, they gave him the most generic advice that they didn’t follow themselves. I was following up with someone the other day. He is a recent grad, who has been looking for a pharmacist position for a long time now. I had asked him what had changed since the last time we had talked. He said that he had talked to some of his friends and classmates who were managers, and hire for their companies. They had given him the advice of keep applying to different positions, that it’s a numbers game. Anyone who has the least amount of understanding of today’s pharmacist market knows that this is the WORST. ADVICE. EVER. I had asked him how his friends got their jobs, and he said through fraternities and people they knew while in school. So basically, they gave him the most generic advice that they didn’t follow themselves.
I tried to give him advice that I DID use myself, and I gave my own experiences. I am not ashamed to admit that I got my current position through a personal connection. My friend J had worked for this company as PRN for over 20 years, and she knew the Executive Director for Pharmacy really well. She told him to give me an interview, and luckily, he liked me and hired me.
Anyway, I digress. I told the recent grad that I got my current job through personal connections, his friends got their jobs through personal connections, and nowadays it’s not about WHAT you know, but WHO you know. Of course, the recent grad didn’t take my advice. He even told me he is studying to take the license exams for the neighboring state because he saw that there were jobs posted there.
However, I do understand where he’s coming from. He’s desperate to find a job, ANY job. I was there, too. There were times in my pharmacy career that I was out of a job, and I had to borrow money from friends and family so I could pay rent, and not be homeless. I hated selling my possessions, just so I could have money to eat. I remember what it was like to be that desperate. And desperate makes you stupid.
Desperate makes you think that you can’t get any good job, so you have no choice but to accept anything that is out there, even if you KNOW you will not be happy there. Desperate makes you stubborn, and you end up ignoring the advice from those who have been what you have been through. Desperate gives the feeling of panic. Desperate makes you do the same actions over and over again, yet you expect different results. DESPERATE MAKES YOU STUPID.
I know that the pharmacy market has been really tough, especially as of late. And yes, it is very easy to become desperate. But you can take certain steps to increase your chances of getting a position, even if it is used as a stepping stone to get to the position you really want.

1) USE YOUR CONNECTIONS! Reach out to old colleagues, supervisors, classmates, professors, etc. Social media has made it really easy to find and connect with people from the past. I use Facebook and LinkedIn a lot. LinkedIn also tells you connections of connections, so if there is someone you know that knows a hiring manager or employee of a company you would like to work for, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral.

2) If you are still in school, talk to your professors and preceptors. Ask them what the likelihood of their companies hiring new grads is. We recently had hired a new grad for a PRN position based on one of the pharmacists’ recommendation, as she was his preceptor. Make sure you stay in touch with the preceptor, even after that rotation is done.

3) JOIN LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS! APhA and ASHP are the biggest pharmacy organizations, but they also have state and city chapters.  There are also non-professional organizations out there that could be beneficial. There is a Meetup group here called Dallas Health Entrepreneurs Network, which looks at looking at healthcare from a startup perspective. Even personal Meetup groups can have professional benefits. I have met a few pharmacists through various personal interest groups. If I ever want a job change, I have a few people I can call.

4) If all else fails, talk to pharmacy recruiters. They are able to give you posts of where the need for pharmacists is (remember, they get paid for your placement). Yes, most will be in rural areas, but it will get you the experience needed, until you’re able to reach out to pharmacists in your desired location. Who knows, maybe the area you were dreading to go to may be the best move for you personally. I thought I would never leave Illinois and move to Texas, but now Dallas is my home.

If you could take away just one thing from this post, it is to just reach out. Don’t try to find a job, any job, on your own. Avoid being desperate, and if you can’t avoid that, then avoid being stupid.

Time to head to the gym. I’m desperate to work off the brownies I had for lunch.

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