“Your work is going to be fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
Steve Jobs has been a great influence to many people, especially in his last years of life. I definitely look back at this quote when I question my choices in my career. The truth is, in the pharmacy world, how many people really keep looking until they find the work that they are truly satisfied in? One that will utilize their skills and passions together?
Most pharmacists that I know actually just end up settling. Some are fortunate enough to find their dream position; I can finally say that I am one of them. But most feel stuck and unfulfilled in their positions. Those that feel stuck do not even know where to start looking. They are bound by either their financial obligations, or perceived lack of skills. So, how can they keep looking until they find something they love to do?
This is why networking is crucial, especially in today’s job market. How do you know what is truly out there, until you talk to someone who has been doing it for years? In pharmacy school, we are programmed that there are mainly 2 pharmacy settings: retail and hospital. I’m in a very unique hybrid setting of retail/infusion/clinical. I would not have known about this setting if it were not for my friend and mentor telling me.
I would also advise job seekers to not let your perceived lack of skills be considered a big weakness. Actually, it can be used as a big strength. I had no experience or knowledge about oncology (except the week that was taught in pharmacy school). Because I do have a personal interest in oncology, I was willing to learn about it. Currently, I’m proficient in it, although I am not Yoda (we have a colleague that is, and I do reach out to her if I cannot find the answer myself). If it is your passion, or vested interest, you can acquire the skills needed to perform the position you are seeking. Most employers are also looking for valuable members of their organization who are trainable and willing to learn.
I hope that present and future pharmacists do not believe that there are only certain positions that they can hold. Pharmacy is a very broad industry, ranging from the traditional settings, like hospital and retail, to the unique setting like oncology clinic. There are also other industries that could benefit with a pharmacy background, like insurance and research and development. It really just depends what the job seeker perceives as great work to him/her.
I’ll leave another great Steve Jobs quote: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”