Wise Words from Steve Jobs

“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.”

Two Lives Intertwined

Last weekend I went on a date with a guy that I thought was cool. He was attentive, and seemed to really be into me. He had just moved to my town, and is here on a long term assignment. Well, he had told me he had never been married, and since he hadn’t given me a reason to suspect him, I believed him. While I was on my walk with my friend’s dog, he called and told me that he lied and that he was married, but he hasn’t been with his wife for 3 years. We have mutual friends and acquaintances. It turns out that he had told that that he was married, and no interest in meeting anyone other than as friends.  When my friends told me that he had told them he was married, I blocked him from all forms of contact. It had confirmed my suspicions about him. He seemed like a classic cheater, blaming me for his behavior, and not remembering which lies he told.

I bring this up on my pharmacy blog, because what he did affected my mood, and my work professionally. I wasn’t as attentive as I should have been, I was constantly looking at my phone, waiting for a response from him, even though I wouldn’t get one since I had blocked him. I wasn’t as cheery as I was before. But in the end, whatever happened with this guy didn’t matter. I had a job to do, I had patients to take care of, and I had technicians, nurses and physicians counting on me to be the pharmacist. My problems with this guy had nothing to do with my job, and no one in the pharmacy or clinic cared.

We all have good days and bad days. Our personal and professional lives are linked, and often one will leak into the other. Whenever we are going through something difficult in our personal lives, it comes out in our professional lives. I was lied to and betrayed by this guy, and so I had my guard up at work. I wasn’t as open and friendly as before. have a coworker who feels like she has no control in her marriage, so she micromanages at work. It isn’t just the negative feelings that cross over into our professional lives; our positive feelings cross over as well. When I was first asked by this guy, before knowing his marital status, I was giddy like a teenage girl, and everyone at work saw it. Whenever my favorite technician told me she got into pharmacy school, her excitement was contagious. Everyone in the clinic was as excited as she was, and we all wanted her to succeed in school.

The opposite is also true. Whatever happens at work leaks into our personal life. Whenever we are frustrated or stressed at work, it seeps into our personal lives. Sometimes we take it out on our loved ones; sometimes we just hide in our own shells (this is what I do. I become a social hermit). Sometimes we drink more than we should.

In the end, we can control only so much that goes on in our lives, either professionally or personally. However, we can control what we allow in our other lives. However, this is very hard to do. And it is unhealthy to compartmentalize and shut down our feelings. So, what can we do? For starters, we can minimize our negative emotions. When I realized that I deserve better than that lying cheater, it was easier for me to get a better grip on my emotions. Then I was able to focus on the patients and the pharmacy. It also helped that I felt love and gratitude from everyone in the clinic. Whenever I’m frustrated with work, I exercise or go for a walk (although it has been harder to do this summer, with the temps being over 100). I have my friend’s dog Gri to help me as well. She loves me, and allows me to take her to the nature preserve near her house. Friends are great diffusers, both animal and human.

This weekend, I’m going to forget about the lying cheater, and make new, happy memories with people that love and respect me. And of course, get lots of hugs and kisses from this girl.

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I know she will never lie to me, or cheat on me 🙂