I never planned to stay in clinical care pharmacy.
For the last five years, I’ve worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iron Mountain, Michigan, but I always knew that academia was my future.
I always wanted to teach, and I took the first step toward that career on August 22nd, 2018 when I quit my traditional pharmacy job.
It took time for me to realize that my traditional job wouldn’t offer the teaching atmosphere I was seeking. When I did realize it, there were three main reasons I decided to leave.
1. Seeking more freedom in my career
Many pharmacists are disappointed to find that they have very little control over their work schedules. Worse yet, they often work long hours by themselves in a high-stress, demanding environment.
Pharmacy schedules often force pharmacists to choose between their family lives and their professional lives.
For too long, that was my reality as well, and I knew I had to find a better option.
Now that I’ve quit my day job, instead of waking up early to hustle to work, I wake up not-quite-as-early to take care of myself.
I have time to exercise, meditate, pray, and take care of my family. I even get to walk my kids to school.
I set my own hours and work every day from about 8:30 am to 3 pm. I occasionally work evenings and weekends with one-on-one clients.
I now set my own hours and determine what to do and when to do it.
2. Finding work I love to do
Although I enjoyed parts of my job, I wasn’t always a happy pharmacist.
There were times I felt like I joined the wrong profession because there was no room for creativity. The problem, as many of us know, is that walking away from a pharmacist’s salary isn’t always an option.
When I started my side-hustle in 2012, I rediscovered creativity. I launched a business helping people change to more fulfilling careers, and I realized that I had done the same thing for myself.
Though there were things I enjoyed about my traditional job, I’m certain I’ll love teaching, speaking, and coaching even more. Those are the things that light my soul on fire, and I love doing them.
I look forward to spending time doing the things I love with the people I love.
3. Dumping toxic work relationships
I’ve never enjoyed bureaucracy or politics, and I don’t like working with unpleasant people.
Most everyone who works in a company or corporation understands the challenge of working with people you don’t like. Though you can try to improve the relationships, you’ll most likely have to endure the struggle and pray that things get better: either they’ll leave or you’ll get a different job.
For far too long, I hated my job because I worked with two bullies and a problematic co-worker. My managers and my coworkers despised me and told lies about me.
I feared I could lose my job at any moment, and there were nights I wondered if I needed to sell my home and begin looking for another job. My coworkers questioned my competence, and I did, too.
In other stages of my career, I worked with people I really enjoyed, even though we didn’t get to choose each other as coworkers.
Now, however, I have the freedom to choose the people I work with. I work with clients I love to be around, and I don’t accept money from people I don’t want to work with.
I make sure to learn about potential clients before I decide whether we’ll work together, and I have the freedom to stay clear of toxic people.
Facing the fear
Even as I write this article, I realize that this is an uncertain transition. Earlier today, my wife and I found out that a $5,000 check we were expecting wasn’t coming.
I don’t have a guaranteed paycheck every month.
I have to work to land clients. I have to hustle to make money.
Somehow, though, I’m not scared, mainly because we’ve been living off of my business since October of 2017. We used all my day-job income to save for retirement or pay off debt, so I’ve gained the confidence that this business will take care of us.
We wanted to be able to experience my pharmacist salary, and along the way, we freed ourselves from the obligation to that substantial income.
For the next three months, I’ll be working on three projects for The Happy PharmD.
We’re revamping our Career Jumpstart course based upon feedback from the 40 students who have completed the program.
Those 40 students used the information in the course to land jobs in fields that were completely new to them; fields they had no experience in.
We’ve gathered all the testimonials and documented the entire process so we can continue to improve.
I’m also finishing work on a book called Indispensable: How to Build a Valuable Pharmacy Career In Or Out of the Profession. The book is set to launch in March of 2019, and it has been a long time in the making.
I’m excited to get it out to the public and hopefully change the lives of 10,000 pharmacists along the way.
Finally, we’re building The Happy PharmD Summit 2019.
We’ll be sharing stories about pharmacists who have chosen different career paths, and how you can do the same. We’ll tell you exactly what they did to get where they are today, and we’ll share everything we’ve learned over the years about transition within pharmacy.
Alex is the Founder of The Happy PharmD. He loves anime, his family, and video games, but not in that order.