Transition Series: Retail to Loving Work Again

by | Dec 24, 2021 | Career, Career Path, Podcast, Success Story

Watch the webinar replay here.

In this episode of the Transition Series, Alex Barker chats with Julie Kidd and Keenan Rea. Julie is one of the coaches at the Happy PharmD and worked with Keenan in transitioning from retail to ambulatory care. Keenan also shares details of her life and career transition story, highlighting Julie’s impact on the process.


Some Background on Keenan

Keenan Rea is currently an Ambulatory Care Pharmacist. However, she started her career in retail as the COVID-19 pandemic made getting her dream job difficult immediately after graduation. While in retail, Keenan was on the lookout for openings. After sending multiple job applications and receiving zero interview invites, she contacted the Happy PharmD to aid her career transition journey.


Our Journey with Keenan

Keenan shared her pharmacy journey, and prior to pharmacy school, she worked as a pharmacy technician. While in pharmacy school, she took the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) career survey pathway, Keenan knew she wanted a career in ambulatory care. She conducted more research and spoke with her mentor after this. She discovered it involves a more hands-on approach to patient care – an aspect of her job working in the pharmacy which she loved. She went on to plan subsequent rotations in pharmacy school and residency programs for a career in ambulatory care.


However, the realities of COVID-19 meant she began her career working at a pharmacy chain. She describes her experience there in these words, “I was pretty much dispensing. We didn’t have a lot of clinical aspects that we were involved in with our patients, which is something that I always knew I wanted to do and what I had trained for.” Keenan was on multiple job platforms getting alerts and applying for jobs. However, she got no interview invites. That was when she reached out to the Happy PharmD.


She was assigned to Coach Julie, with whom she shared similarities. Julie walked Keenan through why she wasn’t getting hired. She also discovered that Keenan wanted to leave her previous role to spend more time with her family. Coach Julie gently guided Keenan, teaching her to network in a non-sleazy way using LinkedIn by building a presence there. Together, they drew up a list of people and places she wanted to work in and connected to health systems in those specific locations by asking questions, sending video messages, and making Zoom calls. These strategies soon yielded results as Keenan landed a job in her chosen career path of ambulatory care.


The Outcome:

In her new role, Keenan is doing what she loves, sees a clear career path, and gets to spend more time with family. She acknowledges she would not have gotten this far in a short while without the help of her coach. Coaching helped her overcome imposter syndrome, gain confidence, become aware of her skill sets and creative side. About her new employers, she says, “They are very open to whatever I want to do.”

If you are interested in a career transition, click here to contact a member of our team.

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Creating Happy Pharmacists

If you really want to build the career and life that you’ve dreamed of, one where you are helping people and working in a field that you love, you need to do something different than what you’ve been doing.

Through coaching you can re-discover why you became a pharmacist and find your passion again.