When I moved to my new hometown, my new pharmacist was excited. He’d had a successful career in the business before moving, and he was looking forward to starting a new chapter in his life. He asked a few employees if they minded helping him take care of the customers for the day. A lot of people waved their hands and said “Sure,” but I could tell something wasn’t right.
The pharmacy store that we were working at was not happy. When I left, it wasn’t because they weren’t paying me as well as they should have. It was because they didn’t want me around. A lot of pharmacists were transferred to other pharmacies when they left, and the ones that remained saw their paycheck cut in half. That was money that they didn’t have, and that they didn’t need to run out and take.
Can You Tell If Your Local Pharmacy Is Happy? When I asked those pharmacist employees, a few of them said they were glad to stay with their local pharmacy, because they knew that it meant good wages and a nice benefits package. But I wondered if there were any pharmacy techs making less than minimum wage. After all, when you add in stocking shelves, sorting bills, and keeping the shelves stocked with medications, how much work is really involved?
The employees at that pharmacy were actually getting paid less than minimum wage. That’s why I started asking around. Did you know that almost 30% of pharmacists in the United States make less than the official minimum wage because many pharmacists have more than one job? How could they afford to pay themselves so well when they weren’t bringing in the big bucks?
When I looked up other pharmacies, the ones that gave me the most interesting answers were the independent ones. The independent pharmacists worked long and hard, but they made a good living, which put food on the table for their family. When a chain pharmacy gives you a good pharmacist position, it’s usually because they want to retain that employee.
You might think that an independent pharmacy doesn’t have as many opportunities for advancement as a chain pharmacy, but you’d be wrong. When I worked at a big chain pharmacy, it was clear that there were always promotions for every open position. However, an independent pharmacist will never promote unless they feel that their employees are doing a good job, and they want to see those employees grow and succeed beyond their job duties.
Can You Tell If Your Local Pharmacy is Happy? There’s only one way to find out if an independent pharmacist is happy at his or her job. You can ask them directly if they’re satisfied with their career, or you can send them a private memo explaining that you’re looking for a good pharmacist and that you want to see them promoted. If they treat you like a part-time employee, you can be sure they’ll be happy to see you promoted.
What About Your Benefits? Do Other Pharmacies Offer Insurance? If you work at a pharmacy that does provide insurance, ask them about their benefits packages. Is it generous? Can you see any discounts? If your employer does offer some kind of benefit package, it might be worth signing up for it.
Are Customer Service People Are You Talking to the pharmacist about all of the great customer service they provide? Do they seem helpful and friendly? Are they happy and polite when you talk to them? Are they taking your concerns seriously? If your pharmacists aren’t taking your concerns seriously, they aren’t going to be very happy.
What’s the Cost to Treatments? Do you pay more or less for prescriptions? What about co-pays and deductibles? How do you get a discount on your prescriptions? If the cost to treat patients is higher, it might be time for a change in pharmacists.
Can You Tell If Your Local Pharmacy is Happy? Sometimes, you can tell when employees of a certain pharmacy are happy. Sometimes, they won’t answer the phone when you call them. Other times, they’ll be out of the office during business hours. If you can’t figure out what’s going on with your local pharmacy, make an appointment and go into the store.