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Onward

July 28th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.30.46 PMThis is going to be a long post, but it’s important, and it’s been a big, crazy week, and it’s still not over!

Flew over to Anaheim to AACP to pick up an award for our 21 Flavors CE Program, and display a super cool poster on BU Well for innovations in teaching.

Then, found out we’re still in the cue/queue for possibly appearing on HSN‘s American Dreams show with the #STEMPrincess project, WOOT!

But, believe it or not, none of that is my biggest news of the week–exciting as that all is.  Here’s my biggest news of the week, maybe even the past 10 years for me, which is the following:

Just 2 days shy of a decade, I am departing from Butler University as an associate professor.  My last day with Butler this second time around is July 28th.  (My first time around, of course, was after 5 years as a student in the pharmacy program.)

Many thanks to my manager, Dr. Julie Koehler and Dean Pat Chase, for taking a chance on me back when academia was never really even in the picture for my career. Thanks to many of YOU as well for your inspiration, teaching, sharing and collaborating with my students and me over the past decade as well!   I’ve had the tremendous privilege to serve BU and start many really cool, innovative projects during my second tour—like:

  • build BU Well from the ground up with students,
  • mentor 8 different interprofessional student book writing & publishing projects,
  • create an award-winning continuing education (CE) department and programming for pharmacists–thanks to AACP above,
  • expose healthcare students to entrepreneurs in a new course on entrepreneurship,
  • start a one-of-a-kind drug pricing, drug formulary management and HECON APPE rotation for pharmacy P4 students,
  • found & recruit the one-of-a-kind PAW Fellowship and fellow (who is a rock star), and
  • innovate other courses by driving policy, advocacy and global health into them.

Over the past year, I’ve also been fortunate enough to work both for Butler and Myers and Stauffer (as my clinical site within pharmacy practice).  While I love serving both organizations, my workload at Butler never decreased when I began with Myers last August.  While I knew what I was signing up for at the time as a 1.4 FTE (after all, I created this crazy proposal!), what I discovered about myself during this past year is that even I have limits, believe it or not.

Yes, Erin Albert has limits.  You heard it here first.

In an effort to keep my health (and sanity) intact earlier this summer, I proposed to work closer to full time for Myers and Stauffer (4 days/wk) and work part time for Butler, shedding some, but not all BU responsibilities. Myers and Stauffer graciously accepted this proposal—yay!  Unfortunately, my proposal did not work out with BU.

But, in my own failed negotiation lies a gift: one free day each week to explore the NEXT erinalbert-isms I should or could be working on.

So, my fab 13 readers, what should I do with this gift of a day per week moving forward?  Of course, I have a million ideas to fill each gift of one day per week, (working on #STEMPrincess project more, writing other books, more crazy crowdfunding, speaking gigs, etc.) but I’m curious what you think!  I know I have a brilliant, amazing and creative network of friends with a panoply of great ideas.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 5.05.48 AMI’m going to leave you with a Google form: http://tinyurl.com/OneDay4e for you to tell me what you think I should do on that free day each week.*  Maybe you’ve got an idea you think I’d be great at that I never even considered before.

Please complete the form if you have ideas, or want to chat about important, passionate work; you all know that as a pharmacist, attorney, entrepreneur, mentor, writer and STEM advocate, I love supporting these professions and causes, as well as many others.  I’m learning about podcasting, livestreaming, SQL, training & development, brand building for the #STEMPrincess franchise, coding and always…writing.

And even though I may be leaving Butler for now, know that they can never, EVER, take the Butler out of the girl!  #GoDawgs

I am excited and feeling very lucky about THIS NEW AMAZING ADVENTURE!!!! 

___
(*Of course, always keeping in mind that my one-day gift work could never conflict with my work at Myers and Stauffer.)

Who are you, where you are?

July 23rd, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.59.15 AMI got interviewed this week for how writing fits into building one’s brand.  I hate the term “brand,” because we’re PEOPLE, not brands….but that being said, I started thinking about who I am on different social media channels.

For example, over at Instagram, I tend to post a lot about books, quotes, flowers, occasional travel, and cats (it fits my crazy cat lady persona). At my personal twitter account, I talk pharmacy law and entrepreneur (and of course #STEMPrincess) stuff. At my pharm twitter account, I talk pharmacy professional stuff and more #STEMPrincess info, along with the question of the week anchor posts.  At yuspie, I talk entrepreneurship and generational data.

At LinkedIn, I stick to work and career development topics.

At Faceplace, most of my individual books have a page,  but on my personal page pretty much anything goes.

I’m playing with medium.

At pinterest, I have over 60 boards.  Lord help me.

The bottom line – think about where you are, and who you are on those channels? Do they match? Do you care? Some social media gurus say you should discuss a couple of seemingly random, fun things you care about in addition to the serious stuff you care about and work on in in your life. Not sure if that’s right, or even if I’m doing it right…but it’s fun to pause and think about….

#STEMPrincesses and #Girlpower: Onward!

July 22nd, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 6.51.53 AMEnergized by the girl #Ghostbusters power and the newly formed #STEMPrincess advisory board, I wanted to post a happy Friday update on some really cool action around getting more girls engaged in STEM education:

1. We have submitted the #STEMPrincess Trilogy to HSN’s show, American Dreams for consideration this week!  This is a show where HSN helps great product innovators share their work.  Super pumped about this so we can show there are actual products available to engage more girls in STEM education.  LOVE!  I also understand NBC is starting a show too, which is great, because we need more REAL entrepreneurs on television.  After all, you can be what you can see, and in this era of a lot of garbage floating around the media, it’s great to see those hard at work toiling to make the world a better place!

2. The first meeting of the amazing team of advisors on #STEMPrincess’s board will meet in August! Yay! Although, the room may not hold all that awesomeness at one time…we shall see.  And thanks to Kristin Eilenberg over at Lodestone Insights for hosting us! She’s clearly a brave woman…

3. Storytelling time for women – #SMDames16 is coming up! Did you get your tickets yet?

4. And speaking of more girlpower….I’m working on a brand new project that will be unfolding more over the next few months, which I hope will help the NEXT generation of women leaders get into even more C suites and boardrooms in the future.  What is that?  STAY TUNED!

10 Things I Love Right Now

July 16th, 2016

heartWith all the hate, fear and vitriol floating around the universe and the internet right now, especially politically, (my thoughts are with you, Nice) I thought I’d try out the law of attraction and post 10 things I love right now, in order to bring me and the universe more good stuff, and less icky stuff.

Ready?

10 Things I Heart Right Now:

1. Pandora channel – Borns.  Oh to be in my 20s again. (Then again, maybe not.)

2. Art – Bauhaus. I just say Moholy Nagy’s collection at the Guggenheim in NYC and loved that while it looked 60s and spacey, it was really made in the 1920s. Here’s to all ahead of their time!

3. Travel – Amsterdam and Scotland.  Planning my trip to Amsterdam to kick off 2017, and I WILL get to Edinburgh in 2017 if it kills me.  Which leads to the next thing I love right now, which is…

4. Outlander – On Starz – actually makes it worth buying premium cable again.  And two words: Sam. Heughan. I also love that the entire book series was an ACCIDENT!  I’m beginning to think all happy awesome things are just accidents.

5. Girl Ghostbusters – don’t care the story has already been done.  I love to see a good story with 100% girl power!

6. and 7. Food – Butter in NYC. Yum–yes I had a pillow of deliciousness – thanks for asking. And Angus Barn in Raleigh. After eating at both of these places in the past 7 days, the food I see these days’ bar has been set. Way. Higher. Not to mention the scale at my doctor’s office…

8. Mentoring programs – I’m becoming a student of why they work, why they don’t, and how to make them better.

9. & 10. Anchor – loving this little app, especially with my face, made just for radio!  I’ll be discussing how I’m using it over at Social Media Dames #SMDames16 coming up 8/3. #SMDames has been one of the coolest meetings I’ve attended in the past several years now.

#PharmFriday #QOTW

July 15th, 2016

Every Friday I’m trying to answer or ask 1 question of the week (#QOTW), and I’m deeming them under the hashtag #PharmFriday over at Anchor.fm.  My account is under my handle on twitter (@ErinLAlbert) and I also try to post these on @pharmllc’s account on Twitter each Friday.

I’m also going to try to keep this list updated – so I can punt the questions over to others at anchor when they ask (because it feels like I often get the same questions over and over) – this will be a mini-audio-quora-like-page.  The most recent #PharmFriday #QOTW is on the top here:

What time of day do you write?
Should I go to law school after pharmacy school II?
Looking for 1 retail pharmacist ready to move on…request of the week
How are you using Anchor to build your brand or tribe?
How do I get out of retail pharmacy?
What can a pharmacy preceptor do to make rotations & fellowships better?
How do I get unstuck?
What meeting is on your bucket list?
What’s the most interesting pharmacy you’ve ever been in?
What’s your best tip for a out of the box scientific meeting poster?
How do you set up edutaining continuing education programs?
What do you use to record podcasts?
What should a community practice do if she wants to get out of community practice?
How do I reinvent my career?
What are you doing over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend?
What is your best advice to leverage social media to find a job after college?
What is your favorite podcast question?
How do you read a book?
How can I create a video for my platform/business/campaign cost-effectively?
Do you track your time?
What did you learn from Prince?
Law school after pharmacy school I?
How do you put together a peeps diorama?
Where do you get your stationary?
How do I find an illustrator for my children’s book?
How do I get my 11 year old in writing to write more and publish?
What are your favorite podcasts?
What is your best pre-vacation organization tip?
Writing as a vehicle for leadership: how writing can turn college age students into leaders?
What’s your best tip on writing?
How has writing developed your career and professional development?
What are your thoughts on sharing an experience vs. experiencing it solo?
What is your favorite social media tool, and how or why has it enhanced your professional brand?

So, go check these waves out over at anchor.  Enjoy!

 

 

At My WHITS End: A Chat About Gender, Leadership and HIT: Mandi Bishop

July 7th, 2016

Here’s my pitchScreen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.23.46 PM over at LinkedIn about my chat forthcoming today with Mandi Bishop.  But that pitch is really only a tiny fraction of the story.

The wider story is that there’s an egregious double standard out there.  One where Mandi got caught in the crossfire, when she posted about getting bullied when she posted a cartoon….a CARTOON, people…by a man for her “minsogynst” posting and stating she should be fired.  (BTW, to the angry bully/dude–since there were all men in the cartoon, I think you meant to say “misandrist,” but I digress.)

The interesting item is that men also posted the EXACT SAME CARTOON with NO ANGRY RANTS afterward.  My guess with the bully is that he posted snarky comments perhaps because the cartoon hit a little too close to home…?  After all, anger is really just fear, dressed up in a puffed up package.

The double. Standard. Must. Stop.  Mandi’s working on a group called WHITS, where she helps get more women into the HIT dialog, and hopefully rooms of leadership.  I hope you can listen in today over at Pharmacy Podcast.  And better yet, check your own world to see if there is an imbalance of leaders in your company/cause or even companies you support.  If there is an imbalance, ask why, and call it out.  Because if we keep on ignoring it, we’re just going to keep on getting what we’ve got…

 

 

Largest Pharmacy & Healthcare Groups on LinkedIn: 2016

July 4th, 2016

As a LinkedIn Group owner of several groups for several years now, I’ve found that managing groups has become a larger pain-in-the-you-know-where over the past few years.  They’ve made it harder for us to communicate easily with our pending and current group members, in my opinion.  I even had to beg them to allow me the privilege of letting in more than 20,000 members in one group.  And, I get to deal with complaints of posts that are “too salesly” or “inappropriate” about a member from another member. Fun!

I have day jobs.  So, when I went in today to inventory and clean up my groups, I did a little fishing around to see what the largest groups are (at least the public groups) for pharmacy, the associations, and healthcare.

That, and after High Fidelity, I love a solid top 10 list…

Here’s what I found as of 7/4/16:

Pharmacy/Pharmacist Groups:

1. Pharmacist and Pharmacy Jobs – 38,556 members
2. Pharmacy Professionals Network – 25,615
3. Pharmacy MTMS – 23,307
4. Pharmacy Entrepreneurs – 19,351
5. Community Pharmacist Association – 19,306
6. PharmacyWeek – 17,634
7. The Pharmacists’ Group – 17,623
8. Pharmacist Career Network – 14,053
9. Specialty Pharmacy, PBM, Home Infusion, Mail Order and LTC Professionals – 8,839
10. Pharmacy Times – 6,821

Pharmacy Association Groups

HIMSS – 170,989
Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) – 42,769
DIA – 36,021
ASHP – 24,176
ASCP – 13,962
AMCP – 11,629
ISPOR – 7,287
APhA Students – ASP – 6,236
AMWA – 5,673
AACP – 5,186
AHLA – 4,869
HBA – 3,855
ASPL – 2,077
FDLI – 1,677
ABA Health Law – 1,509
NACDS – 1,124
ACCP – 1,065

Pharmaceuticals

1. Pharmaceutical Jobs Biotech Life Science Healthcare Pharma & Medical Devices – 336,687
2. Professionals in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry – 206,791
3. Managers of Pharmaceutical (& Healthcare) – 114,331
4. The Pharmaceutical Marketing Group – 112,978
5. Medical & Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs – 45,818
6. American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists – 30,373
7. Pharmaceutical Clinical Recruitment – 26,449
8. Biotechnology, Medical Device, Pharmaceutical Clinical, Regulatory, Drug, Lab Jobs – 23,311
9. Pharmaceutical Distributors – 23,164
10. GMP/GDP Quality Management Documents and Training for Pharmaceutical Companies – 22,993

Biotech

1. Pharmaceutical Jobs Biotech Life Science Healthcare Pharma & Medical Devices – 336,687
2. Professionals in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry – 206,791
3. Biotech & Pharma Professionals – 65,663
4. Biotech and Pharma Professionals – 58,801
5. MolecularLab (Community of Molecular Biology & Biotech companies, students, researcher) – 54,361
6. SIRE Life Sciences – Recruitment & Executive Search in Pharma, Biotech, Medical, Food & Healthcare – 43,123
7. Biotech/Pharma Opportunities in US – 19,320
8. Global Oncology group (Pharma, Biotech, Medtech, Medicine & Surgery) – 13,003
9. Oncology Jobs in Biotech and Pharmaceuticals – 10,373
10. Pharmaceutical/Biotech/Medical Devices: News, Career Management & Jobs – 9,698

Healthcare

1. Pharmaceutical Jobs Biotech Life Science Healthcare Pharma & Medical Devices Careers HR Recruitment – 336,687
2. Healthcare Executives Network – 251,938
3. Managers of Pharmaceutical & Healthcare – 114,331
4. Healthcare Executive US Networking Group – 80,659
5. Healthcare Industry Professionals Group – 74,841
6. Healthcare-IT/HER/HIS – 51,677
7. HFMA – Healthcare Financial Management Association – 50,135
8. Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) & Quality Innovators – 48,187
9. Healthcare Reform – 42,409
10. Jobs IT Healthcare – 36,878 

Managed Care

1. Managed Care Connections – 26,678
2. Managed Care Executives – 19,833
3. Medicaid Managed Care – 16,185
4. AMCP – 11,629
5. Managed Care Contracting Group – 9,792
6. Managed Care Provider Contracting – 5,995

I thought I’d share these before LinkedIn decides to get rid of the N on each group, or worse yet, gets rid of groups altogether…

Successful Men vs. Women in the Workplace: On Likability

July 3rd, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 10.08.39 AMI’ve said what I’m about to say in random places around the web – comments to my friends’ posts, and other places. I even posted about Zinnias this weekend on Instagram about why I love them - they are all similar, but my favorite thing about them is that they are each unique on their own.  I may have already blogged about it too at one point or another. But it bears worth saying again, because I’ve generally found it to be true, even if others don’t want to go there. I will.  Here goes.

The more successful a man is in the workplace, the more he is liked. 

The more successful a woman is in the workplace, the less she is liked.

That is, success and likability for men are directly proportional to each other.  More success => more likability.  For women, the opposite is true. Why doesn’t the world like a successful woman?  Candidly, I don’t know.  Gender stereotypes?  Ancient suppression of women as the ‘fairer’ sex?  A control issue?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that it has to stop, particularly if we want to achieve gender parity in leadership roles in workplaces all over the universe.

Not one to complain only, here are 5 ways we can reverse this horrible, degrading and downright awful trend:

1. Congratulate everyone–man or woman–for good work.  This may be a duh, but you’d be surprised how many workplaces don’t celebrate success anymore.  We’re all so…busy.  But, shouldn’t we make success and celebration thereof a priority?

2. Blind names on job applications and resumes – There are all kinds of studies out there that show that women who ended up using or having more masculine names are more likely to get job interviews, even more gigs based upon their name alone.  (Here’s one story.) Their NAME.  How is a name related to work ethic, working hard and doing an awesome job?  It isn’t, unless you factor in pure unconscious bias. But and unfortunately, psychologically it IS.  Smart workplaces will note this unconscious bias and just flat out blind names on resumes for hiring managers and search committees.  Then, you’re looking at the most qualified applications, and gender is no longer an issue, period.

3. Ritualize and promote diversity in the workplace.  This could be something as simple as a poll or survey on what a word means to each team member, like “leadership” or “diversity” or “fun” – and then sharing that individualized data with the entire team.  That promotes and demonstrates the richness of having a diverse team, in my opinion.  In a world that’s trying desperately for most to fit in, why not celebrate the opposite–what stands out among us?

4. Blind the suggestion box at your workplace.  Does your workplace even HAVE a suggestion box?  If not, why not?  If so, is it blinded?  Can anyone feel comfortable providing suggestions and candidly calling out bad behavior they are witnessing or experiencing, despite their rank or position?  If you lead an organization, you should have a suggestion box. That’s one of the few ways leaders can actually see and hear what’s going on out there.  Otherwise, everyone just sugar coats everything, and guess where you end up?  In an Emperor has no clothes situation.  Not good.

On the other hand on this suggestion, the paranoid lawyer in me thinks you’re inviting trouble here….but seriously -wouldn’t you rather know if trouble is brewing vs. not in your organization sooner rather than later so you can nip it in the bud?

5. Use 360 degree feedback.  Three sixty is yet another mechanism to hold everyone accountable. Everyone.  That includes leaders.  But, if you just use top down feedback in performance management, you’re only getting half the story.  Real, true and strong leaders demand 360 degree feedback, because they know that it holds everyone accountable in doing the best job they can.  If you’re a leader in your org and you’re not getting feedback from your direct reports, then I argue you’re not the best leader you could be.

We have to cease unconscious bias.  Time after time, there’s data all over the place that says diverse organizations bring more to the bottom line – revenue, customer satisfaction and make organizations stronger.  Yet, we still have preconceived notions that destroy the best version of our organization.  Awareness is the first step, and the tools above are a few ways to mitigate the problem.  If one leader reads this post and thinks about it, the post has done its job.

Did ACPE 2016 Get it Wrong?

July 2nd, 2016

MPI need to step up on my pharmacy education soapbox for a minute (forgive me).

But, the more I read ACPE 2016 (the document and standards for which pharmacy schools are held to for accreditation) and the more I watch the real world of pharmacy careers and practice, I can’t help to think that perhaps, ACPE 2016 standards for pharmacy education got it, respectfully, wrong.

The whole thing isn’t wrong. In fact, I like some of the changes.  Particularly the new Standard 4, which honestly should have been in there a long time ago. (Alan Spies and I discuss Standard 4 on The Pharmacy Podcast this week.) Professionals SHOULD be self aware and entrepreneurial, for example.  (Here’s a slide deck analysis of some of the ACPE 2016 standards I have taught around, in particular Standard 4.)

What I think ACPE got wrong lies in Appendix 2 of the document, “Expectations within the APPE Curriculum.”  Under “Elective APPE,” they only allow for 2 non-patient care pharmacy rotations.  Two. That’s 2 out of 10 where I come from.  This, in my opinion, is wrong if we truly want to expand what it means to be a pharmacist.

Yes, the majority of pharmacists still care for patients.  I get it.  And no doubt every pharmacist should have some exposure to the tough job of direct patient care.  But if you look at the biggest boom in STEM careers (of which I see healthcare as part of), you’ll note that the largest opportunities (particularly for leadership) are in IT, statistics, real-world health outcomes, managing big data sets, managing plans and formularies, entrepreneurship (disruptive innovation, anyone, in healthcare?) and preventative education design, which most in fact have little direct patient care involvement.

To limit all students to only 2 non direct patient care rotations is, in my view, a travesty to growth of the profession.  Some pharmacy majors don’t want to go into direct patient care. And, frankly, now that introductory rotations (IPPE) are required BEFORE APPE, shouldn’t students be exposed in those experiences to direct patient care?  I don’t think all pharmacists are suited for direct patient care, nor is it their passion–why should we then force students to rotate in that vein when they already know it’s not for them?

I’m not saying take away direct patient care experiences, either.  What I am saying is, be sure to include a wider variety of rotation experiences for students before they graduate, so they can find what it is that they love to do within the profession earlier.  (Here’s a post I did on fantasy line up of pharmacy rotations.) And, it helps the entire profession to expand on what it truly means to be a pharmacist–we no longer have that mentality of two gig tracks only after pharmacy school–retail and hospital pharmacy.  Pharmacy has become way, way more interesting and expansive beyond these two roles.  But, if you only expose students to these 2 (or even these 2 as the majority) experiences, we limit the very profession itself on what it could be–why not push the boundaries?

In fact, I think it would be wise for ACPE to consider more non-traditional career paths.  Maybe even have the students go somewhere completely different that dare I say, doesn’t even have pharmacists on staff normally, so they can be exposed to the wider world and where pharmacy could fit?  Perhaps even design their own non-traditional pharmacy rotation experience?  What if we made them go into an environment where no pharmacist was in order to learn how to advocate for the profession?  That, to me would be a far, far better experience than going to another hospital or another community chain drug store.

Most of the pharmacists I work around in my settings do not have direct patient care anymore, but they are leaders of the profession.  Isn’t it time that we considered the role of “pharmacist” to mean a wider definition of the profession itself?

I’m stepping off of my soapbox now.  But I won’t forget this nagging feeling that we are doing our profession a serious disservice…

5 Roads Out of Retail…Pharmacy

July 1st, 2016

roadoutAfter the “I’m stuck,” statement, the next question pharmacists usually ask me about is the following:

“How do I get out of retail pharmacy?”

I’m about to throw down some suggestions, and how I did it.  But before I do, allow me to preface this by saying that retail pharmacy is one of the hardest jobs I ever did.  It’s very hard work–both mentally and physically exhausting work–in dealing with the often sick or unwell public, insurance companies that seem to be really good at saying no, and providers who sometimes don’t know what they are doing.  It takes a great toll on a community pharmacist. If you have a bad day as a pharmacist, you could kill someone with one tiny error.  That’s why they are paid extremely well.  Every script you fill = your license on the line.

It’s not an easy gig.  Trust me, I’ve been there, done that, and did it for a large part of my career. Props to all of the community pharmacists out there trying their best to make it work in a very, very demanding career.  If you have a pharmacist in your community that you rely upon, give them some love!

I’ll also preface this by saying that retail pharmacy is also hard to get out of without more effort involved.  When I moved from community pharmacy over to the biotech industry the first time after 6-ish years in retail, it took a geographic move, 3 months of networking my dupa off, more interviews than I can count, and a massive pay cut to transport into industry.

What did I do? Well, I’ve already written about that in my first book.

Getting out was as hard as staying in, in the beginning!

So, if you’re still reading after all of those disclaimers, here are my top 5 suggestions to squeal the tires and get out of retail Dodge (if that’s really what you want to do…).

1. More education – I hate to say this, but this is something I tell all of my students: a PharmD anymore by itself just isn’t going to cut it.  There are 280,000ish pharmacists in the US now.  You MUST bring something unique to the table. The easier route is to go back and get education in a niche area that is in demand.

Case in point: the top 25 search terms in LinkedIn right now for recruiting happen to all be in IT – either programming, big data, or analysis thereof.  Get some HIT or MIS or MIT training, especially if you dig computers.  Consider programming if you want to get into informatics.  Pile on more ed around whatever the niche is that you want to pursue.

This could be another degree, although that’s an expensive proposition.  It could also be, for example, a certification.  Check out my tracker of pharmacist and healthcare certifications if you need ideas – there are over 100 of them now!

I’m also going to throw in speaking & writing here.  You can have all the wonderful knowledge in your head about therapeutics, pharmacology and drugs–but if you can’t convey that knowledge both in writing and public speaking, you’re doomed.  Why they took public speaking and intensive writing out of several pharmacy school programs, I’ll never know, but these are must-have skills on the roads out of retail and for any leader in his or her profession, period.

2. Volunteer – I listened to James Altucher’s podcast today with a futurist, and one point he discussed in trying to predict the future was to look and see what people are doing for free today, and whether or not you could turn it into a legit business tomorrow.  So, my question to you: what are you doing for free that maybe you could turn into a part time or full time gig of your own? Maybe that’s work at a non profit board, association, foundation, or free clinic.  Maybe it’s writing stuff.  Maybe it’s underwater basketweaving.

Another way to describe it: what are you doing on your best or ideal day?  Can you get more of that into a day job?

3. Network - Cliche, but it’s important.  Go right now over to Linkedin, and find everyone doing a cool job in your network that you’d like to do next.  Then, invite every single one of them out for coffee or lunch.  Then, find out what they love, what they are challenged by, then ask to stay in touch if that’s something you’d like to try.  Share your resume with them and have them be brutally honest–if you don’t have the right skills, how may you fill in the gaps?

I’m going to warn you here again: pharmacists coming out of retail are not going to make the money that they did in retail, with very rare exception.  So, are you really prepared to take that pay cut to get out?  If so, read on…

4. Determine what you really need to live on – Before you quit your day job to volunteer 100% of your time, I hope you pre-determined that you were independently wealthy and could take the money off to live your best life. For the rest of us with actual bills to pay – you need to take a hard look at your expenses and costs and what you really need to live on in order to see what type of cut you could live with.  This is one of the largest banes of leaving community pharmacy – because most community pharmacists get used to the money, then have the golden handcuffs and can’t leave the big paycheck behind to try other things.  Don’t be that guy.

5. Realize that your fantasy job does not exist (yet) - had this exact conversation at work today with 2 mentees – if you think your ideal dream job already exists on paper somewhere and someone is going to miraculously hand it to you, you’re going to be waiting. A. Long. Time.

No job is 100% roses, lollipops and sunshine.  It’s called ‘work’ for a reason. It’s…work.  But, if you can find a gig that allows you to be a little creative, you can bring in some work that really matters to a day job for you.

Example: When I worked at a big pharma co, I volunteered to work between the company and the state board of pharmacy to earn CE credits for the hundreds of pharmacists that worked at that company when they attended internal training programs.  That was slightly creative, not on the grid of my actual day job, but it led me to hundreds of other pharmacist contacts within said company to see what they were all up to for career ideas.  (Actually this example knocks out more than 1 of the 5 roads out.)

No doubt about it: retail pharmacy is a tough road.  Even tougher are the roads that lead away from retail pharmacy.  But, if you take the 5 steps above that I used before I got out, with a little extra luck and hard work, you should eventually hit the new career pharmacy superhighway.

p.s. Ready to hire a pharmacy career coach?  I’m available! Check out the rates per hour here.