How it all started

I graduated pharmacy school in the year of 2016. It was during a time where many new graduates were starting to have problems finding a job. I wanted to work in a major city where I grew up but I had no idea how I was going to find a job. I had been with a chain pharmacy for better half of a decade at this point and decided to reach out to my supervisors to see if anyone can help me land a job. After a few emails and a couple of weeks, it dawned on me how real and bleak the job market had become for pharmacists. You hear about it working as a technician or intern at different stores when pharmacists are talking, but you never really understands the gravity of the situation until it is happening to you. Now it is happening to me, and I was clueless.

I didn’t network throughout pharmacy school because I thought I had my careers path set. I applied for and was granted a small scholarship through the chain pharmacy where they would pay 2.5k per year for up to 5 years. The caveat was that every year I took the scholarship, I was committing myself to 1 year with the company. I decided to take 10k. My train of thought was, I really needed the money, and if I’m committed to them, they are committed to me. Granted it did say in the fine prints that the scholarship did not guarantee a job after one graduates. It seemed weird to me that a company would invest 10k in a kid and not offer him a job afterwards. After doing some digging, I found another document (which was not given to me), that stated if I did not receive a job after graduating I would have to pay back the money with 8% interest. Now it all makes sense. The saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch kept spinning in my head and now I was really worried. On top of the 120k loan I graduated with, I’d be responsible for another 10k on top of that?

I started to panic and applied for different jobs left and right. No responses. Emailed previous pharmacy managers who knew me. No successes. Almost a month had passed and the little that I saved from working part time and summer time was almost gone. I needed to reach out to more people. I remembered one of the store managers, Sam, who I worked for is now working at the district level. I started to look for his contact information. I combed through my whole email inbox and found an old yahoo email that Sam used over 4 years ago. My pharmacy manager at the time decided to forward me an email that Sam sent out that explained why the company stock had dropped that week. Since I didn’t have his work email, I decided to try my luck. I told him about my situation and he replied the next day on a Saturday morning asking me to call him as soon as possible. We talked briefly and he offered me an interview.

A week later, we met at the district office for the interview. Sam knew my work ethic and was happy to offer me a position and said I can start working as a graduated intern until I was fully licensed. Few days later I got my formal job offer in an email. The company offered me $57/hour for a full time position totaling 118k per year. It was such a great news I remember re-reading the email multiple times throughout the day and just so relieved that I was able to support myself financially.

I want to write this blog to help everyone who is thinking about a career in pharmacy. I believe that by sharing details about someone who chose pharmacy as a career during a decline can help others make better, more informed choices for themselves.

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