My first job was a delight, my second job not as quite. My second job was as a pharmacy technician for a major multi-million dollar drug store and it was a nightmare. I was in the busiest store within our district, underpaid, with bad management and at times horrible customers. At the time I would have given anything to get away from the job that was sucking the life out of me one prescription bottle at a time, but looking back, I am happy I stuck with it for as long as I did because it gave me a well-defined list of life lessons:
1. The World Does Not Revolve Around Me
I think as teenagers, most of us are cushioned from the outside world by our parents. My parents are by no means the ideal image of parents and my childhood was far from perfect, but I did still find myself throwing quite a few pity parties as a teenager as to why the world was so mean to me. As a pharmacy technician, I would have patients coming for their medications, each one with their own backstory. Some patients were highly understanding individuals who realized that our arsenal of medications behind the counter had its limits and would gladly wait an extra day until their Dexamethasone was in stock, while other customers would snatch their prescription back if I told them they would have to wait 30 minutes before their Amoxicillin would be ready. At first, it would frustrate me, but over time it made me realize that everyone has their own set of issues they're dealing with, and not everyone deals with things the same way. So suck it up, Buttercup, the world does not revolve around you.
2. Time Management
Towards the end of my time at this job, we became very short staffed. There would be days where we would voluntarily give up our lunch breaks so that the remaining employees would not feel the extra pressure during the lunch time rush. Fifteen-minute breaks were not permitted because management saw them as unnecessary, and we were all voluntarily working past our ten-hour shifts and working overtime when possible. It crunched us in, but it made me figure out a game plan with everything I did. If I was working the 8 o'clock shift and opening the pharmacy, I had a well-defined list in my head of what needed to be accomplished by the time the 9 o'clock shift arrived. Once 9 o'clock arrived I would give them a set list of responsibilities they needed to accomplish while I worked on ordering, and so on. It taught me to always have a game plan, and to always be flexible, which brings me to my next topic…
3. Flexibility and Multitasking
People get sick. People leave early. I had to always prepare for the unexpected. If the 9 o'clock person called out, I would have to somehow manage to complete what I had been planning to do as well as figure out who would take on her tasks. Always expect the unexpected. We would fill over 600 prescriptions a day and had about that same amount of customers. Besides that, we would also have to put away inventory, order new inventory, delete old prescriptions from the system, call doctors' offices for refills, call insurance companies for medication overrides, take patient phone calls, check the recall list, monitor the three refrigerators, take count of excess inventory, and dispose of outdated ones. All of these tasks would need to be done every single day. I became a wizard at multitasking and at abruptly changing my course of action when needed.
4. Follow Through
While I was working this full-time job I was also in college. I had a bad habit of not turning things in when I was supposed to and skipping classes that I felt were boring and not stimulating enough for me. It got to the point where I was suspended from my financial aid. When you're working a job that you can’t stand, it's the first thought you have when you get up each morning, and everything else seems like peaches and cream by comparison. I used to hate math, but once I went back to college I was taking advanced math courses and getting high marks. Why? Sometimes in life you just have to grit your teeth and do things you don’t want to do. I hated my job, but I needed to pay rent. One math class is just a math class; after a semester I would never have to take the class again as long as I passed. I started applying this mindset to everything that seemed hard to me in my life. Hiking the Adirondack mountains with my boyfriend was no longer an issue. Even though my muscles ached, I felt accomplished that I completed the hike. Each day was a battle, but by the end of it I felt like I had accomplished something.
The worst job may not be the worst thing that happens to you. I learned a lot from my horrible job, lessons that I hope to carry with me forever. It hardened me as a person, but it also made me wiser. I don’t miss the hassles I had to go through, but I am content with the person I have become. If I hadn’t had this job opportunity, I wouldn’t have gained this valuable insight.
About the Creator
Just your typical millennial I guess. Eating the right stuff because I can't afford anything past my current debt. East Coast living. I enjoy hiking and being lazy all at once. Existential crisis for the win.
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