Writers enjoy letters from readers. Early in my blogging days, an encouraging word would keep me going when I wanted to stop. I’m grateful for such feedback. But not all letters were easy to read. Some of the hardest were the emails from unemployed pharmacists. They sounded to me like a cry for help. Many just wanted advice to help get back on track. A few probably just needed to vent.
While I found out early on that I couldn’t possibly answer every comment or question, I tried to answer nearly all the letters asking for career advice, particularly from the unemployed. My heart would go out to them in their difficult circumstances. They were strangers, but they were fellow-pharmacists and new friends. I wanted to help.
I’m glad I was able to share some advice, though I often never found out how things turned out for them. I am hopeful that some were able to re-enter the job market and stabilize their careers.
Today I thought I would share some unedited sections of their emails to me. Many pharmacists working today have no idea what the job market is really like. Until your store closes, or consolidates, or you relocate thinking you can just find a job easily, or you quit or are terminated…you may be shielded from the real situation.
Here are portions of their communications to me:
“I have been unemployed a little over 3 months. The last time I was unemployed I was working an overnight position which was eliminated in Dec 2015. It took 8 months to find another job. Luckily, I was receiving unemployment. Now I am like homeless broke. I moved in with my mother. I can’t even get a regular office job with my work history. I think some money is better than no money.”
“I myself have been unemployed for a little over a month when my home store unfortunately closed for business, and currently my company cannot guarantee me any hours per pay period so I chose not to stay with them. I know it’s only been a little over a month, but I am feeling somewhat discouraged. I live in Illinois where I feel there is an over saturation of pharmacists considering there are 6 schools and only one big metropolitan city. Anyways, I’m trying to stay positive and take it day by day.”
“I have talked to a temp agency and explained to her my situation and that i was at this point just looking for any kind of office work, especially in a doctor’s office until something did materialize for me on the pharmacy side. I have even applied to just other retail places working as a sales associate or possibly management. If I have to get 2 or 3 low paying jobs that’s fine because honestly, I think I need a break from the pharmacy retail world. I am starting May 8 to get an online Master’s Degree in Health Informatics.”
Over the years I have received many, many more of these. I don’t share them with any pleasure. I do want pharmacists and future pharmacists to know the honest truth about where we are at as a profession.