So, working at BigBoxStore Pharmacy? ... as a cashier? Possible on-the-job training as a pharmacy tech. Need career advice!
posted by anonymous to work & money (9 answers total)
Basically, right now I'm biding my time before this summer, when I have several pretty exciting plans lined up. For the moment, though, I need to work-- I have no savings and I've got bills to pay.
I'm currently working full-time as a bank teller. It's a decent job-- I get to wear my own clothes (no uniform), it's dignified in my tiny community, and my coworkers are friendly. It's in a shady part of town, so we get some interesting clientele (think public urination), but I haven't had to deal with anything outright violent or abusive. Just normal crazy. I'm new enough that I haven't had to deal with referral goals yet (basically sales goals), but will soon-- not something I'm looking forward to.
However, I recently got an offer to work as an OTC cashier at BigBoxStore pharmacy. I've worked at BigBoxStore twice in the past-- the first time as a summer job before I got mono and quit, and the second time for about two days before I went home in a blanket of frustration and shame. Both times you could say were relatively demoralizing, but all in all, it's not a terrible place to work. What you've heard in the news about BigBoxStore's abusive employment practices, while not exaggerated, doesn't always touch the individual worker's life. A lot of friends and family work at this particular store, and they have few complaints.
The first few times I was working strictly as a cashier/floor sales, but this time, as I said, it's an OTC cashier position, which is basically the pharmacy cashier, a step below the real pharm techs, doing cashiering & grunt work. Working at a pharmacy is actually something I've been interested in for awhile-- I considered pharmacy school at one point, and am still interested in health care careers. According to the hiring pharmacist, cashiers can gradually acquire more and more duties and eventually complete training to become pharmacy techs (as in, they're often hired from within). I've wanted to be a pharmacy tech in the past (wanted some exposure to medicine and medical terminology) and I've also considered training to be a medical transcriptionist.
However, this job is definitely not a tech job right off the bat-- and since I have exciting summer plans (one being a short-term internship, the other people a potential long-term job offer), I don't know if I'll be sticking around long enough to get any tech duties. My impulse while writing this paragraph is to switch jobs to the pharmacy-- it's closer, I'll be saving about $200/mo. on gas, it's more related to my interests. I've been a bank teller before and didn't really like it then, don't love it now. Literally all that's keeping me from switching is the shame factor-- I really, REALLY like dressing as myself for work, hate wearing khakis, and I am really sensitive to folks from my past making sly comments about how I "went to college, why am I working at BigBoxStore," &c.
The thing is that I have pretty bad social anxiety, which I mostly manage with medication and (as a skill from past therapy) defeating my negative self-talk. I'm afraid that giving up at the bank is a manifestation of my anxiety, because the job is a long commute and involves mostly working with older people, while I am a mildly awkward young adult. Right now the thought of returning to the bank terrifies me, but I also don't want to make a stupid decision that tramples on my self-esteem just because I'm afraid. On the other hand, why do I hate wearing khakis so much? Is that really a good reason to stick with a difficult job that is not giving me any exposure to other job fields I'm interested in? But to be honest, if I switch jobs, it will be my third job in one year (restaurant, bank, pharmacy), and there's a chance I might be switching again this summer (though to a dream job)-- so four job changes in one year!
Other factors in favor of the pharmacy are that it's 30hrs/wk instead of 40 (at the bank), which sounds like a negative, but due to some family health issues I could use the extra time to give care. The pay is roughly similar (slightly lower), but as I said, transportation costs would decline sharply. I'm not worried about losing benefits, because my health care is taken care of by a state low-income program.
One thing is, if I knew for sure I could take a leave of absence from the pharmacy to attend my summer internship, I would 100% take the pharmacy job. My reasons being that then the long-term prospects seem better to me (want to be a tech!). Right now inertia is kind of telling me to stay at the bank if it's only going to be for three more months, but if I knew it would be for a year, at which point I could be promoted to tech, then yeah, I would do that. Khakis and all.
If you can't tell, I've recently been off my depression/anxiety meds for insurance reasons (back on them now), and have been kind of a mess when it comes to decision making. I kind of need someone to kick me in the pants and say "BigBoxStore isn't that bad" or "what are you thinking, khakis?!?!!!" or "being a pharm tech is hell" or "working at a bank is not that preferable to being a cashier." I just feel lucky to have gotten the bank job (it's a little more competitive, a little more dignified, pays a little more, &c.) after a long period of unemployment and turning it down for a job at BigBoxStore will mean putting up with a lot of confused grunts from family and family friends. But I have nooo interest in staying at the bank in the long-term, or really gaining any career experience from it-- it's not leading me anywhere. My boyfriend says he thinks the pharmacy job sounds like the best choice for me.
I think that the one thing keeping me from making the switch is the leave of absence issue-- how likely does it seem for a new employee (three months in) to get a six week leave of absence for personal reasons which are educational in nature? The program I want to attend is related to public policy, and I got in due to my interest in public health/education policy. There's also the possibility that my summer Dream Job won't work out (it's known to be a volatile place, a high risk/high reward type career) and I'll know very quickly, and in that circumstance I'd definitely like to return at the end of the summer to resume my tech "career path."
I have been a mess lately and asking a lot of job/career related questions, so my apologies. Yesterday I found myself reading a Forbes article about job offers when I realized I was blowing this situation way out of proportion. My main concerns are 1) I quit/switch jobs too often (in the past I've usually stuck with a job for about a year before moving on, while I was a student) and 2) is working at a BigBoxStore going to grind me into dust, and 3) how likely is it that I'll be able to continue this job on into a tech career? If you have specific experience with on-the-job training as a pharm tech at a big retail store, I would really appreciate any insight.
In relation to my anxiety, I feel very flaky and weasely keeping so many jobs and options on the back burner, and I feel like I'm being high-maintenance and unrealistic about what Having a Job entails in the real world. For instance, bouncing around at so many jobs, or completing training and deciding a job isn't for me-- I know these are things that people do, but I have a bit of shame about never really sticking with a job for more than a year or giving my best performance, since in the past I had so many depression-related motivation issues.
As a little background, I went to a good college and have some interest in continuing in academia eventually, but for the moment I am spending time at home with my family and just seeking some financial stability. I am not a very ambitious person, and my career goals mostly revolve around an interest in jobs like copyediting and typing that could eventually become freelance in the event that I choose to have a family. I am pretty content with my current lifestyle.