Working as a pharmacy technician - can I negotiate better pay and more learning opportunities? And how would you phrase this to leave good relations in the future for employment reasons?
July 9, 2012 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Working as a pharmacy technician - can I negotiate better pay and more learning opportunities? And how would you phrase this to leave good relations in the future for employment reasons?

So I'm a pharmacy student who took some time off this semester for personal reasons and work as a pharmacy technician. I'm about to go back to school in August (a few weeks); and was wondering for advice on how to handle my situation. Theoretically I could stay at this position - the pharmacist has already asked if I would stay throughout the school year; but the store I work at is an hour from where I"ll be living and going to for school. So driving perhaps once a week on a weekend to work a few hours may not be in my best interest because it would entail a round trip of 2 hours in terms of transportation (and gas money).

So here are the other down sides: because the store's location has low script volume but is constantly busy with people, I don't feel that I"ll ever get to learn anything more than just being a cashier. Previously, I got the chance to enter the scripts in the system but I was too slow and since there's such a high pressure to produce speedy returns to get every script (medical prescription) filled so people don't have to wait, I doubt I'll ever really move up and learn anything. All I will ever do is basically be the cashier/front person for everything (from phone calls, to answering questions, to helping out in pulling drugs, to some filling). I also think that this store is crazy busy with people and it's just sometimes high pressure situation even though I've adapted well and have done a good job (which is why the pharmacist asked if I could continue).

I guess the only reason to stay and put in the effort for the store would be for the connections, and for face value with my name linked since I may want to be considered for hiring purposes for later. Moreover, I know that in this tough economy - even in my tech position, I should be glad about getting the experience. Where my school is located about an hour away there is a saturation of pharmacy students and positions filled so it's tough to find an opening to work at.

What should I really take into consideration when thinking about whether to leave or not? I would rather if not working, leave my schedule open so I could study or other possible positions in the future. But I know through conversations I hear over the phone that I can easily be replaced and there is just a set number of hours that the pharmacy manager can give to the techs. In the past few weeks I've picked up the phone to find several people calling about job positions and one person who the pharmacist I heard inquire to another person about a tech who was a nursing student who had been a tech with three years of experience that he was thinking of getting on board.

And how would you bring it up to the manager to negotiate possibly a better salary or to learn more through the position for me to stay? How could you phrase things to leave my position in good terms? I guess I'm wondering if I decide to just leave this position that I'm letting go of something "good" even though it's such a tough store to work at in terms of dealing with the high volume of phone calls and the high demands of the people. It's just exhausting though to work and I can't imagine working even one day a week (or more for a couple of hours) to go back and study. I am just so drained and the pharmacist even commented that this is not the store where you can just sit and wait; it's pretty demanding.

Thoughts/advice on how to negotiate a better pay/learning environment enough for me to stay? What else should I consider?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I would focus my main efforts on school. Your degree will stick with you forever and have more value then the part time experience your getting with your tech job. If your too drained from work to focus on school , I would seriously consider hitting the job ads and finding something more comfortable and sutiable for a student. It may be hard to find another job right away , so make sure you keep your current one while you look. As far as asking about learning more , you should have no reservations about asking a co-worker especially someone in a supervisor position, thats what they are there for.... maybe you can come in early , or stay late and just shadow someone.
posted by sea turtle at 7:05 PM on July 9, 2012

I would see if your pharmacy has an established internship program and if you can get into it. Most chains have programs with built-in learning opportunities for students (e.g., they sit in on presentations, give talks on assigned subjects, work on special projects, etc.). At some chains that I've heard of, being an intern rather than a tech changes the way that you're scheduled: you're always extra, scheduled on top of a full team. That itself helps to create a better environment for learning.

Ultimately, working during pharmacy school is for the experience rather than the pay, so I'd leave the subject of pay for last if you can secure yourself an internship. And if your pharmacy says you can't advance from the tech role, I'd suggest that you start looking elsewhere.
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 7:22 PM on July 9, 2012

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