Your New Pharmacy Job

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You got the job! Congratulations! You are excited. You are relieved. You are nervous. Maybe you have gotten promoted to a new position with the same company, or maybe you are coming in as an outsider to a new employer altogether. Whatever the situation, someone (or more likely several people) thought you were a good fit for the role. You should be proud.

But now the pressure is on. As Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, once said, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” How we start often determines how we finish. There will be new people to work with, new systems to learn and a whole host of new expectations to meet. This is a very critical moment in this new chapter of your life. In fact, many experts believe that the first 90 days will set the tone for the rest of your time with this employer. Get these first 90 days right. Your pharmacy career may depend on it.

So what do you need to do during these first 90 days to be successful at your new pharmacy job?

First, and most importantly, you will need to obtain a very clear set of expectations from your new boss. This relationship is critical. And the only way to be very clear about expectations is to ask. You may need to take the initiative in this aspect of your onboarding. And you may need to review and clarify these goals along the way. But bottom line, you should be able to clearly articulate exactly what is most important to your new supervisor. Execute on these things.

Second, and almost as important, is that you must focus on relationships during this initial 3 month period. For many pharmacists or pharmacy technicians the tendency will be to focus on the technical aspects of the job: learning the software, running reports, daily activities needed to get done. While these are all important, it is even more important to build solid relationships with the team. If you are in leadership, this will mean meeting individually with both your team and your horizontal peers. For staff level positions, you must do all you can to get to know your co-workers and key leaders in various positions throughout the organization.

Third, take good notes. The first 90 days may feel like drinking from a fire hose. I recommend having a notebook in which you write things down every day. Unless you have an impeccable memory, you will find this to be an invaluable resource as you review what you have done and learned. Write down your reflections.

Fourth, look for some early wins. That is, look for ways to make a tangible difference as quickly as possible. At the very least, set yourself a goal to find 2-3 ways you can visibly improve the current situation in the first 3 months. Is there a job that no one really likes to do? Maybe you can embrace it, as this will not only be noticeable but much appreciated as well. What worked well at your last job? Could they implement that here?

Fifth, and finally, seek feedback often. “How am I doing?” can go a far way in showing that you care about your performance and want to be contributing to the success of the organization. Don’t assume you are doing fine. If your boss isn’t giving you clear feedback, you need to seek it out. Document your requests for feedback in your notebook and record his/her responses as well.

Starting a new job is both exciting and scary. And your beginning is, arguably, the most important part of your work. Hopefully, these tips will help get you started on the right foot and lead to a very rewarding new journey in your career. Good luck!

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