Directly Speaking - Be All That You Can Be: In Your Life

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
March 31, 2015

“Be all that you can be” was the recruiting slogan for the US Army from 1980-2001 and was recently voted by Advertising Age Magazine as the second greatest jingle in advertising history.¹ It was five words that transformed the new Army and told young men and women that it was looking for a new kind of soldier. A more educated young person that could use the Army as a stepping stone to good career and a better life.

That slogan is a great slogan for any pharmacy student, new practitioner and new pharmacy technician to this day. Actually it is a great slogan for every living being, if you think about it! Who wants to be the least that you can be?! I know some people who treat work that way, but then, they aren’t happy nor are they going anywhere in the near future, career-wise anyway! But I digress, Pharmacy is a great career with clean surroundings, a good wage and good benefits. More importantly, you spend your days helping people!  

Yes, there are specific requirements to become a pharmacist, not everyone is suited for the job and yes, the requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician continue to be raised as the profession and society see the need for well-trained and accountable support staff.  So it’s not as easy to become either as it was in the 1970’s, 80’s and even the 90’s, when I was working on the front lines. But the lessons I learned back then, still apply today. You need to “Be all that you can be!”

What do I mean in saying “Be all that you can be!”? I think it means never passing up a chance to learn something new. When a new project or service is initiated in your department, volunteer to help get it started. When the pharmacy director asks who would like to serve on a hospital committee (I know, most of the time, the director has someone specific in mind), go for it. Or better yet, ask if you can shadow the current department member on a specific committee for one meeting or more. You will be surprised what you can learn not only about what the committee is doing, but often you can learn why you and your colleagues in the pharmacy are doing what you are doing the way you do!

But there’s more! Make a conscious effort to attend a state or local pharmacy association meeting, if there is one around. If none are close, consider visiting a former classmate at their facility on one of your days off for a tour and some idea sharing. You don’t have to be a boss to do this, and it will demonstrate to your boss that you have some personal initiative. That doesn’t mean you need to be a (pardon the expression) suck up, but showing initiative and volunteering to learn something new is always a positive attribute. Most people don’t care for change and often resist it for as long as they can. Being an early adapter or an innovator will make you a valuable commodity in the eyes of good leaders.

Students and new practitioners need to understand that pharmacy is more than a job. It’s not a clock in and clock out when you’re scheduled kind of thing. Pharmacy is more of a “leave only when the job’s done and there are no loose ends” kind of profession. It’s a never leave your colleagues in the lurch profession. Because it is a profession! And we should never hear “It’s not my job” in the pharmacy unless it is immediately accompanied by “But I will get the person who can make that happen!” You see, if you’re looking for someplace to make a lot of money, with little responsibility and no requirement for accountability, you’ve picked the wrong profession or worse yet, job! (If you think any position in the pharmacy is a job, you’ve already made a bad decision!) Yes, you should be able to provide for your family, but health care in general and pharmacy specifically for us, should be patient-focused at all times. And if you continuously learn new things and take on new responsibilities, at the least you won’t be bored and who knows, maybe it can lead to greater things than you ever imagined? If you “Be all that you can be” every day and refuse to accept the position you’ve taken as the only tasks you should perform, I promise, you will have a rewarding career and will always feel good about pharmacy! Be all that you can be!

¹ Carter E. The Spearhead of Branding. (accessed 2015 February).

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