I work in a pharmacy in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. It is our family business/thingy: My father in a pharmacist, and so is my sister. My mother, though not a pharmacist by profession, she has 20+ years experience in running the pharmacy by now, so by now she is actually better than many ‘real’ pharmacists. And so, after high school, I was forced to follow the family trend and study pharmacy, although I knew I hated it. And now looking at the possible careers, non of them seemed to catch my attention or to promise any self satisfaction, so again I was forced to work as a retail pharmacist, in our pharmacy.
And I hate it. I really do, from
the bottom All my Heart.
As mentioned before, I was forced to study it, although to be honest, I enjoyed studying some of the subjects, I hated the vast majority. (All the biology related bullshit).
It is not a rewarding job, I work all day (yes I do) and yes I do get paid but what’s next? Do I get promoted? Do I get a raise or do I get moved to another maybe more interesting department? Unfortunately the answer to all the previous question is NO! Even if I keep working here for the next 20 years, I will still be wasting my life on that desk.
Am I really a pharmacist? I do ‘sell’ medicine but what else do I do? Did you just tell me I have studied for 5 years in college, studied plants, toxins, drug structures, pharmacology, chemistry, zoology, epidemiology and many, many more just to ‘sell’ medicines?
– A fact about community pharmacies in Egypt: Physicians write the trade names of drugs in prescriptions so basically all you do is fetch them out of the shelf. Or, you act as the physician and prescribe medicines (Everything is OTC), and half literate people try to convince you that you don’t understand anything and you are prescribing the wrong medicine because “they know it all, and their cousin has tried this drug and worked better”
Add to #3 that I am in Sharm el Sheikh, Egyptian Ibiza, city of tourism and prostitution (literal prostitution). So basically I sell more accessories, Viagra and condoms than ‘real drugs’ through the day.
Taking this as a full-time job is self-destructive, if you add up #3 and #4, you will see the picture that there is no innovation. More memorizing of stuff, drug names and places than thinking. It’s making me lose all my innovative skills, creativity skills & talking skills (explained in #6)
As mentioned before, I work in our pharmacy in Sharm el Sheikh, while I have lived all my life in Alexandria and it’s where all my friends are. Add to that (reference #4) the vast amount of prostitutes and drug addicts in that city, I do not really want to be friends with any of them. Or I can state this in another way, they wouldn’t really want to be friends with me, they would want to use me/my pharmacy for getting free stuff.
This leads to me spending all day without talking to anyone. No wait, I talk to costumers, let’s say I don’t have any proper conversations with anyone.
Even if working in a pharmacy is supposed to be fun or interesting, not in our pharmacy. Although it is a very good pharmacy in terms of patient satisfaction and stock wise. It is not even close to being a good place to spend all your day (I go home to sleep). So no TV, and the pharmacy has the worst internet connection ever, going on and off 15 time/sec 😛
I could have possibly taken this if I was working as a pharmacist somewhere else, lets take the USA for an example, where pharmacists easily make six figures ($$$$$$) per month. I, here, make four figures, of the Egyptian pound. So with some little calculations, what a pharmacist in the USA makes in four hours,I make in a whole month. With another calculation, a highschool dropout working a fast food chain in the USA makes as much as I do in just 38 hours (less than 1 week working).
Is this enough reasons to hate my being a pharmacist? Anyone has some advice and/or words of encouragement?
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Photos are taken by iPhone during random moments when the pharmacy is empty, just to show how it usually looks like