Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I am not a pharmacist.

This is the image of a pharmacist.  This picture says "I am a pharmacist: I love my job, and I love what I do."  But I am not this I do not love my job.  I do not love what I do.  I am not a pharmacist.

Yesterday, I completed my 2nd day of interviewing at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland School of Pharmacy for an Assistant Professor of psychiatric pharmacy practice in the Department of Clinical and Administrative Services.  (The first day of interviewing was interrupted by the snow storm we had last Wednesday and Thursday).  What I can tell you for sure is that this pharmacy school is amazing!  I love the program, I love the emphasis on service (I would even describe it as "the Kingdom of God here on earth"), and I thought the faculty that I met were an amazing group of people.

 And yet, I would say that the interviews I had with the faculty were just "so-so".  I didn't feel like I really represented myself, or put my best foot forward.  I didn't feel like this was a home-run, which is odd because I ordinarily interview exceptionally well.  After my final interview with the Dean yesterday evening (which itself was luke-warm, largely due to both of us having hella long days, I would imagine), I thought about how this so-so interview felt familiar.  It's the same way I felt after my interview with my current job.  And it's the same way I felt after my interview with a government job I applied for (and ultimately did not get).  I put the pieces together, and was suddenly aware that my interviews have been "just OK" because I don't feel free to put my real self out there.  I can't put my real self out there, because it would require using heart terms, not head terms - terms which are altogether foreign to the grand majority of pharmacists.

While the Chair of the Department to which I'm applying is herself an ENFP (to my INFP), and while we have an amazing connection, and I think I would thoroughly enjoy working with her, I am cognizant of something about this group as a whole: they are dedicated to pharmacy.  They are dedicated to this institution, to its mission, to their students, to their patients, and - most significantly - to their careers as pharmacists.  Yes, these are career pharmacists.

That is not me.  I am not a career pharmacist.  The stark contrast between what I am willing to sacrifice, and what these people have sacrificed - and continually do sacrifice - could not underscore this point with more vigor.  I am not a pharmacist.  I am not sold out to this as a career.  As such, how could I accept this position (if it was offered to me)?  I honestly do not think I am ready to throw my whole self into this institution - as I feel they deserve - and thereby forgo my own goal to go back to school and become a counselor.

I want to teach.  I want to teach very badly!  I would cherish the opportunity to be faculty at a really great institution like Notre Dame.  But I do not want pharmacy to be my career.  I am not a pharmacist.  I am a counselor - trained and skilled in the ways of the heart.  That is what I do well, and into that, I can throw my whole self.
I am not a pharmacist.  And I am grieving this today . . .


Pomoprophet said...

you mean you're not a skinny white woman with glasses? I've been fooled all along!

Have you found a program you want to pursue for counseling? Thats a long road as our friend in the bay area can attest to but like him, if your heart is in it then its worth it.

My only question is that why do you have to be a pharmacist to teach at this school? Yes you have to have the education and knowledge but is that really how you have to identify yourself? Maybe the students need someone like you to offer them an alternative perspective? Maybe you could create your own class to teach around the heart of pharmicology? Every department has that feel-good hippyesq teacher ;)

When I teach at Univ of Phoenix I don't see myself as a historian or a theologian. I'm a teahcer who happens to be trained in those areas. Because thats where my heart is. So I dont think being a pharmacy professor and dealing with matters of the heart are mutually exclusive.

But you know we'll support you either way!

D.J. Free! said...

Haha! So I had you fooled for this long?! I'm better than I thought!

It's a good question you ask, Pomo. And I've thought about it quite a bit. I would love it if I could do just what you suggest, but that's not what they NEED right now. Because it's a start-up school, they need people to not only be invested in establishing their own courses, but getting the school up and running. What you describe sounds like an adjunct faculty sort of deal. But they don't have the budget yet for that - they're still hiring their full-time faculty. And those full-time people need to be all in. I can't commit to that though.

If I took the job, it would be for purely selfish motives (i.e., to get a paycheck), and I'd not only be miserable with the expected work that needed to get done (because it's pharmacy work that I simply have no interest in), but I'd also be dragging this great group of dedicated folks down. I'm not what they need right now, and I believe in their vision too much to selfishly take a job that I can't fully commit to. Does that make sense?

As for the counseling program, YES! I'd like to do the PhD in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University Maryland :)