One of the things I love most about my job is working with young people. Invariably, the technicians I hire are young, very young. Most of the time they are working as a technician while in school or while trying to decide what to do with their lives. ( I know, and work with some technicians who are "seasoned" and I love working with them as well, but I'm not addressing them right now.) These young people usually have zero experience which alot of pharmacist might consider a negative but I like molding them to my own liking. Call it hubris if you will but I think I do a good job of teaching them. Anyway, working with the youth of today gives me insights into their culture that I would not normally be aware of. I don't have children and even if I did they would be old enough to be pharmacists themselves. I sometimes end up feeling like a mom to these young people. I know I am their boss and they know that I will "take care of business" if I need to, but I tend to be a little more layed-back in my approach to the title "boss". In the words of one of my current 20 year old techs "You don't act like a boss but I still know you are." Many times these young people come to me with things they wouldn't go to their parents about. Some of it is funny, some sad and some concerning but I am honored that they feel comfortable enough to talk to me. It can be anything from how to obtain birth control to writing letters of recommendation for college. Over the years I have seen many of these young people mature into wonderful adults. I see them go to college, get married and have families and I can't help feeling a parental pride. I hope that in some way I have influence them to be the adults they are. I hope they can look back on their lives sometime and remember me with fondness and respect. I know that when I was a 17 year old technician I worked with a pharmacist that influenced me to become one myself. She loved her job and it showed. She also helped me to understand how to get financial aid for college. No one in my family had ever gone to college so we didn't even know such aid existed. This pharmacist was my role model and mentor. She was fresh out of school herself and I thought she was the smartest person I had ever met. I have over the years lost touch with her. She would be in her late fifties by now so she would still be going strong if she is still working. Her husband was an archaeologist, which is unusual so if she's out there she knows who I am talking about. Anyway, back to my own young people. I want them all to know that not only do I want to influence their lives in a positive manner, but that they also influence mine. Working with them keeps me young! It's like having children but only for 8 hours a day. Sometimes some of the things they say makes me feel old, but for the most part I don't. They, of course love to point out how old I am when a song from the 80's plays on the in-store radio and I know all the words. They weren't even born yet. (I don't care what they say, the 80's had the best music!) I love seeing my "kids" get excited over things they are doing or new boyfriends. It also breaks my heart to see them disappointed or devastated by stuff that I know will seem trivial to them later in life. Anyway, this is what keeps me feeling young. Youth itself is the true Fountain of Youth. Youth is contagious so I keep it around.
As a disclaimer: I love all my "older" techs too. "Older" is a relative term so deal with it! Experience techs are a vital part of the pharmacy team and they are greatly valued. Unfortunately they are few and far between. Most of the really good, experienced techs are already working in a steady job and are less likely to apply for another one. That is why I end up hiring really young, inexperience ones so I don't want to see comments about unfair hiring practices. At this moment I am looking at hiring a brand-new, inexperienced tech who is older than me. I don't intentionally look at only the young ones.