The anonymous blogger going by the name "Redheaded Pharmacist" recently asked the following question on Twitter - "What would you tell a 9th-grader interested in a career in pharmacy who asks you for some advice?" So, I thought I'd fully answer that question here with my opinion about the profession and some further suggestions about guiding a 9th-grader into a career choice.
I think most pharmacists would agree that it's extremely difficult or almost virtually impossible for any pharmacist to "legally" make a good living these days by owning their own pharmacy and being their own boss. The age of "Independents" is behind us.
Corporations have taken over this profession (and soon the rest of the world), and if you want to work as a pharmacist, it's going to be at the expense of losing control of your professional destiny. You're not a "professional" anymore, you're an "employee", at the beck and call of anyone corporate leaders appoint. YOU are not in charge. YOU don't make the decisions. But YOU are still held liable.
IMO, we've become dispensable.
Some pharmacists can live with that loss and are perfectly happy using their education to become a bureaucratic Huckleberry, being manipulated more often than a broken marionette, racing around like a chicken with it's head cut off, and following the corporate herd. More power to them. (pun intended)
But, would you really suggest to your child that they become a pharmacist when corporations own the profession and the future of pharmacy lies in technology, robotics, and the elimination of those "costly humans" from the workplace?
Wouldn't you want your children to become so knowledgeable and empowered that they control their own professional destiny, and have the opportunity to become self-employed? If so, then why suggest a fading profession?
Instead, suggest they consider a career that incorporates both creativity and science. Point them in the right direction and encourage them to be the future - the geniuses who creatively envision things, create the computer programs, or build and maintain the robots.
Encourage them to become indispensable.