I wanted to make a post specifically in response to some of the comments about pharmacists in this thread. To preface, my brother is a pharmacist, my sister in law is a pharmacist, my cousin is a pharmacist, my weekly bowling group has 2 pharmacists in it, 2 of my closest friends are pharmacy technicians, and i myself have been a registered pharmacy tech for over 4 years. Needless to say, i know countless pharmacists, have spent countless hours speaking to pharmacists on a personal level, and have spent countless hours witnessing the job from most angles.
To be absolutely truthful, those of you who can't imagine how anyone can do the "mindless" job of a pharmacist really do not know what you are talking about. It is NOT just about verifying the technicians' duties. Believe it or not, people actually get into the profession to help others. Most (not all) of the pharmacists i work with do take great pride in their responsibilities in consulting patients. Why do you think that pharmacists are consistently rated as one of the most trusted professions, even more so than doctors? It's because patients know that they can simply walk into a pharmacy, tell their situation to the pharmacist, and instantly get an expert opinion from someone with more drug training than even doctors, without waiting in line for 2 hours for a checkup and paying a 200 dollar deductible to a doctor. THAT is where the job satisfaction comes in.
I'll tell you a true story that happened to me a few years back. One of my regular customers that had been coming to my pharmacy for years came in one day and had to get one of her cholesterol medication refilled. It was a medication without a generic, and without insurance would have ran her close to 200 dollars for 1 months supply, whereas if it was covered the copay would of been around 20 dollars. When we tried to refill the prescription, it came back rejected by the insurance because apparently she was trying to refill it 2 weeks early. I went to talk to her and could tell that she was extremely upset. She was always really energetic and cheerful when she came in each month but this time something was clearly different. After talking to her, i found out that her mother had passed away and she had to go out of the country to arrange for the funeral. She was going to be gone for over a month, hence why she needed to fill her prescription early. She wasnt rich, so tacking on 200 bucks onto her traveling expenses along with the added emotional trauma of recently loosing her mother would of been the perfect kick in the ass to an already craptastic week. My pharmacist, being in the business long enough knew that some insurances had a "vacation" exemption, where if people were going out of town for an extended period, an override could be requested from the insurance company. All that was required was that we called them and requested the exemption. It took a 10 minute phone call and we saved the woman a couple of hundred bucks and she was very appreciative of the extra effort we put in to help her in her time of need. About a month later, i came into work and my co worker told me she had stopped by and had dropped off some chocolates that she got overseas to thank me. Situations like these happen all the time. In a way, pharmacy is a profession in which you can provide immediate and tangible assistance to those in need. You have no idea how much influence you can have on someone's day as a pharmacist.
Your patients tend to be the elderly and while its true that some can be old grouchy hags, i find that many more of those at the twilight years of their lives are content, warm, and friendly. Most pharmacists know their patients by name and develop a personal connection with their patients that few other professions can match. Pharmacists know when you're sick, when you're healthy, or when a family member passes away and most that i work with do genuinely care. Every time we learn that a regular has passed away, its tough. My point is not to paint pharmacy out to be an idealistic profession where nothing can go wrong, but rather the job is what you make of it. There are people who only went that route for the stability and cash and only punch the time card and reap their phat paychecks at the end of the pay period. But just because many chose the profession for monetary reasons does not make the profession dull, mindless, or tedious.
As an aside, I'm not sure where this nonsense about not eating comes from. I have skipped many lunches when we were busy, but that was a personal choice, not a requirement. If i was hungry, i would go across the street, buy some quiznos, bring it back and eat it in the back of the store. If i did not have time, i would make a quick run to the front, grab some beef jerky and snack on it while i typed prescriptions. The same goes for the pharmacists. The high demand for pharmacists means that pharmacists are treated extremely well, lest they find a reason to jump to any of the plethora of other companies more than willing to snatch them away from a competitor. I find it hard to believe that any employer can forbid anyone working a 12 hour shift, let alone a pharmacist, from eating.