Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

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Topic Author
anthonyphamy
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:59 pm

Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

Post by anthonyphamy »

Hello Bogleheads,

I am in my 30's working as a pharmacist. I love my job, particularly the patient care, teamwork, and relationships I've built with my coworkers. It's a low-moderately stressed job, with variety of responsibilities, and good work life balance. I work Monday through Friday, generally bank hours. I get paid hourly and don’t work much overtime. My job in oncology is satisfying and fulfilling. Currently, my job gives me a sense of purpose and good work life balance. However, my concern is what if I get bored of it and I want something more and the potential for a job with greater flexibility. My current job doesn't allow for work from home, and hours are usually set for me to be on site for the total 8 hours. I am starting to get a feeling of being stagnant, and I worry that may grow and I may get bored in the future. I don't know if staffing is something I see myself doing for the rest of my life. However, I am generally a happy easy going guy, and would likely make the most of wherever I'm at.

There is a supervisor position opening and I'm considering applying. My question is, is now a time to transition to management? I have been working as a staff pharmacist for approximately 5 years. My long-term plan was always to go into management for the personal/professional growth and potential flexibility (eg, work from home, hour flexibility) for a future family.

The supervisor position would be managing approximately 20-25 staff, approximately half pharmacists and half pharmacy technicians. It would be a salaried position, with approximately 45 hours per week once I got used to the work (but more hours earlier as I get used to it). I would expect a small pay bump, a larger annual bonus, and potentially pension (as staff I don't have pension). I was told by other supervisors that the schedule is largely dictated by meetings and that the schedule does allow for more flexibility, which I hope would be helpful for a future family.

My pros for the supervisor position include opportunities for personal and professional growth, potential flexibility with work hours and work from home at times, larger impact on the company and patients, project focused (focusing on quality/affordability, meetings, personnel, regulations), variety of tasks each day, potential for upward or lateral movements, experience with the department as a whole, learning to deal with people and personalities, potentially easier to maintain management type work as I get older, ability to teach residents, and hone my communication skills. The cons for supervisor position include taking work home (carrying work cell at all times, some work on weekends, more hours week than staffing), dealing with personnel issues at work (between staff, different departments), loss of patient care, "trouble shooter" (dealing with problems and issues), low level management (middle-man position) so at the mercy of not only staff but higher management and other departments, usually bearer of bad news, and may be difficult to go back to staff after stepping into management role. One of my biggest concerns with the supervisor job is the unknown, whether I would be happy in a management type role or not. I currently do enjoy my staffing role, but what if I enjoy supervisor more, or what if I enjoy it less? I don't have much experience within management whether in school or work so it's hard for me to imagine it.

My pros for staying as a staff pharmacist include not having to take work home (40 hours/week, anything more is compensated as overtime), good Monday through Friday schedule, clock in clock out mentality, don't have to deal with work politics, turfing non-staffing issues to management, still being involved with residency teaching program, manageable stress, good relationships (with patients, nurses, oncologists), generally appreciative interactions, oncology experience valuable within pharmacy (good work demand), "protected" by union (although union contract negotiations can be dicey). Cons for staying as staff pharmacist include no control over specific shifts (schedule is done monthly in advance), no work from home potential, may be hard to get time off in the future for future family or appointments, time off for vacations need to be bid on based on seniority a year in advance, work repetitive and may feel stagnant or bored in future, potential lack of personal and professional growth, and wondering if I could do this the rest of my life.

I would greatly appreciate any insight or guidance and would be happy to clarify anything, and I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

Thank you very much in advance,
Anthony
DoubleComma
Posts: 468
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2020 2:23 pm

Re: Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

Post by DoubleComma »

All I can say is I enjoy being a people leader. Not everyday is great, lots of human factor gets in the way of work. But personally I find the success of my employees, and my contributions to it, far more rewarding than individual success.

Others have a totally different perspective.

You just need to know where you stand.
rxtra8
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:12 pm

Re: Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

Post by rxtra8 »

I am a retired pharmacist supervisor. I have two friends and previous co-workers who are pharmacy supervisors. One is my old partner and the other is a long time, great friend. BOTH want to step down to once more become staff; not really possible in the current environment at the facility. You are in the ivory tower as a specialized pharmacist and you have all the pros that you talk about; an enviable position with great work satisfaction.

Once you become management you become "the company" and things change. You enter the unenviable position of being in a fecal material sandwich; staff giving you flack from below and upper management doing the same from above. You said that you are easy going; you will have to be aggressive somewhat to survive. In general 5-10% of your employees will be bad news. They will need discipline quite possibly. If they are not held to account you will have trouble with the other 80% or so; the top 10% will be good no matter what you do. Make sure you are going in with eyes wide open. You get to work lots of extra uncompensated hours; when we introduced a new computer management I got to work up to 80+ hours a week; for months on end; the RPhs got to work OT and make double my salary. This happened twice; I might add that we were a huge RX filling facility with automation.

Your experience will depend on the facility manager. I was lucky (still got killed with hours) to have a really great person as my direct and eventually overall manager. You can get the pros with great flexibility of hours if available and possible pension. I got extra ETO days. There were a lot of perks as myself and partner had great knowledge of the software and facility in general. But things change. The years at the end of my employment (retirement) were not wonderful. It is worse for supervisors now (unless you are a favorite-yes even in management).

When I was working, even when it was good, I did tend to envy the specialized RPhs like yourself. All of that said, it will depend on circumstances. Quite possibly my experience will not be yours; management may be great where you are, You know better your own circumstances and the situation. This is only my experience. That said I was still glad to work for my particular organization and quite lucky to get the initial job. Again, consider your own situation and weigh the facts.

Best of luck to you and to your eventual well considered decision.
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” | — Robertson Davies
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markjk
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:01 am

Re: Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

Post by markjk »

Supervisory and management positions are significantly different then staff positions and as such, it will really be a personal preference.

You've already seen a few divergent posts here and for good reason. Many people love the role. They love working with people, helping them develop, and building a team. They also tolerate the performance management for people that aren't cutting it, the firing when necessary, the hiring, the complaints about decisions (no one is ever happy with every decision), the hard decisions at pay raise time, the layoff decisions during bad times, the expectations from senior management, etc. etc. It's a double edged type of role and you will usually spend more time on that harder people stuff than you will on the more fulfilling stuff. The bottom line, it's a grind and you will take it home. You will think about situations on evenings, weekends, etc. With a staff of 20 - 25, it could be on your mind 24/7 if you aren't careful. You have to compartmentalize or that work from home flexibility will be significantly overtaken by the constant thoughts of work that linger in your head.

I don't mean to make it sound all bad but it's important for people new to management to realize what they are getting into. It's so much different to go from one of the 25 on the team to the supervisor that's running the team. You go from having direct control over your work success to relying on others through influence and direction to dictate your success. I know many people whom have gone into management and subsequently taken that step back into an individual contributor role. They didn't just dislike it, they hated it. I also know many people in management roles whom absolutely love it. And of course there are many whom simply tolerate it. It all depends on you. But just know the job is much different than what you are used to. Once you are responsible for others, your entire responsibility set changes and it's a shock to many initially.

I would talk to some managers in your organization. Get an idea of what it's really like there before you make the final decision. The bottom line is just make sure you are really thinking about all aspects of this type of role before jumping in and if possible, have a transition plan to get back out. It sounds like you are doing that so you will be fine.

Best of luck on your decision.
fourwheelcycle
Posts: 1246
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

Post by fourwheelcycle »

I was not in pharmacy, but I was in health care. I think a key consideration is to know your own strengths and preferences. I was always better, and happier, doing work on my own. I have never enjoyed, or been good at, directing others. I would rather do a task myself than delegate it and then supervise the person who is doing it. As a result, I never applied for a line management position. I worked throughout my career in a staff position.
Topic Author
anthonyphamy
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:59 pm

Re: Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

Post by anthonyphamy »

DoubleComma wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:04 am All I can say is I enjoy being a people leader. Not everyday is great, lots of human factor gets in the way of work. But personally I find the success of my employees, and my contributions to it, far more rewarding than individual success.

Others have a totally different perspective.

You just need to know where you stand.
Thanks for the response. I definitely enjoy building relationships with others at work. I would say building and maintaining relationships is what I enjoy the most at my work (whether it's with my team, nurses, or oncologists). Currently I'm friends with a lot of the staff and I worry that if I did move into management I would lose a lot of those relationships, or I guess they would change.
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MrMars
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2021 4:26 pm

Re: Supervisor job vs continuing as staff

Post by MrMars »

I am a hospital pharmacist that has had the opportunity to pursue getting out of staffing and into the director/management roles. I love my combination staffing/clinical role. I chose not to pursue the management route for a multitude of reasons, most of which are based on knowing my own personality. I lay them out here strictly as a reminder to you to know thyself (shortcomings and strengths).

Pay bump wasn't proportional to increased responsibilities.

Increased PTO but inability to take PTO results in selling it back. IMO corporate entities want their management on site. It sounds good but in practice having more PTO doesn't mean more paid time off.

I hate political games. I like the job of a pharmacist, I despise the politicking that goes along with being in management/director level positions.

I recognize that it is hard for me to keep my mouth shut when decisions are made that either arbitrary or affect other departments without including their input. Basically, I recognize that in a management role I am more likely to say something that would get me in trouble with people that have the power to make my life more difficult / get rid of me. Physicians / C-suite folks / long time directors. Pharmacy management doesn't carry weight that those people do.

Management answers directly to corporate. IMO, corporate is far removed from frontline workers. As such, their decisions can reflect the goals of the balance sheet rather than patient care. I was not able to wrap my head around being forced to support decisions that were not consistent with patient care. Not to mention that corporate actions don't always lineup with corporate speak. I like logical consistency and communication and could not wrap my head around being asked to defend decisions that don't lineup with those things.

Rather than force myself to reconcile dealing with these issues on daily basis, I chose to remain in my current position. Does my professional growth suffer? Probably. Is my work-life balance appropriate? Absolutely. Do I feel good about knowing myself enough to know that a management position in the corporate healthcare environment that I work in is unlikely to lineup with my personal values? Yes.

For me the answer is, let me take care of patients and let others who may be better suited to directly dealing with corporate and C-suite personalities do that.
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