Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Retreat hell! We just got here!"

It's end of summer/back to school time which means many things for pharmacies (stock up on the lice stuff). Between various friends and family who work at different types of jobs I feel like I've heard a lot about 'retreats' lately -- you know, where a bunch of people from a company or department go off somewhere for a day and talk about their goals, their mission, their overall plan for the upcoming year, whatever.

Everybody hates these things with a passion. Usually they are boring as hell and considered to be a total waste of time. When I worked hospital all of the staff had to endure a bunch of meetings during the 're-engineering' of our department. Giant binders full of glossy flow charts and lists of stuff were generated by some out-of-state consulting firm that just modified the same recipe for whatever company they were hired to torment. People saw their job descriptions literally change overnight and there was a mass exodus of personnel (the economy was better back then so nobody worried about getting another job.) Gawd, it was horrible.

Thankfully, as a mere worker bee I am spared this in my current retail setting, but the pharmacy managers are required to attend gatherings like this and generate a rather fuzzy list of goals and objectives, which mostly just involves changing the order of the sentences from the previous year. They have no problem with WHAT they would like to do, it's the HOW that never really gets addressed.

I don't have anything against group meetings like this, but I'll never understand in a million years why they don't get all the people who DO THE JOB together once in a while to brainstorm on how to make things better, easier and more efficient. None of this ethereal 'goals and objectives' crap. Actual nuts-and-bolts ideas. I work with a lot of people who have some great ideas, but it almost seems like the people who run the place are afraid of us --- they never ask, they never give feedback on a suggestion, and people just keep bitching about the same problems day in and day out. I'll just never understand it. Somebody comes up with a simple idea, like moving a computer terminal, and it takes an Act of Congress to make it happen, if it ever does. This has been such a consistent theme through my entire work life so far, and it still drives me nuts.

OK then, back to school. My mission will be to tread lightly through the Nix and the ADD meds. Oh, and anybody know how I order more paper towels?


Grumpy, M.D. said...

Not having meetings and retreats is one of the best parts of solo practice.

Anonymous said...

Just move the effin terminal. Go get a damn extension cord, longer ethernet cable, and whatever else you need and just move it! Its your pharmacy set it up the way you and your crew want to and ignore your DM. After a dozen years in corpo pharmacy I can tell you that no matter how logical, smart, cost effective or freaking brilliant your ideas are they WILL NOT be championed by your bosses, a great idea can only come from HQ. Example the pharmacy I worked at was redesigned and new work flows put in place to minimize the amount of steps a tech has to take to fill a script. Corporate then wouldn't invest in an extra printer to put near the drop off window so the techs had to walk half the length of the pharmacy to pick up faxed in Rx's. Spend thousands on new equipment to save
a few steps and then piss it all away because you can't justify a few hundred for an "extra" printer.

Anonymous said...

Where I work, corporation is big on each facility getting together every morning for 15 min. for 'huddle', among dept. heads, and in those pharmacy dept. where there's more than five or six, within dept. as well. Seems to me a good use of time.

Where I worked before, the director passive-aggressive management style was to solicit input from the newest and cutest hires, so when the dept. was redesigned after 25 yrs, she only facilitated suggestions from the newest worker who spent most of the time outside the dept.. So we were stuck with high-falutin' uncomfortable chairs, dangerous stock pallet storage racks, poor lighting in the clinical reference area, no sink or place to wash hands near the drop-off window, and no bathroom within the dept.

The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

I too am thankful Frantic that I am simply at the staff pharmacist level (floater actually) and I am spared of the meetings that the PICs at my company must suffer through although there are still quarterly meetings usually for staff pharmacists to attend as well. The thing that always makes me laugh is that the same old crap is said in all of these meetings. They really don't do anything to help me at all. Oh well, life goes on.

Anonymous said...

I did my best doodle sketches at those meetings...oh and the T-shirts I got made great car rags.