As you look back over your life and career, what makes you most proud?
For me, that's a simple question to answer, since my profession has afforded me ample opportunities to serve in communities both locally and abroad. The moments that I hold in highest regard are not directly linked to my pharmacy practice or to the various titles I have held; rather, they are the moments when I stepped away from my "comfort zone" and served in a capacity that was not natural to me.
I've been blessed with the opportunity to work with many different children from drastically different walks of life. Village kids in Zambia, Africa; inner-city kids outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; private-school kids from the Northeast and public-school kids from the South who just wanted to learn to play basketball; orphan boys in Cochabamba, Bolivia - they all have the same core needs and desires. They want to be loved and shown attention, to be mentored by people they can look up to and emulate. I never saw their needs until I stepped out of my comfort zone and met them where they were.
Organizations such as United Way, Children's Miracle Network, and the Big Brother program - each has left an indelible mark on my career and on me. Through these organizations I have learned to see the needs around me, to empathize in a new way, and to give away more of what I've been blessed with. For the past six years I have participated in the Big Brother program; watching that young boy, my "little brother," mature into a well-adjusted and highly performing young man has brought me more joy than just about any other endeavor to which I have dedicated my time and resources. He may never end up a pharmacist, but I can assure you that he is already someone who will enrich the lives of those around him.
Opportunities to share are all around us. Go to a nursing home and conduct a brown-bag day just for the sake of doing it; volunteer at a local youth center; tutor kids in an after-school program on your day off; hug some kids at a children's hospital and let them know they're special. These examples may seem both small and time-consuming, but I assure you, they will bring you a benefit far greater than any investment you may make in others.
The great Rev. Martin Luther King stated, "Everyone can be great ... because everyone can serve." My secret to job satisfaction? When I seek as many opportunities as I can find to serve others, suddenly work becomes yet another vehicle to accomplish this goal.
What's your secret?
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will present as many as possible in an upcoming issue.
Ben L. Thankachan, RPh, is senior buyer of pharmacy OTC products for Sam's Club, a division of Walmart Stores Inc. located in Bentonville, Arkansas. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com
The opinions expressed by guest editorial writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Drug Topics' staff or the staff of Advanstar Communications.