After graduating from my pharmacy residency program and securing a clinical pharmacist position in diabetes management, I was so excited to see what this next chapter in my professional life would bring. So, imagine my surprise when I walked into work on January 30th to discover my position had been ELIMINATED just 6 months after starting this new role. The one job I just knew was for me was now gone and I had no idea what to do next. As I drove home from the office, I wondered what should I do now…do I have enough money to last the rest of the month…how will I pay my first mortgage payment due next month? When I got home that day, I decided that I would apply for one position per day until I found the position that was right for me. It took two months before I would find two positions that although were not what I wanted to do, they would allow me to make up the salary I was missing from my old job. 

During those two months I had to really do some soul searching and decide how I should move forward. It was during this time that I can now say I grew the most personally and professionally. From opening our family business, taking charge of my finances, increasing my community involvement, deciding to enroll into a Master’s program and re-evaluating what I wanted professionally, I was able to forge a new path that has so far been a rewarding learning experience. 

Unexpectedly in August I went from working two jobs that I was not passionate about to being faced with a decision between two jobs that I considered ideal. The position I applied for the day I lost my job offered me an academic role in pharmacy, while my old job that I enjoyed had an opening on the team and wanted me back. I could go back to the place where I was just beginning to feel at home and grow professionally or start a position in academia that I felt was a long-term career goal. In order to make the decision that was best for me I had the opportunity to reflect on what I learned over the last 8 months:

1. Flexibility

Without being flexible I could possibly still be searching for the “perfect” role and not allowing myself to have different types of job experiences to highlight what I truly enjoy about the pharmacy profession.

2. Challenging myself

From opening a business to enrolling in a Masters program I wanted to start listening to the voice in my head that told me to go for it. Although I am not sure how either of these two things will pan out, I knew that where I was before the layoff happened was not truly fulfilling what I know I can do.

3. What is for you… is for you

We all tend to want life to go a certain way and yet it rarely goes as planned. By letting go and letting God I was able to make a decision that best fit my life in this moment. 

So, while a career in academia was the ultimate goal after finishing my residency, when faced with the opportunity to enter into it I found it was not the best “fit” right now. The personal and professional growth I have experienced over the last 8 months allowed me to live in the moment. Sometimes you have to lose what you thought you wanted in order to gain what you really needed.  

“Breathe. Let Go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. “– Oprah Winfrey
Zuri C. Hawkins, PharmD, BCPS is a clinical pharmacy specialist who lives in Smyrna, GA. She enjoys volunteering to enrich the lives of those in need. She can be followed on Instagram @_simply_zuri