I quit. Then I got fired.

Few years ago, I made a career decision to work for a competitor pharmacy. Based on various personal and professional considerations, I felt it was the best decision for me.  At that time, my job demanded a lot of responsibilities already, with more expected after the organizational restructuring.  The offer from the new job was more reasonable. At least, it allowed flexibility and a better work-life balance.

So I decided to jump ship. I knew it would create some tension as soon as I have expressed my intention to resign. In fact, I knew the organization would turn around to terminate me immediately. I saw this happened to other ex-colleagues and expect the same treatment.

As expected, I quit but they turned around to let me go.

You can label it as a human resources policy. You can call it a necessity to protecting the trade secrets. Or you can call it whatever you want. Somehow I don’t think it is a right approach.

I had every intention to make the transition as smooth as possible. I even summarized all the important notes so that whoever stepping into my position had something to work with. I didn’t want patient care to suffer. I tried my best to make sure I did whatever I could to make the transition more seamless and safe.

But no one seemed to care. In fact, my team lead didn’t even speak to me.

It seems such a practice to terminate someone so abruptly speaks more to the insecurity of the organization, rather than the need to ensure patient care or pharmacy operations do not get disrupted.  I understand the potential risk, the necessary steps needed to protect any trade secrets. But I still think that one can find better ways to terminate the employer-employee relationship. There is a more respectful way.

A simple meeting or phone call to say thank you for your time and your work and a simple gesture to explain it is routine practice to terminate your employment immediately is more than adequate. I wasn’t expecting anything more.

But not returning a simple phone is indeed rude and unprofessional. It left me feeling insulted.

Recently, Brigette Hyacinth (author of The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence) suggested doing the following five things when an employee resigns:

  1. Wish them all the best
  2. Let them know if they need anything like a recommendation, please feel free to contact you
  3. Conduct an exit interview and use the findings to make positive changes in the organization.
  4. Show appreciation for all their good work.
  5. Tell them they are always welcome back.

I agree with her. I resigned for personal reasons. Instead of making me feel like I was a traitor, the organization should take this as an opportunity to make positive changes in the organization.

In these days where there is so much pressure for pharmacy staff to deliver more with less, treating the employees right should remain a priority.  Otherwise, the loss of morale and team spirit will drag the organization down in ways that would be difficult to repair.

Thank you for reading my post.


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My name is Cynthia Leung and I am a practicing pharmacist in Kingston Ontario, Canada. This blog is for me to share my ideas, opinions and perspectives on how medications are used in our health care system. Note that these posts are my own opinions and do not represent the opinions of my current or former employers and / or organizations that I may belong to. Any possible case scenarios described in my posts would be modified to maintain patient confidentiality. This blog is not a platform for professional advise for patients or health care providers and the content is not meant to support any clinical decisions or replace professional opinions. Also the images are either taken or created by the author, or adapted with permission. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts!

2 thoughts on “I quit. Then I got fired.”

  1. Hi Cynthia, I am a Pharmacy Student from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I stumbled across your blog while googling some information on QT-prolongation. Since then I’ve been taking a long study break and instead reading some of your blog articles. Thanks for sharing your experiences and expertise. I found this article particularly interesting because a similar situation happened this summer when I quit my job to transition to another for the school year. It’s sad that some companies pride themselves as top employers but handle HR situations poorly on a local level. I was eventually able to find some resolution and closure with speaking to the store manager, but frankly the situation made me unsettled about the reality of what work life may be. Regardless I feel that I am in a better place now and I hope that you feel the same.


    1. Hi Lawrence, thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you got something useful out of it. Yes I think the harsh truth is that adults don’t always act like adults and professionals don’t always act professionals. But you are the next generation of pharmacists coming into the market, hope you can take your experience as inspiration as to how you can shape the profession in the future. I find that many corporations inevitably have strong influence over pharmacists but I want to encourage pharmacists to speak out for their voices, regardless of who they work for. It is the profession that should be more important that the employer. All the best in your studies!


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