Young pharmacist emancipating from mental slavery


If you’re 15 minutes late, 2 hours pay will be deducted from your salary says a Nigerian Pharmacy owner to a young pharmacist who attended an interview in his community pharmacy premises.


Few days ago, a young pharmacist narrated his Lagos job hunt story on a Whatsapp group and we decided to share, of course with his permission. This Nigerian pharmacy owner at Ikeja told him that the remuneration is 500/hour, which seemed fair but then there are other terms to it.


First, if he comes 15 minutes late then N1000 (which is money for 2 hours) will be deducted from his salary. Then if he works 30 minutes extra time, he will be paid N500 which is money for 1 hour. He is also required to work a 12 hour shift at alternate days.


Seems cool right? Well, let’s do a quick math. If he comes 15 minutes late, then to balance he has to do at least 1 hour extra work. Then if he wants to get extra money for such days, he needs to add extra 30 minutes, making it 1hour 30minutes extra work hours. This could vary depending on the how early or late he comes to work. Official closing hours is 9pm by the way.


Oh wait a minute, did I also tell you that you that in this pharmacy premises you work alone? Like no Pharmacy assistant and no cashier. You effectively double for these roles. After all you would have included ‘ability to multitask and work under pressure’ in your CV, isn’t it?

READ MORE – Top 10 countries to migrate to as a pharmacist

Sometimes it’s hard to understand the advice some Nigerian Pharmacy owners get on human resource management. How these ridiculous rules and SOP’s are made is beyond anyone’s imagination. But this is not just about Nigerian Pharmacy owners, it is more like a Nigerian (and African) thing. We often want to kill an ant with a grenade in the name of making rules and enforcing discipline that we believe will be good for our business.


A similar story and a typical example swept the social media space sometime in October last year when a pharmacist employer (and unfortunately a former president of young pharmacists group) boasted on social media about how he sent his employee (a fellow young pharmacist) home for coming 30 minutes late.


In instances like the above, one may ask, what happens to the extra work hours and services the young pharmacist is putting into the business? What about times when the pharmacy is about to close by say 9pm and patients rush in and start telling their life stories? Are the patients sent back? Does the pharmacist take off his coat and say it’s a minute past my time, in front of the patients? What about other times patients will have to call the pharmacist at odd hours to ask for the dosage regimen for their paracetamol?


It is a common knowledge that late coming to work (and to most other activities) is a big vice. According to Careertrend late coming poses a lot of problems in the work place which subsequently affects other employees and the company’s bottom line. This can be in the form of productivity loss, negative morale, customer dissatisfaction and general management problems

READ MORE – Pros and Cons of setting targets for pharmacists in a community pharmacy

Be that as it may, being late to work could be unavoidable depending on the circumstances. A typical Lagos setting makes coming late to be highly unpredictable for young pharmacists and most other employees. Chronic tardiness and late coming on its own requires intervention before the behavior becomes a serious problem.


Therefore here are some ways to deal with an employee who is constantly late to work


  1. Identify the pattern of late coming

It’s understandable if an employee has a legitimate reason for being late every once in a while. For example, traffic can happen (especially in Lagos) or a family member can be sick. What then becomes problematic is an employee that comes late most of the time.

When the behavior is consistent, then it means the employee (be it a young pharmacist) is not respecting your time and his job as well. It then becomes important for you as the employer to decide ways to reprimand your employee


  1. Act promptly

Don’t let your employee’s late coming behavior go on for a long time without saying something. This may only mean you’re complicit to it and will eventually bring a friction amongst your other employees.


There is also a chance that the day you may decide to talk about it, you will do so in an angry manner and foul languages could come in. It will be entirely counterproductive to use foul languages on your employees or to threaten them.


  1. Don’t generalize.

Deal with a late coming situation as soon as you see a pattern arise; don’t generalize or use one instance to set standards for your current and future employees. The example above where the pharmacist employer made such ridiculous rule for late coming could be as a result of hasty generalizations from past late coming experiences with young pharmacists, which entirely makes no sense.


Click HERE to read more about how to deal with late coming to work amongst your employees.


Finally let us never forget that pharmacy is one profession we can truly call our own. Whether you’ve started a career in another field, or you’re still in Pharmacy school or you’re currently practicing, this profession is ours to explore. Let us constantly strive to make the practice easier for ourselves; employees and employers alike.

About Ishima

Ishima™ is a Pharmacist with special interests in the management of chronic illnesses, gender studies, mental health and psychotherapy. He is the convener of #SaveTheBoyChildMovement which is geared at repositioning the place of men in the society and redefining masculinity . He is a writer, a crazy poet and a firm believer in making the world a better place.

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