Lesson 3: Social Media is Evil, Lawyers are Not

Social media is more than just a snazzy movie from a few years ago. It is a real, breathing, living record of your life. When used properly it can be a diary of the bad times (like this blog) that you can look upon later in life and hopefully laugh about how crappy that time was and how it made you that much more of a stronger person. When used improperly however, social media can be used to destroy any credibility that you have.

In my recent conversation with another unemployed pharmacist who recently found my blog and was in awe over the similarities inherent in our current situations, I was informed that a non-anonymous form of social media was used as evidence that he had a drug problem. This blows me away and just bolster’s the fact that keeping this blog as anonymous as possible was the greatest decision I ever made. His social media post, which he later clarified, was used to corroborate the fabricated story woven by his inspector/compliance expert. My advice to him, turn it off or at least delete the parts they don’t like. Why clarify it? That’s almost silly.

I feel for this guy. He too was thrown under the bus. He too was terminated rather quickly. I’m especially fearful for him because his situation is worse than mine. Not only can he not find work, but he has the board breathing down his neck over something he too did not do. I’ve totally been there but everything on my end, at least as far as I know, has resolved. This guy has a rather long road ahead.

You’ll notice I didn’t put claim he didn’t do it in the previous paragraph. I do not know the gentleman who contacted me earlier today. His little Ohio hospital was actually more of a medium Ohio hospital in one of the major metro areas pretty far from where I currently sit. However I assume innocence until proven guilty. This is most definitely not in congruence with human resource departments nor boards of pharmacy.

It was interesting to hear him discuss his plight and it made me retrospective toward my own. I suppose one thing to take into consideration is that it can always be worse. Oh can it be worse. He hasn’t gone into foreclosure yet so he’s got that on me. He has four little girls. I’ll stick with my three boys. Some day if I authenticate his story I will have to meet this guy but I did teach him lesson three as I’m teaching it to you now.

Public social media is evil. Lawyers are not. You can’t go through this without a lawyer. You fought for that license. You best darn well be trying to keep it every way you know how. You can not and should not face the board of pharmacy alone. You might think you have people on your side but just remember, you can’t trust anyone now. You are on your own. You need someone who’s paycheck is paid by you and who will, by financial obligation, use every legal trick in the book to try to find out what is going on with your case, what your and their next steps are, and what you need to do to protect yourself.

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Fortunately he is not too late. He can still get a lawyer and still perhaps get a mulligan on his scenario. Best case scenario in his case would probably be either a settlement with the board in the form of a slap on the wrist and neither admitting nor denying allegations, or (in that perfect rainbow filled world with unicorns and sparkles), complete resolution of his case without incident.

His fear is that the worst case scenario will decend upon him. He sits up at night worried that he will be in jail the next 7-10 years for multiple class 4 felonies when he too, did nothing but his job. I tried to reassure him that based on what he was telling me the odds of that happening were slim to none; however, I’m not sure how much of that he heard.  The state board people did their job well with that guy. He totally is almost crapping himself after the things his inspector said to him.

Been there, done that.

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Hindsight is 20/20. I freaked out too thinking I was going to the pokey only later to realize that no matter what the outcome with the board, I would at least be safe if I dropped the soap in the shower. I might end up with a new, swanky, ankle bracelet, but at least I now realize I can shower without the fear of wondering how the pokey got the name the pokey.

My only problem is wondering if I will have a shower left when this is all said and done in my end of the world. I know clinical pharmacy. I know staff pharmacy. I am pretty savvy with the mechanicals in the pharmacy. However I’m not a spring chicken in the pharmacy world. I’m not as old as dirt, but dirt was there when I was born. Who’s gonna hire me? At least the other guy is fresh is his career and has a sporting chance at gainful employment.

To wrap up the point of the day, if you ever find yourself in a situation like mine or miscellaneous rph on the other end of the buckeye, do yourself a favor and lawyer up from day one. You need someone on your side to help you sleep at night who can give you some reassurance that the sun will still rise tomorrow if you just let it. Focus on keeping you in tact, safe, and licensed.

And once you succeed, start a blog and start whining about how you can’t find work anywhere.

Winning….

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One thought on “Lesson 3: Social Media is Evil, Lawyers are Not

  1. Steve, the pharmacist from Indiana, led me to this post and I am finding it rather interesting. As, I too, found myself in desperate straits.

    The hospital where I had worked 14 years and had a good working relationship with co-workers, patients, nurses, and other staffers kindly gave me enough time to pursue my complaints about being railroaded out of the pharmacy department and figure out what was going on. I had enough time to talk with the CEO, document the lies and stories told by management, attempt mediation, and was allowed a somewhat dignified resignation exit with severance with the understanding that I would ‘talk to no one’ about why I left. Therefore, I did not have to sue.

    The issue about suing is a two-edged sword, however. I had no ill will toward the hospital, and did not want what happened to me to blight the hospital reputation nor disillusion others that worked there. I considered it a great hospital with dedicated healthcare workers, and it had maintained high standards of care.

    In my case, the pharmacy management staff was shoving me under the bus. I could not afford the ‘he said, she said’ to take onto another job because I only had my personal reputation and integrity.

    For a while, I was defiant about having to undergo vilification by management in the local healthcare arena. Who were those people to try and paint me with the reputation of whatever they were attempting to paint me?

    I would’ve died (had a stroke from extreme mortification) had I been fired; to know that parents, family, myself, knew that I had been fired for reason. I did everything I could to try to work the situation out; talked with the Employee Health Officer, my physician, a psychologist. In the back of my mind, I had always told myself that I would never, ever undermine the integrity I had worked so hard to build in the profession.

    Years later, I told myself that I would never have done anything to be fired, and if something had been pinned on me, I would’ve pursued every route to show as an example to my young sons, that there would be no shame associated with anything their mother had done in good faith. Nor, was I about to show them the example of ‘martyr’, or ‘hapless victim’. So, I resigned. Not everyone has the benefit of time, especially when there is a rigged abandonment.

    The HR facilitator told me at the end that someday I would look back on this and feel such a relief that I was no longer working at the hospital. I do miss co-workers, and continue to have a friendly relationship with them.

    On the one hand, I did not want to pursue a lawsuit. I did talk to lawyers in the final phase of quitting. I had documentation of what was done and said, and so on. My case would’ve been one more of protesting defamation of character in whatever grounds for being fired was conjured by management, as there was no case of lost narcotics or bad pharmacist.

    There was some personal sloppiness, and that is always to be expected when someone is under the gun, so to speak. When one is contemplating being fired for something they have no idea of what they’re being fired for, there is a lot of looking over the shoulder, staying up late at night, and worry about what to do to keep the job. (Why are they persecuting ME of all people?) I did not want to really hurt the hospital in a lousy lawsuit.

    On the other hand, several months later after taking a job up north, I was terminated without reason just because my ‘probationary’ period was up. Why, I was terminated was made clear when I was informed that the manager at the hospital up north attended a national meeting in which the old manager attended.

    And, still, on the third hand…my present hospital job, I feel at home. I am a valuable member of the team. I get along with doctors, nurses, my pharmacy department staff. I am known for my flexibility in trying to get along with others, and do not nor have not ever compromised my integrity. If I had, I would have had enough strength to gather my wits (I feel, now) and improve my situation.

    Because, believe me. I would have written Ann Landers, Dear Abby, the State Attorney General, and the editor of the local newspaper if I was fired for something I did not do. (Notice, how I did not even think to contact the State Board of Pharmacy?)

    This is an interesting topic to consider. Why I didn’t even think to contact the Board. One reason, I think is that, like you (Bloggist), I did nothing wrong, am not an addict begging to be ‘taken back’. The Board is there for that issue. I was guilty of nothing, and it takes more of an effort on others’ parts to deal with people who are trying to prove their innocence when they’re already assumed to be guilty of something.

    Another reason I didn’t think of contacting the Board is that hospital pharmacy management had been long-time pharmacists in the State, even sat on the Board at times, and there would’ve been some ‘membership in the old boy’s club’ to deal with in considering my issue with the hospital.

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