Passing the Baton

By Dennis Tribble posted 17 days ago

As some of you know, I recently lost my mother. While at the funeral with my two brothers, we found ourselves considering that the last of a generation had passed, and it was now "up to us".  

To be honest, I don't know that I feel ready to be a family patriarch. There were a lot of things Mom did that worked on keeping the family together that I don't do very well. 
  • She was a great communicator. Mom was one of the last of the people I knew who actually wrote letters. Even if the letter only discussed the weather, until her last year those letters were as regular as clockwork.
  • She worried about the family at large and kept each of us in touch with what was going on in the lives of the others
  • She was a servant leader; her entire life was about serving the family, sometimes at the expense of her own health

As many of us approach the retirement years, I found myself considering the implications of all this for us as professionals. 

Are you planning organizationally for your retirement? Have you raised up members of your staff to take your place if/when you decided to hang it up? Are you passing on the wisdom you acquired along the way?

Are you stepping back from the center of the whirlwind and shining through the efforts of your staff? I often tell pharmacy students that, if they are lucky, they will have at least one manager who they would follow to the ends of the earth. I am fortunate that mine lives near me now and I still get to enjoy knowing him as a friend. One of the things that made working for him so great was that he knew how to shine by letting us shine. Yes, he was responsible for the pharmacy operation, but he publicly showed that responsibility by driving my performance in private, and creating opportunities for me to shine in public.

What are you going to do with your retirement? Have you considered how you might use some of that time to become even more professionally involved?  What about writing, or teaching, or helping out with association activities? What about mentoring those in the profession who are coming up?

Many I know and admire have answers to all these questions, and continue to be beacons for my life. I look forward to the opportunity to be a beacon for others. I hope you do, too.

Dennis A. Tribble, Pharm.D., FASHP
Ormond Beach, FL

The contents of this blog represent my own opinion, and not necessarily that of my employer or of ASHP.