• Have you thought about changing your career during or post cancer?

    Asked by cranburymom on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Have you thought about changing your career during or post cancer?

    I often thank for having this treat-able cancer at my age - totally re-oriented me in a positive way. I could not say this during my dark time (yes chemo time!!) though. I do feel that I should be doing something else. I want to be sure that I am not wasting this experience and pour my true energy to the area that I really feel passionate. Every time I share this thought to my friends and my husband, they discouraged me - this is not the time, they say. But I learn from this - there in no good time for anything. Like there is NO good time to get this disease! Anyone felt the similar way, or took action??? Love to know...any thought, feedback, hugely appreciated.

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • Indyeastside's Avatar

      Think it comes with two prodings. Cancer opens your eyes to the fragility of life and our age helps us look for the meaning of our life. As far as right time-can you think of a bettter time? Keep in mind I'm out of work since August and not much out there.

      over 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I was in the insurance business for 10 years before cancer, during treatment I was fortunate enough to get a job that kept me in the office most of the time, and the company let me take all the time I needed during treatments, hospital stays, etc. After I was deemed, "cured" I moved back home and took some time to decide what I wanted to do, I started the business I now own and operate, a Landscape Design/Build/Maintenance Company. So yes, it's a great time, your mind is ready to explore, you will never have a better attitude than now, looking at what's out there that you would like to explore that is, and if you decide that you CAN do it, you WILL do it. What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve!
      Good luck to you, go get what you want out of life.

      over 4 years ago
    • TomLand's Avatar

      I have pancreatic cancer (treatable, not curable) however I am thinking along the changing careers line. I have responded unusually well to the standard of care chemo treatment. That gives me hope for life beyond the 6 months initially forecast. I am at that point now and feel much better than I did at diagnosis. If I continue improvement at the current rate I hope to be able to resume some level of work this summer/fall. My 62 birthday is this fall at shorty before the time my company will terminate me at the end of my long-term disability. I can and may retire then and go into private practice or continue to work within my company in a different role. Time will tell and I will continue to identify and explore options. It is not the place or time for an emotional, uninformed decision.

      over 4 years ago
    • Fusionera's Avatar

      i am presently in that mode of rethinking a "career" and what I want to do. I finish chemotherapy in July and have not worked since I lost my job in late 2010. Not only will it be challenging to re-enter the workforce after a long absence, but I do not want to find myself doing something again that I "have to do" and don't at all enjoy. I did that for years and I am not unconvinced that the stress of it contributed in some manner to the repeated recurrences of my cancer. Explore what you love and see if there is a feasible way to earn an income doing it. That is the approach I am taking right now as I reexamine what I will physically be able to do when I am ready to begin working again. I am also looking at how much control over my well-being I would have in a new line of work. Where will my talents be best utilized and where I will feel healthy on all fronts? This is a big question for me.

      over 4 years ago
    • akiko's Avatar

      It is quite a difficult decision. Since we have to pay bill and financial situation is very critical issue, but at the same time, we, cancer patients, should be happy in pursing whatever we really like and believe. Therefore my advice is:

      1) If you have to share your mortgage and your children's college cost in the future, and your company keeps you for now, and you are OK with your job, then I agree with your husband and friends... keep your job and reduce the workload depending on your condition.

      2) If you do not have to worry about your financial condition very much then think about the option of disability (I heard that you can decline receiving it whenever you are able to go back to work) and find/start something you really want to do.

      In my case, I was notified of being laid off before cancer diagnosis, but thanks to the disability based on cancer, the company still keeps me (the lay-off status is on hold). Fortunately I have a good insurance which the company provides and I receive some disability compensation which allows me to pay my living cost and co-payment. I will not be going back to the industry where I used to be since the high-tech industry is so crazy and I am working with people of my son's age. Working in the industry was really exciting but it is not truly my area since I was not really talented (I do not have engineering degree and I overcompensated with my extraordinary efforts)

      If I do not recover enough, and have a life of downhill, then I would choose to request social security based on permanent disability and live quietly until I die.

      However my true plan is to go back to a normal life as soon as possible and try to find whatever I really enjoy and hopefully make some living out of it.

      over 4 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      I have so many thoughts, including questions like - do you like your current job - why or why not? Do you like the field in which you currently work - why or why not? Etc....

      I love my job... and I always have. Still, I find myself wanting a change in my work life... and I'm sooooo fortunate to have a job in which I can simply make that happen. So, I'm in the process of changing how it is that I do my job. I'm trying to change the way in which I approach the big decisions about the directions our research will take. And I have even taken on some tasks that are very dear to my heart but not necessarily a key element of my job description. And so on...

      So, at the end of the day... Is it possible for you to transform, or partially transform, your current job experience into the job of your dreams? Can take on a specific project or lead up a specific effort that might lead you to a happier place with respect to your job?

      If you can somehow do that, it'd be win win, yes? I have no idea what kind of job you have, however... so I have no idea whether this could even be possible. For me, it's not only possible... but realistically achievable... and is even happening right now.

      over 4 years ago
    • cranburymom's Avatar

      Oh gee. I love each of your answer and truly appreicate your feedback. Based on what you all said, I see more options than a challenge.
      I appreciate my job, my manager, and the company. I work for the company that find cure for serious diseases including cancer. My manager hired a short-term consultant to help my work and I enjoy working with my colleagues - they are GREAT people. It is, as you can imagine, a high pressure job - not so forgiving for any mistake (well, we can't as our ultimate customers are patients like us!).

      This experience (cancer) really shaked me up and elevated me to a different level. Quite often, I hear that my gut is telling me I should be doing something else.

      Yes I have to pay bills, and yes I should be working as long as I can (considering what our economy is at)...and I should be on my knees to thank my boss and the company.

      Like Leepenn said, I already have everything in me. I do not need to lead a large team, or start selling my jewelries, or become a monk to find "it". It should be in me already.
      This feeling may pass - feel being responsible for following my heart...

      I am taking a deep breath and being open-minded. So I WILL be ready to welcome new opportunities.

      I will report back in a while - hope to see you then!

      Love and hugs,


      over 4 years ago

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