• myb's Avatar

    Job search after Cancer Treatment

    Asked by myb on Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Job search after Cancer Treatment

    Should I tell perspective employers that I went through cancer surgery and treatments as an explanation for my gap in work history during interview? Do I wait till offered a job? Do I never mention it? How do I explain my needing a day off every 3 months for tests and checkups with my oncologist? How do I explain my neuropathy issues?

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • SpunkyS's Avatar

      Congratulations on going back to work! Great accomplishment.
      I would not be too eager to share everything at interview time. And then, only if asked, to answer in the most generic form. As an employer I got twitchy when I heard too much info from a person and was hesitant to hire when it was complicated.
      If offered a job I would approach the employer with the need to take a day off and be very flexible about how to "make it up" if need be.
      Good luck with your search.

      about 4 years ago
    • myb's Avatar

      Spunky, Thanks for the answer! I am just looking for a job at this time and preferably closer to home than I have worked in the past. Seriously considering part time work for this year as not sure I will be able to survive a work week/commute. I have started to engage volunteer work again, so getting out of the habit of napping which is a positive sign to me.

      about 4 years ago
    • JudyS's Avatar

      I wanted to respond earlier but didn't know what to say as I have not searched for a job in a long time but would have the same questions that you did. I think SpunkyS's response was great. I also agree that you deserve a huge pat on the back and congrats for making it back to the working world! None of it was as easy as I thought it would be. I was very fortunate in that I was able to work from home (a wonderful company to work for) and had an extremely responsible and dependable person who assisted me in every way possible as my inside rep. Lots of best wishes and blessings sent your way!

      about 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I was kind of wondering the same thing, although I am presently employed but looking for a new job. I had been looking for a while when I was diagnosed and had to cancel a few interviews due to surgeries and such. I worked through chemo and my employer has been wonderful with allowing me to make up time on a flex schedule. Also, they were great about letting me use donated leave time from fellow employees so I didn't have to take any leave without pay. I have no gaps in employment from my treatment but I do need time off for doctor visits, etc. So I decided to stay where I am and put my search on hold for a bit until I am further out from my last chemo and more stable in my treatment.
      As an HR professional, though, I would say that the less said the better until it is time for the actual job offer.

      about 4 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar

      No, I would not recommend telling prospective employers about your cancer during job interviews. Also, it is against the law for prospective employers to ask about medical/disability issues, only your ability to do the job. I recommend that you become familiar with Americans With Disability Act which covers cancer - see http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-ada.html .

      about 4 years ago
    • kalen's Avatar

      I have hired plenty of folks for both general labor and professional positions. I would definitely look at it as a positive that you have fought cancer and are winning the battle. I also would not see any issue in you taking off time to see your oncologist, but would want to know up front so arrangements could be worked out. Typically I hire based on character and ethic, because I can always teach a job or skill. You certainly are not obligated to say anything, but I wouldn't shy away from it, because that experience has shaped you and you have a ton more perspective now.

      A disclaimer though, I typically don't get into the details of insurance and disability with new hires. There are some legal consequences of screening based on medical history, which someone else has already identified. I am just saying from a functional manager standpoint, I would look at it as a positive. Sometimes it is best not to give an employer any reason to second guess your "fit", but I think you probably could feel that out in an interview situation.

      about 4 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      No, I wouldn't tell a prospective employer. I began looking for a new job a few months after I finished chemo and my hair had grown back. My future boss did notice my bandages on my chest at my 2nd interview; I had just had my port removed a few days earlier, but she later told me she was not permitted to ask.

      I have had a lot of doctors' appointments this year, but I was able to schedule most of them in the evenings, except my oncologist. I was able to work around that with just taking off a few hours or taking one day to do everything in one day (once, I had 4 appointments in one day!).

      Take it slow. I jumped at the first job offer and it turned out to be too strenuous for me, both physically and even mentally. I didn't realize how bad my chemo brain was until I started the new job. I thought I was back to my old self physically, but I wasn't and struggled with walking, sitting too long and the other neuropathy issues.

      almost 4 years ago
    • deena's Avatar

      I was also wondering about that. I finished chemo three months ago but still struggle with fatigue, neuropathy, extremely painful joints, and a bit of chemo brain. Not ready to start looking yet until I get stronger and go through a couple more clear blood tests (fingers crossed I stay in remission).

      I'm not planning on sharing the fact I had cancer with my prospective employer. I traveled weekly out of state for my job and don't plan on returning to that lifestyle. I don't mind commuting but not jumping on a plane every week to get to a client. I don't think that is a healthy work life.

      I will have to think of a creative way to explain my gap in employment without lying.

      Congratulations on being able to go back to work!!

      almost 4 years ago

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