• LeslieMaria's Avatar

    LeslieMaria asked a questionSkin Cancer - Melanoma

    The Job Search... after cancer

    9 answers
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      Thanks for the link, gwendolyn.

      I would still caution about being too vague about where you were for the missing time. Vague answers will not get you hired if the HR people think you are hiding something (or worse, lying) and, as the link points out, they can't really ask direct questions so their imagination will fill in the blanks. If you decide to go the "I was dealing with a medical issue which is now resolved." route (Which is a pretty good way to handle this, imho if you aren't going to be upfront. Its not a lie. Above all else, honesty is most important.), I would add that it wasn't an addiction problem or mental health. HR will automatically go to drug/alcohol abuse as the cause first (because it usually is), depression second if you don't tell them otherwise and being vague says to them that it is still an issue (recovering addicts are encouraged to be honest). Wouldn't it be a kick in the a s s to lose a job because they thought you were hooked on crack when the reality was you were hooked on chemo?

      Cancer is rarely the first thought about resume breaks unless it is pretty obvious (bald, wearing a head scarf etc.). Of course, it gets easier the longer you are a survivor. A resume break that ended 5 years ago (and its cause) is far less of a concern than one that has not yet finished.

      And even though the link/law promises lots of protections, there are many ways around those for potential employers. While they may not legally be able to ask certain questions, you have to be able to prove they did......if they do.....and you don't get hired.....and your cancer was the reason.....and it wasn't "We found someone we think is a better fit.".....and you can prove they are lying......and......and.....

      And.....as if that isn't enough....if you aren't going to be upfront about your cancer, I would clear any mentions of cancer from social media. Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, no mention of What Next anywhere, no blog about your journey, nothing that can give you away, etc. Almost everyone checks SM out to see if you are a guy who likes to trash the boss on line and if they see cancer there and you were mysterious about that time off.............. At that point, it won't be the cancer that keeps you from being hired, it will be the subterfuge.

      about 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      I didn't miss much work during treatment andhave started looking for new jobs. I am fine where I am, just would like to make a little more money. I was offered a job after a phone interview and signed the job offer. I informed the Dept Director (also by phone) that I had cancer and was in remissionbut would need 5 days off for my partial knee replacement surgery (necrosis caused by chemo) in May, she offered the job to another candidate. I filed an EEOC claim and have stayed at my current job. I would not have even mentioned the cancer, had I not needed the days off for surgery.

      about 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      I've been out of the work force for quite some time. When I was a worker, I always tried to work for myself. It is so disheartening to read these comments. As I see it, it is nobody's business but your own that you have been through the cancer wringer. First business destroys the environment and creates poisonous products (do you really think cancer is only hereditary when it barely existed just 4-5 generations back?) to sicken you and then it penalizes you for succombing. This is sick, very sick behavior.

      I'd tell them, if asked, that I was on sebbatical for a personal research project. If someone had the nerve to inquire into something I'd already declared to be personal, I'd ask why they thought they needed to know. Companies don't own your life, you know.

      Remember, please, that you walk into a job looking for work and you leave a job in the very same condition so nothing much really changes.

      I had a friend who was a medical doctor who was fired from her group the minute they found out she had cancer. If ever government ought to stick its nose into discrimination, this would be a good time.

      What they really want to know is how you supported yourself while not working for someone else. You could have been an entrepreneur or you could have hit the lottery but you aren't a slave. In truth, Greg, you've no right or reason to ask somebody about their work history more than 5 years back. That is plenty enough time to establish continuity.

      You might recall that I asked you about work and you gave me the brush off. It hasn't stopped me from looking elsewhere. As I recall, you had minimal interest in my history.

      about 4 years ago
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    Drug or Chemo Therapy

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    Procedure or Surgery: I had given birth to micro-preemie baby girl and the nurses in the NICU said to have the mole on my neck checked out as it was turning black. After my daughter came home, I went to Dermatologist and was diagnosed with stage IV malignant melanoma. After two surgeries, I had my incision stapled for two weeks with 15 staples on the left side of my neck. I began my chemo/radiation immediately. 2 weeks of radiation to the neck area and 1 month, every day of chemotherapy (interferon) via IV...after first week, I got a PICC line. All the while with an infant, this was a very difficult time, I am so grateful for my awesome husband. After I finished with the daily dose of interferon, I had the PICC line removed (I was very glad about that). I then could take my dose via injection (injecting myself) 3 times a week. This was bliss! I wouldn't need to go in to clinic, although I so missed the fabulous staff, I would only see them twice a month for my check-up and to receive my meds. For side affects such as chills and severe headache, they gave me in clinic anti-histamine and Tylenol (extra strength). I continued with both for the year I took the interferon. As for the radiation that took place toward the end of my treatment, I had a very sore throat for months after. I couldn't eat much other than liquids; soups and ensure were my diet for the next 3 months...lost weight, thinning of the hair were the side affects. I was alive and could enjoy my first born child and husband.

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