Lisa Vento from ‘The Time Between Us‘ talks first hand about getting back in to work after cancer. It’s not easy but she has great advice and practical tips to help you feel work ready again.
Cancer comes with a vengeance and it usually comes out of nowhere – even if you have a family history, you are not really sitting there expecting this visit from a potentially life-threatening disease. When it hits, everything gets damaged. Your body, your sense of self, your family’s sense of security and well being and of course also your “career” and how you pay your bills.
When you are going through treatment, the last thing on your mind is not whether you are up for a promotion. However, for most of us, we need our paychecks to support our families, for our sense of self and for our sanity to get out of the house.
During cancer and its treatments, many people lose their jobs (as I did) or have to take time off or resign to handle the monumental obstacle that is cancer.
When treatment is over, it is time to get back to “normal” but what does that mean? We now have new hair (thanks chemo), new bodies (whatever was trying to kill us had to be cut out or off) and a new sense of priority and purpose.
This is all so challenging for everyone but I had no idea it would be challenging for me. You see, I am a bit of a career “expert” – I have written 4 books in fact on being career ready, being entrepreneurial and all that jazz – and yet when the time came for me to dust myself off after treatment, get out there and find work again, I was lost. I figured holy crap, if I am lost and I am an “expert” imagine how other people feel?
I have been sharing my story via my blog thetimebetweenis.org but I also had a small business that focused on careers and professional development so I decided to combine the two into a non-profit (filing submitted this past week) to offer FREE webinars on how to get career ready after cancer.
Here are some quick tips on how to start your #careeraftercancer:
Practice your interviewing skills – make sure you know how to answer and deflect questions about the potential “blank space” on your resume. It is illegal in the USA to ask about health issues. Be sure to learn the rules in your country – for instance in the UK I read that an interviewer cannot ask about health until a job has been offered. Cancer and its treatments and effects have been a big part of your life and it is hard to not let it slip during interviews unless you practice your small talk and how to answer hard questions.
Make sure your clothes are comfortable – this seems like a no-brainer to others but for us cancer patients, our bodies have changed dramatically and to be truly comfortable, we want to have at least 1-2 good interview outfits that fit our new shapes.
Listen to your gut – your instincts are honed now and you should be able to tell right away if the job seems welcoming. If the people seem kind and also how you could handle the job. For instance, a stretch position is great if you are SURE you can stretch to do it without damaging your well being and health.
Network – even if people know you were sick, you can still ask them to help you find a job.
Good luck in getting your career after cancer and do let me know how it goes and if these quick tips helped!
(Register for the first webinar, date TBD, here → http://www.thetimebetweenis.org/work-readiness-for-cancer-survivors.html.)