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Alice McKenney on October 27, 2011
It seems like every day there are new cancer organizations popping up to serve every need of the patient and survivor. Sometimes it can feel like non-profit soup...but there are some gems that truly stand out from the crowd for filling a dire need that the cancer community craves. One such organization is TalkAboutHealth.
Currently geared towards breast cancer survivors, but with big plans to expand to all types of cancers and other illnesses, TalkAboutHealth has become the go-to resource for patients and survivors alike to ask questions covering everything from medication side effects to emotional health, and get straight, direct answers from the leading experts. Cancer and Careers was recently chosen to be the resident expert on issues regarding work & cancer, and participated in a live Q&A on October 13th. A sampling of questions received are below.
Q: How do I explain the gap in employment caused by cancer?
A: This is possibly the question we get asked the most and everyone ultimately answers it differently. No matter what, in the initial stages of a job search, you will want to be prepared for questions related to gaps in employment history. And, if it comes up be future focused, non-specific and brief. What is key to a prospective employer is how you can solve their problems and meet their needs so be prepared to speak about that. Practice, practice, practice your answers so that you can be at ease during your interview. However you decide to field the question don't out and out lie, ever but you can absolutely be broad or vague. Continue reading here.
Q: I'm done with my cancer treatment but cancer is still a big part of who I am. When starting a new job, do I share my experience or hide it?
A: Congrats on being done with treatment!
Your question is a tough one and a really personal one too. Everyone feels differently about this decision, my first piece of advice is for you to understand what you legally do and don't have to do so that any decision you make includes understanding that key piece, you can do some reading here http://www.cancerandcareers.org/en/at-work/Legal-and-Financial and for specific questions on your personal situation contact the Cancer Legal Resource Center at 1-866-THE-CLRC. Continue reading here.
Q: How can I deal with co-workers who avoid me or will not talk about my diagnosis or treatment?
A: It would help to know a little bit more about the particulars of your workplace like was it close knit before you were diagnosed and so this treatment is different from how you related to them before, are the people you work with people you consider friends in the larger frame of your life, are these people who have either never been touched by cancer or been touched by cancer before, etc. In general, your options seem to me to be...continue reading here.
For more information on TalkAboutHealth visit www.talkabouthealth.com
And don't forget, if you are in job search mode and want tips and tools to help you along the way, we are hosting a free teleconference with our career coach Julie Jansen where she will discuss everything from resumes to interviewing and beyond. More info is here: www.cancerandcareers.org/asktheexperts