Be the Boss Over Cancer

  • Good Day, I have been employed within business office field for over twenty years. 2011 was certified and employed for Home Health Aide position until diagnose of breast cancer April 2013. Agency kind to allow me work in office during most treatment, however, immediately following final radiation treatment supervisor demand return to field work. My hair in process of return, appearance is awkward. Therapy to strengthen side of surgeries in process and experience side affects from Tamoxifen. Our family financial status from this illness is poverty. Is there any form of referral to employers who will give me the opportunity of gainful employment? Most people continue to stare or stereotype my appearance, in addition, I am desperately trying to improve strength and stamina to work eight hours a day including practice to restore my brain ability. Please contact me with any information that may improve the chances of a positive response from prospective employer. Thank you very much for your time, is greatly appreciated. Kindest regards, Kelley Doepel  (at the time employer learns of cancer treatment, appears automatic concern that I may lose time from work for doctor appointments, illness return, questionable of ability to think and perform duties, etc.) Yes, there are abundance of people ignorant to actual process. Help. Should I indicate illness at all on resume?


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  • Sarah Goodell

    Sarah Goodell on Jan 21, 2014

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Kelley,

    Thanks for reaching out to us. I sent your post to one of our career coaches who will be in touch soon. In the meantime, I would recommend that you check out This site helps you to find telecommuting jobs, part-time jobs, and all other sorts of flexible work options that may be helpful for you as you figure out the next steps in your job. If you enter the code CANCER at the checkout you will get 50% off.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions and our coach will respond to you soon.


    Sarah, Cancer and Careers Associate Manager of Programs

  • Kelley D.

    Kelley D. on Jan 21, 2014

    Thank you, however the website provided by your message requires a fee, therefore am unable to utilize.  American Cancer Society suggested this website,  I have no income. 

  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on Jan 22, 2014

    Career Coach Comment:

    Dear Kelley,

    I am terribly sorry that you are having such a difficult time. As I understand from your question, your immediate and dire need is to find a job. I agree with Sarah that finding a flexible or part-time job is probably the best idea for you given your stamina level and chemo brain symptoms. One idea is to become a mystery shopper. There is an organization called Retail Active - They pay $250 per assignment and reimburse expenses. I would also do a search for stay at home work. There are many reputable sites. 

    Putting this type of work aside, most jobs are found through networking. I realize that your self esteem is low however I highly recommend that you do whatever you can do to build a network to uncover job opportunities. There are free networking groups for unemployed people across the United States that are sponsored by local churches and synagogues. These are a safe place to commiserate with people, develop new relationships with professionals, and uncover job leads.

    Finally, it is unfortunate that people make judgments about things they don't understand such as illness. But the truth is that sometimes you cannot do anything about their negative reactions so it's best to find people who will respond positively and compassionately to you. At Cancer and Careers, we always advise people to focus on their strengths and past accomplishments when talking to people while networking or interviewing for a job. While mentioning the fact that you have had cancer is certainly your choice, it isn't what I recommend in your situation.

    I wish you much good luck in finding a job.

    Take care,


  • Sarah Goodell

    Sarah Goodell on Jan 22, 2014

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Kelley,

    I wanted to follow-up on Julie's advice above with some other websites with information on working virtually. These sites offer articles, suggestions, products, and job listings for the telecommuting/home-based worker.

    • this site features a home employment database with more than 1500 job listings.
    • the site offers many features useful to any virtual worker, including a free Directory of Home Based Careers.
    • Content includes information on telework scams, networking links, white papers on trends, etc.
    • Job postings feature multiple opportunities for developers, project managers, and help deskā€“tech support staff.
    • Here are some sites for virtual call centers if you would like to try customer service, call center work or virtual concierge work: and 

    I hope this is helpful, please let us know if you have any other questions.


    Sarah, Cancer and Careers Associate Manager of Programs

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