Be the Boss Over Cancer

Whether you continued working during your cancer treatment or you took time off to focus on recovery, there is no better time to reassess your career and determine if it is where and what you want it to be than now when your cancer's in check.  Many survivors find that when they finish treatment they have a new outlook and different priorities.  So this is also the ideal time to reflect on your career in order to make the right choices for the future.

Career Check-Up Quiz

First, ask yourself these questions and write down your answers:

1. On a scale of one to ten, how satisfied (one being most satisfied), are you in your career overall (career, not job or work)? If you feel like you just have had jobs in the past instead of a career, does this matter to you?

2. If you answered five or higher to question 1, specifically what is it about your past career that is not satisfying you? Is it your position, title or status? Is it the kind of projects or tasks you've been involved with? What about the kind of people (your boss, colleagues, clients, vendors) you've been working with? Are you bored?

3. Have you been compensated fairly? Have you had the benefits (flexibility, time off, insurance, 401k, etc.) that you'd like?

4. Have you consistently learned new things? Have you been challenged? Before your cancer diagnosis, had you been doing the same kind of work for more than two years? If so, it may be time to identify new types of projects or shift your work slightly when you go back.

5. Does the type of work you've done have meaning for you? Do you feel as if you are making a difference in the world, or simply earning a paycheck?

6. Do you have a dream or fantasy about doing another kind of work, or shifting the way you work (fewer hours, telecommuting, etc.)?

7. Even if you are satisfied with your career, what is the one thing you would change about it?

Once you take the Career Check-Up Quiz, sit down and really read over your answers.  Are there common themes?  Where is there room for improvement?  Did anything surprise you about your responses? 

Now that you have a sense of where your career is and what you want from it think about next steps. If you are unsure how to make changes, there are plenty of books available about managing your career. Hire a career coach or find someone in your industry who you respect to mentor you. Take a class at a university or college.  Bottom line, no matter what our diagnosis is, we can all use a career tune-up!

Tell us: What did you learn about yourself and your career after you did the career check-up quiz?  Do you think your cancer experience changes your answers?

1 Comment

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  • Jennifer H.

    Jennifer H. on Jun 24, 2009

    Is there a career coach for cancer survivors that would like to change careers in order to work in oncology/cancer centers or charities?

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