Be the Boss Over Cancer

How should I respond to negativity during my job search so that I don't get discouraged?


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  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Jun 6, 2014

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Victoria-

    I would like to help you. Could you clarify: Are you
    referring to negativity of the people you encounter when seeking a job--such as
    recruiters and hiring manager?  Or, are
    you personally feeling discouraged about your search?

    For a start I would want to know more about the type of work
    you are seeking and suggest some approaches. Have you been out of work for a long while? Are you trying to return to the same company
    or changing career direction?

    If you have been absent from the workforce for a while, how
    are you communicating that to potential employers?  We can provide you with some great tips on
    how to explain absences without volunteering too much information. We can also suggest how to put together a
    resume that will focus on your skills and competencies rather than your illness
    and your absences. Be sure to check out Looking For Work and resume samples on
    our website to learn more about this.

    If, on the other hand, you are feeling down because it takes
    a long time, or you are not getting interviews, then again more information
    about your career directions will help us provide you with a direction, ideas
    and encouragement.

    Victoria, I am a former Human Resource Manager with a lot of
    experience in Recruiting. I have worked
    as a Career Coach  and Management
    Consulting helping many people across the country. I am also a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, so I
    can give you the perspective from many sides of the question. 

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


  • Victoria M.

    Victoria M. on Jun 14, 2014

    The type of negativity I've received have been regarding my appearance and the amount of experience I have. I'm a professional fashion/feature writer and, not only have I found it helpful to dress nicely when I go out to deal with my cancer journey, I've also found it makes me feel more confident. Some of the people at agencies, that're supposed to help me and a few places I've interviewed at, have told me to "dress down" and "play dumb", which I find offensive. I feel some of it might be racial since I'm African-American and I've had problems of this sort in the past with others who were prejudiced against me on jobs. I've also had a couple of references, from previous jobs, fall through and just cut off communication from me after they promised to be a reference. These issues have made my job search extremely difficult and painful. I feel very alone and like my life has taken a step backwards when I'm trying to go forwards.

  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Jun 14, 2014

    Career Coach Comment:


    Thanks for the additional information.  My reaction is that you have visited the wrong employment agencies. The recommendation to "play dumb" and for a fashion expert to "dress down" is disconnected, unprofessional and shameful.  It is a reflection of that person, not you. Don't believe it.

    Since you are a writer, you have lot's of opportunity to expand your network and connect directly within the writers and the fashion communities. Start by preparing a really great bio and get business cards.

    Develop and submit articles about current trends.  Identify and respond to blogs.  Get your name out there. Be visible.  Identify and join Fashion Writers groups or associations.   Look for free lance work to keep busy at the start.  There are many organizations out there where you can bid for assignments. Google some keywords until you find those resources.

    Many non profit organizations use fashion shows as fundraisers.  Volunteer to help whether it is as a moderator, or to submit a write up to local press about the show. Or organize such a fundraiser yourself for the cancer community.  That way you will get to interact with organizations that will expand your network.

    When you are networking within the writers or fashion community, ask others who the best employment agencies might be for your profession.

    Another thought is write a small ebook.  I did so last year and was able to do it myself on Amazon.  It then gave me the courage to do the same on their Create a Space and my book is now available in hard copy through

    It's quite possible that you have encountered some bias. And you always will, to some point. We all do in one form or another.  Do not let it stop you in your tracks or be intimidated.  Be true to yourself and be determined.  Whenever you hesitate, ask yourself:   What would Dr. Maya Angelou or Oprah  do in my shoes? Go for it.  Envision your goal and the result you want.  Don't let someone's ignorance or negativity deter you. Write your goals down and post them around your house so you see it often.  Create an Action plan with baby steps so you can keep moving forward.  You are creative - be proud of it and show it in all that you do.

    When I started a business in 1990, I recall hearing this wonderful public speaker at an entrepreneurial seminar and I walked away with this gem:  "Fake it 'till you make it !"  In other words, if you want to be successful, you have to act successful.  The behavior comes before the reality.

    I hope you will post again when you achieve your goal! We love to hear about success.


  • Victoria M.

    Victoria M. on Jun 15, 2014

    Dear Margot:

    Thank you so much for your advice. I really needed to hear that so that I can keep pushing forward. I'll keep you abreast of my progress.

    Victoria Moore

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