Be the Boss Over Cancer

I'm in a quandary!  After having been out of work for several months, I was hired as a temp-to-perm worker just before my biopsy.  The employer has been wonderfully understanding about the leave I have needed to pursue medical appointments and surgery.  I have just started my series of chemotherapy treatments, and returned to work yesterday feeling pretty well, only to be told that the company is downsizing, and I'm being laid off at the end of June (about 10 days from now).  Knowing that I'm going to be pretty much out of commission one week out of every three over the next few months, I don't know what to tell potential employers, or even if I should search for a job at this point.  Unfortunately, I have not had health insurance all during this time, so I've been paying for everything out of pocket.  My spouse and I have not entirely spent out our reserves, but there will be a hard stop somewhere along the way.  Any advice you might be able to give me would be very, very helpful.


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  • Sarah Goodell

    Sarah Goodell on Jun 26, 2013

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks for reaching out and apologies for the delayed response, we're experiencing some problems with the alerts from our website. I have sent your question off to one of our career coaches who will get back to you soon.

    In the meantime, if you haven't already, I would recommend reading through the Looking for Work section of our website:

    I would also recommend looking into flexible work options. Considering your schedule over the next few months a more flexible job might be a good option for you. A great resource for looking for flexible work options is, it lists the most flexible companies in the country. At the checkout, enter the code CANCER to receive a 50% discount.


    Sarah, Cancer and Careers Program Coordinator

  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Jun 27, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:

    Christine -

    You are going through a tough time right now; hopefully, the tides will turn for the best shortly. Glad to hear you are feeling pretty well.

    I would like to suggest that your first priority is to research getting Financial Assistance.  Just put in Financial Assistance in the Search area at the top right, and you will see a lot of resources for you to pursue.  Getting some financial support will help relieve some of the stress.

    Also, you may qualify for unemployment benefits if you were only out of work for a few months. The time you spent at a previous Full Time position, should qualify you, unless you have already collected the maximum.  That would be worth checking out.

    Next priority is getting some health insurance.  You may not qualify for coverage at this time,however, your spouse should be able to enroll for family coverage in an employer-sponsored plan.  Employer sponsored plans usually have guaranteed issue and do not require a physical or a health questionnaire. Although health insurance premiums can be high, the monthly cost is still significantly less than even one day of treatment.

    I think it would make more sense to stick to temporary part time work until you are finished with chemo.  You can tell the agency that you are available 3 our of 4 weeks a month because you have another part time commitment that you have to finish off.  Then when you are able and ready to interview for a full time position, simply indicate that you have been working temporary positions since you were downsized. 

    You may also want to check with the cancer center, where you are getting your treatment, whether there are any part time positions there. Check their online Career page to see what might be available. Look into other cancer-related or non profit organizations for part time position; they may be more compassionate than some corporate employers.

    Another thought is to consider what else you could do from home to earn some money.  Don't get sucked in to the make lots of money fast schemes.  Depending on your talents, you could do some telemarketing, or some baking, or walk dogs, or house sit, perhaps some crafts that you could sell. You might want to ask a few friends to have coffee with you and brainstorm some options.

    I hope these ideas are helpful to you.  It's important that you are able to address some of these concerns in order to reduce your stress level. Don't give up; get creative.


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