Be the Boss Over Cancer

Hello.  My wife has battled a very aggressive breast cancer for the past 2 years and I have been the primary caregiver for her.  She is doing very well, but was basically bedridden for all but the last 6 months.  As you might guess, we have spent all our savings to save her, and now I am trying to get a job that is consistent with my background, but am having no luck at this time.  It seems that few employers seem to value the caregiver who steps away from a career to take care of their loved ones.  I cannot seem to get anyone to give me more than a cursory look, even after advising them of the situation.  I have been a VP, so I know those titles are harder to come by and that it takes time, but after 9 months, we are about out of money.  Is there a job network that is more understanding of this situation?  I cannot believe people are so shallow.  Thank you.  Tom

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  • Alice McKenney

    Alice McKenney on May 10, 2012

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Tom,

    I have reached out to one of our career coaches to get back to you, however a few things I wanted to share as well (you might already be doing some of these things, but wanted to share just in case!). 

    • Use your network.  I'm sure you've done some of this, but be sure to use every bit that you can - get active on LinkedIn if you haven't already (help for that is here:, attend local networking nights for your field, take informational interviews at companies you are interested in.  Also you would likely benefit from getting on local headhunter's radars - at your job level, as you're aware, this is a big job placement route.
    • When asked why you took the time off, only briefly explain your caregiving role, then switch the conversation straight back to your skills and strengths of the job.  Of course caregiving for your wife became a major part of who you are now, however employer's may not be able to make the connection to how this learning experience will help you on the job.
    • In general, I recommend checking out our Looking for Work section:  While it is geared towards cancer survivors, many of the topics discussed are relevant to someone in your situation.

    I hope this helps!



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