Be the Boss Over Cancer

I'm hoping you can help me.  I cannot prove it, although it's quite obvious, that either my former employer, or someone I did business with prior to my cancer in 2010, has said things about me in the very small, Charlotte area insurance industry. Everyone knows someone in this industry.  I've dabbled in the idea of maybe I'm ready to return to work, although I'm still suffering from many side effects (bone and back pain, fatigue, etc.).  I've had three phone interviews, all of which have resulted in face to face interviews.  The interviews went incredibly HR manager actually hugged me before I left the interview and said she couldn't wait to speak with me again.  I received a cold e-mail form letter today saying they hired someone else, this after she specifically told me she'd be interviewing clear through the end of April and making her decision in Mid-May at the earliest.  How can I find out what's being said out there about me?  Something isn't right. I left my job in 2010 and am an extremely private person.  No one at my prior job (I was dedicated and was there for 7 years) kept in touch with me...not a note, not an e-mail, nothing. I was their senior manager and all of a sudden, I get a cancer diagnosis, and they act like they never knew me.  I have 5 or 6 strong recommendations on LinkedIn and they all said that's how they found me!  I didn't even apply to these jobs!  They found me, and then they all scatter after the interview.  What can I do?  I said nothing during my interview except that I took a personal leave and left it at that. 


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  • Alice McKenney

    Alice McKenney on Apr 20, 2012

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Gina,

    I have passed along your question to one of our career coaches.  In the mean time, if you are worried about what your legal rights are and if there could be any possible recourse, I recommend checking out one of the below cancer legal rights organizations. They should be able to talk you through your legal rights in this situation.

    Cancer Legal Resource Center:

    National Cancer Legal Services Network:



  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on May 2, 2012

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Gina,

    You must feel incredibly frustrated.

    It may or may not be true that your former employer is bad mouthing you. The easiest thing to do is to find someone to call your former boss and conduct a reference. Although it may feel disengenuiness, there is nothing illegal about doing this. I once had a coaching client who was worried that this was happening to her and I called her former employer and he said lovely things about her. The relief she felt far outweighed the discomfort she felt about being misleading.

    Please let me know what you think of this idea. If your universe of opportunity is small, you may consider shifting careers a bit so you can stay there or possibly relocate. I understand that neither of these things are easy to do and I wish you the best!

    Take care,


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