Be the Boss Over Cancer

I'm a 2 year breast cancer survivor. I've always been a positive, happy, strong person even during the process of chemotherapy and radiation. It's being laid off twice in one year that's starting to break my confidence. It's difficult to remain positive when you're competing for limited jobs and as someone who held a senior position in my field, finding it difficult to gain opportunities. The combination of fighting cancer and being laid off takes its toll on you. I've never felt so tired before in my life. I'm grateful for the second chance and know this is a temporary situation. However, how do you recommend I keep my confidence going while searching for a job in this market?

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  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on Mar 21, 2010

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi JC,

    The good news is that you are quite obviously wired to be optimistic and resilient. Even without having cancer, it is natural for you to feel very discouraged about finding a job in this challenging market. Looking for a job is tedious and the process can easily chip away at your self-confidence. First, try to remember what it is that you did to keep yourself upbeat during your cancer treatment. Did you rely on close friends and family? Did you create a mantra for times when you were scared or uncomfortable? Did you reward yourself in small ways? Did you eat different food or exercise? Whatever you did, doing these things now will help you feel better mentally.

    Also, know that a job search has to be broken into small tasks and that if you follow a brief written plan everyday and are able to check things off your list, you will feel as if you are taking action which will in turn cause you to feel as if you are doing what you need to in order to find a job. So much of the process is psychological.

    It may be a good idea to consult with a career coach to see if the way that you are pursuing a new job makes sense. Are your documents the best they can be? Are you leveraging LinkedIn well? Are there really enough openings out there to merit continuing to look for the same kind of job or is it time to reinvent yourself somehow? Please feel free to write back to me to ask me questions about these things I've mentioned.

    At the risk of sounding goofy, stop and smell the roses, see friends or family who make you laugh, read an inspiring memoir, take a long walk and do those things you may forget to do or even not do because you don't think you deserve to until you find a job.

    And, one more thing, I echo what you said in your email, this is temporary!!

    Take care,


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