Be the Boss Over Cancer

First of all, thank you so much for providing this resource! I was diagnosed with Leukemia back in February and was laid off in March (I did not qualify for FMLA due to only being employed with the company for two months). I am gearing up for a job search now, since I will finished with my treatments in the middle/end of October. I have been in interviews before where they ask why you are leaving your current job, or why you are no longer at your previous job. How do I answer that I got laid off without revealing that it was due to medical reasons, rather than job performance?

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  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on Jul 28, 2014

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Sarah,

    This is a question we receive quite frequently. While I cannot imagine that your former employer would openly admit that they laid you off because you were diagnosed with cancer, one never knows.

    Have you contacted your former boss or HR to ask what they would say in a reference check? Also, is it even necessary to have a job on your resume that you only worked in for two months? My inclination would be to leave it off so you don't even have to deal with this issue.

    If you choose to leave it on your resume,  you will need to script an answer that you feel comfortable with so you are not focused on this rather than talking about how you can contribute and solve a prospective employer's problems. Was there any restructuring that took place after they laid you off? Did they hire someone else immediately to replace you? Maybe there is room for some creativity in your answer to talk about an unexpected reorg or budget issues? I do not know enough about the company or situation to help you craft this but whatever you say, keep it brief and change the subject.

    Take care,

    Julie

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