Cancer And Careers S. on February 9, 2010
Just want to comment on how a young cancer survivor like myself envy someone in his/her 60sn with a solid work history and network.
I got cancer at 30, 4 months out of graduate school. The treatment was a few more months, but it totally messed up my professional training. I had gotten a very competitive post-graduate training opportunity, but they would not take me back after treatment - and a manager had confirmed that health was the issue. I wished I had the savvy and courage to challenge them at that time - if only to record the time at the hospital as medical leave, instead of backdating my employment date. My school career counsellor said that I was giving her a headache when I approached her for help.
Then I went for 50 to 60 interviews for all kinds of career-track positions. From a high-flying business school graduate, I was reduced to part-time/ short contract assistant positions in the university and boutique startups, some of which would not even have medical benefits, but would instead disqualify me from medicaid because of the tiny stipend which is not even sufficient for private insurance premiums.
I lost the contract position a few months into the recession - again a pity because I was months from having a viable professional track record for a career. Worked on commission on the business development side for the rest of the crisis.
4+ years after the initial diagnosis, even the doctors agree that I don't need quarterly CT Scans. In the last few months, I have gone to a few interviews - not getting through though. Is it still because of the medical? Or the patchy job history post cancer? Or the insufficient training as an analyst?
Either way, I am not sure what else I can do - re-apply to entry level graduate training programs, work in startups that are less picky, work for friends who may be more forgiving, work on contracts so that the employer does not feel the burden ... Tried them all ...