On March 24th, Cancer and Careers hosted its 10th annual Midwest Conference on Work & Cancer virtually, where our expert speakers addressed the challenges of balancing cancer treatment and recovery with employment.
Thank you to the 295 patients, survivors, healthcare/nonprofit/HR professionals, managers, coworkers, family members and friends who attended and participated by listening, asking questions, connecting in the chat, answering polls, and providing valuable feedback!
The morning started with Navigating Work After Diagnosis presented by Deputy Director of Cancer and Careers (CAC), Rachel Becker, LMSW and Senior Manager of Programs of CAC, Scott Sinclair, where they gave practical tips, communication strategies and information on disclosure considerations, managing side-effects at work, reasonable accommodations and more. A highlight was watching/hearing the duo act out CAC's "Swivel" technique to showcase how to handle uncomfortable conversations like "my uncle had cancer..."
After lunch, Julie Jansen, Executive and Career Coach, spoke on the many considerations when job searching, particularly for someone with a cancer diagnosis. In this session, she provided tools and techniques for resume and cover letter writing, approaches to networking and virtual interviewing, addressing and challenges of looking for work during or after treatment and a resume gap and the additional aspects that go into job hunting in the current climate. We were not surprised to see that during one of the polls asked, "What are your greatest concerns or fears around networking?", the number one response was "Feeling like I'm asking for a favor." For more tips on networking, click here.
To round out the day, we heard from Wade Iwata, LICW, OSW-C, on strategies for practicing self-care and setting boundaries. The audience loved how Wade explained that while he feels a sense of self-care by rubbing his dog's belly, his dog, Reggie, also takes care of all his needs unapologetically -- he lets Wade know if he is hungry, if he wants to go for a walk, he'll bring him a toy if he wants to play, etc. He is not ashamed or embarrassed - he just wants his needs met. It's a lesson we can all learn from as we reframe thinking about self-care to something not selfish.
We are proud to hear from an attendee in Minnesota, “Really great conference! I'm glad I attended even though I am not sure what direction I am headed yet in my job search. And I don't know if it was just this group, but the chat felt very welcoming and open for people to share and connect. It was more welcoming than some in person cancer support seminars I've been to!”
We look forward to continuing to provide a space to interact with one another at our National Conference on Work & Cancer, being held online Friday June 23, 2023, which will further explore the issues faced by patients and survivors in the workplace. Even if you joined us for the Midwest program, there will be new speakers and content shared in June.
We will also be offering our Technology Assistance Program once again, which offers a free laptop to cancer patients and survivors who don’t have access to a reliable device. Fill out this TAP Sign-Up Form to be notified when applications open.
We are also incredibly thankful to our generous conference sponsors for making this day possible:
American Urological Association, Cancer Pathways Midwest, First Descents, For the Breast of Us, Gilda's Club Chicago, Imerman Angels, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance, National LGBT Cancer Network, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Oncolink, Stupid Cancer, Testicular Cancer Foundation, Touch, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance, True North Treks