On March 25th, Cancer and Careers hosted its 9th annual Midwest Conference on Work & Cancer. We are so grateful to the 224 patients, survivors, healthcare/nonprofit/HR professionals, managers, coworkers, family members and friends who attended. We learned as much from them as we hope they learned from us.
Our speakers Rachel Becker, Nicole Jarvis, Sage Bolte and Kathy Flora covered key topics, including working through treatment, communicating effectively, disclosure, resume writing, virtual interviewing, skill building, self-confidence, boundaries and more.
One of our favorite moments, from a day filled with many great insights, came from Dr. Bolte as she discussed the impact of harmful comments in the workplace and how to set your own boundaries:
“At work, if somebody says to you, ‘You know, I really believe everything happens for a reason and you’re going to be okay…’ For me, if somebody said, ‘Everything happens for a reason’, I would push that belief back and say, ‘I disagree. I don’t think I got cancer for a reason. I can choose to learn from it but there is no reason. I was a pretty good human before. I’m a pretty good human now. I don’t need cancer for that.’ I can actually [also] give them productive feedback and say, ‘It’s not helpful to me when you say everything is going to be okay. And everything happens for a reason. What I need from you is just to listen and to tell me this frustrates you too. Or just listen and tell me you don’t know what to say. I would rather have that.”
While we look forward to the day that we can safely return to in-person conferences, we were once again reminded of how powerful online connections and community can be. Across chat, Q&A and polls our Midwest attendees shared their stories, their concerns and their humor as we learned from each other throughout the day.
Our conferences are a great opportunity to get a comprehensive overview of managing work and cancer and find new avenues of support. Be sure to sign-up now for our National Conference on Work & Cancer, being held online Friday June 24, 2022. 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.
And as always, our conferences simply would not be possible without the overwhelmingly generous support of our sponsors.