Jennifer M. on March 18, 2010
I am a 41 year old, single, self employed communications consultant currently undergoing an expected 12 month treatment path for Stage III breast cancer.
When I started experiencing some major health issues early in chemotherapy, I decided to put my consulting business on hold for the remainder of my treatment and move home to the same city as my family so I can be cared for--I have also found a world-class team of doctors in this new city. But I expect to move back to MY hometown, hopefully in the next 6-9 months when most of my treatment is completed.
While I've been gone (about a month), I have turned down new business but have also started hearing from other consultants that word is getting out my business isn't doing well; or they haven't "seen me around"; I've even had other consultants refer headhunters to me for FTE. I'm trying not to take it personally ("it's just business" approach) but am also annoyed that others might try to take advantage of my situation (though I know I can't control that).
A) When I turn down new business I have said something general, like, "I am not accepting new clients for the next few months. I'd be happy to refer you to someone else if your need is immediate, or I can check in with you in June when I expect to have more time."
I don't want to get into my health issues with people I don't know but am wondering if I should say something like "I am spending the next few months focusing on a health issue and am not accepting new clients"
I don't want to freak anyone out. A select few former clients and colleagues know about my diagnosis but I've tried to keep my move quiet since I hope to return. I think word may be getting around though.
B) I have considered going after full time employment with an organization or firm rather than resume my consultancy post-treatment,because as if better benefits and predictable salary for the next few years might be a good thing for me.
As I interview for new jobs--what do I tell potential employers I've been doing for the last few months?
Do I say as little as possible and just state I'm looking for a change from self employment to something more stable? Or say I took time off from my business to address a health issue (I just think that scares people off)