Julie J. on April 3, 2022
First, thank you for giving cancer patients and survivors a forum like this to help privately discuss concepts related to careers and cancer. What an amazing resource
I'm looking for tips on how to think about approaching long term career planning / talent discussions at my organization. I've been at the company for 20 years. Historically, I've been a well respected associate and strong performer. Before my diagnosis, I was a director leading large teams. Since diagnosis, I've been allowed to take a less demanding role to give me more space to focus on my health. This has been wonderful for me. However, my ultra rare cancer came back last year, making me a Stage IV patient. Right now, my treatments provide me a very high quality of life, which allows me to continue working. Since starting this treatment, my disease status has been stable for longer than expected, which is actually a surprise to everyone on my medical team. I share that because I think it's important to note that my quality of life is high, my disease burden is relatively low, but my long term prognosis is still bad. I realize anything can happen, but statistics are not in my favor and according to "statistics" (which I don't fully believe) I have less than a 20% chance of being alive in 5 years.
We are approaching talent conversations and I just don't know how to reconcile my disease prognosis with long term career conversations. I have a really hard time thinking about future career aspirations when I don't even know that I'll be alive in 5 years. Do I just fake it and plan as though I'll be around like everyone else (in which case I'd just say that I want to stay doing what I'm doing without much upward advancement b/c I love the lower key assignments they've given me) or do I ask for a pass on talent conversations because I simply don't have the luxury of assuming that I'll be alive in 5 years?
Thanks for your help!