Be the Boss Over Cancer

I am not sure where to start looking for a different more humane workplace. After 12 years of loyalty and great work...the owner of the company I work for (I work directly of him as his GM) treats me horribly after my cancer diagnosis / treatment. I am 55 and know companies look for younger hires with less emphasis on dedication and seasoned skills.


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  • Bud Bilanich

    Bud Bilanich on Sep 27, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hello Peggy:

    I’m sorry to hear that your work situation is not the best. I’m assuming that your relationship with the owner of the company was pretty good and that it changed after your cancer diagnosis and treatment.

    Have you discussed this change with your boss? If not, I suggest that you do. You can say something like, “Our relationship seems to have changed since I got cancer. I’d like for it to get back to where it was prior to my diagnosis and treatment.”

    Listen to what he has to say. He may be unaware that he is treating you differently. If this is the case, letting him know how you feel may be enough to get things back on track.

    It is difficult for me to provide a better answer without more specifics from you. If you provide me with more information I may be able to provide you with better advice.

    If you decide to look for another job don’t discount your age and experience. Companies always need and want dedicated, experienced, seasoned employees who can make a positive contribution to their business. Highlight your accomplishments in your resume – not just your job responsibilities. Demonstrate that you are the type of person who will help their business grow and flourish.

    It sounds as if you are reasonably healthy right now. Use this to your advantage. You survived cancer – that’s a big accomplishment. It shows that you are tough minded and determined. Apply the determination and life lessons you learned dealing with cancer to your job search and you’ll come out on top.

    Best of luck to you whichever way you decide to go.

    Bud Bilanich

  • Peggy P.

    Peggy P. on Sep 28, 2013

    We had a good working relationship for 11 years when a new person was hired that I have a reason to believe he may be having an affair with. She became disrespectful to me and my colleagues and has created a hostile work environment for all. I went to him to try to get things on the right track but he has no plans to get her under control. 

    Then I got cancer, two surgeries and many rounds of radiation. I work full time through radiation. He was and is miserable. It's a huge change from hi praising my work. I have not had on blemish on my record. It's difficult to stay well in that environment.

  • Bud Bilanich

    Bud Bilanich on Sep 30, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:

    Let’s separate the two issues here, Peggy. It sounds as if the hiring of the new person with whom your boss may be having an affair predated your cancer. I think you did the right (and courageous) thing in discussing the situation with your boss. However, he seems to have ignored your request to ask this person to change her behavior. This indicates that you were in a toxic work environment before you got cancer.

    Then, there’s your cancer. Two surgeries and many rounds of radiation are difficult and take their toll, emotionally and physically. And you’re right, a difficult work environment in which you get no praise for your contributions and have a “miserable” boss makes it tough to stay healthy and take care of yourself.

    You have a decision to make. Either you continue on in your current job and hope that something changes, or you look for another job. I can’t advise you on which choice to make. You need to do that for yourself. If you choose to look for another job though, I suggest that you stay with your present company until you land a new job. Put in your time, keep up the quality of your work. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you become unemployed during your job search.

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