Be the Boss Over Cancer

How do you explain the employment gap when you have spent 1-3 years caring for your child? My son has been hospitalized for 8 months due to a fungal infection that was deadly and he was not suppose to live. But he is living and will under go numerous surgeries and they still have to try and go back to treat the leukemia. This makes an employer think you are not a reliable candidate for a position if you provide the truth. My family has no income and we will loose the home my children have only known. My son who is sick is 20 and my daughter is 23 and we all need to live and eat. Opportunities are just not available for family's like ours. 

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  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Nov 5, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:


    Wow!  You have had some
    tough times.  I sense your anger and
    frustration having to face the challenges and the obstacles you have had to overcome.
    Let me start my helping you deal with the employment gap.

    1.    On your resume,
    after your last position, here’s an example of how to list what you have done
    in the recent time frame.

    – Family leave to care for a sick family member.  Prosvided transportation, hands-on care and
    support during a serious health crisis.

    In an interview
    or telephone conversation, don’t elaborate. 
    Let them assume it might be a parent rather than a child.  

    they ask why are you available
    now?  Indicate that the crisis is over
    and you are NOW available and eager for full time work.

    Tell us a bit
    about your skills and experience.  What
    did you do as a career?  Perhaps, we can
    suggest opportunities for part time roles to get you back into the workforce
    and to improve your finances.

    What sources of
    financial assistance have you explored?

    If you are now
    available for FT employment, you may be able to collect unemployment

    There are
    foundations and cancer organizations that provide financial assistance and
    support during difficult times.  

    Ask the Social
    worker at your hospital for a list of resources.  Discuss your needs as well as your
    frustrations.  They have a great deal of
    experience working with patient family members who deal with the financial and
    emotional impact of family illness.

    Have you
    considered participating in a support group? 
    Some group members can be very helpful in sharing resources they
    discovered.  I’m a cancer patient and
    although I am often not in need of assistance, I attend to help others and share
    what I have learned that may help them.

     I have extensive experience
    interviewing and hiring staff.  I would not
    be put off by your employment gap if there is a brief explanation. I would be
    very aware and cautious if I sensed anger and emotions that are raw and might
    interfere with relationships and performance on the job. It might be a good
    idea for you to work with someone one-on-one to role play an interview so that
    you can be comfortable projecting a positive image.

    Aimee, I hope that some of this is of help to you.  Provide us with more information about the type of job you are seeking and we can probably offer more guidance.


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