Lexi R. on October 29, 2021
Resume Building and Writing,
Hi! I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma two weeks after I graduated college. My plan prior to treatment was always to work whatever job paid the bills and then use whatever free time I had to pursue my dream of being a professional singer-songwriter. Now after two-ish years of treatment I'm NED and looking to move back to NYC to continue going after that dream, but I'm worried that I don't have the same physical energy as I used to and I won't be able to handle a full work week while also working on music outside of that. I'm also worried that any minimum wage job I could get would put me at greater risk for COVID. I'd love any advice on how to balance my creative pursuits, bills, and continued side effects from chemo (namely fatigue and being immunocompromised).
Rachel Becker, LMSW
Nov 1, 2021
Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:
Thanks for reaching out, and congratulations on having made the decision to pursue your dream in NYC! I’ve shared your post with one of our career coaches who will respond soon. In the meantime, I’d like to point you towards some resources you may find helpful.
I can appreciate your concern that working in an onsite job might put you at greater risk of COVID. However, one of the “silver linings” of the pandemic is that there are now more remote jobs available in a variety of fields – many of which may have flexible schedules. Finding a job you’re able to do from home may not only reduce your chances of being exposed to COVID, but can also eliminate the need for a draining commute and allow for opportunities to take short breaks/lie down during the day – all of which can go a long way in helping to manage fatigue. Opportunities may range from independent work such as freelance and/or contract based jobs to full or part-time salary-based roles, such as those advertised on FlexJobs.com (A 50% discount code for membership fees is available to the Cancer and Careers community and can be found here.)
Additionally, I recommend taking a look at:
I hope this is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 646-929-8032.
Nov 6, 2021
Career Coach Comment:
As a career coach I applaud the fact that you have a dream to be a professional singer-songwriter. You have talent, passion, and are getting your drive back after chemo which is amazing. It is daunting for anyone seeking a successful career in the arts let alone someone in your situation.
I think it is important to not apply a traditional mindset to the work you can do while you are creating your music. As Rachel mentioned, there are so many ways to work and earn money, and a positive outcome of the pandemic is that employers are much more open about this. Maybe you won't work full-time and squeeze in your music but instead make your music your priority and fit in work.
The first step for you is to identify your skills, industries that interest you (in addition to music), and jobs that are appealing so that you can narrow down the type of work you can do. Going through this exercise will help you focus on packaging yourself and applying for projects or jobs that will provide a level of satisfaction for you versus just taking any job you can get. Also, please don't think that the only work available to you is minimum wage jobs. Regarding industries, I know many people who decide to focus on working for music companies or organizations related to music in any capacity just so they can work with other people who share your passion about music.
Cancer and Careers has many resources for people focused on managing chemo brain and fatigue, balancing work, and other related topics. Definitely spend some time on CAC's site to get tips and ideas.
Your primary goal is to narrow down the type of work you can and want to do, customize your resume and LinkedIn profile for this, and stay focused until you find work that will pay you enough to cover your bills. I guarantee that you do not need to be a server or work in retail!
Dec 4, 2021
Hello, I am a cancer survivor. It is going on three years since my surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. I am considering opening up my own private practice. I am scared since I am a cancer survivor and will lose my benefits, if I quit my job. I have to get a test done in two months. I am going to try to work my full-time job while preparing to setup my solo practice. The organization, I work for is toxic and abusive. Upper-management is controlling. I don’t like to be controlled. My perspective has changed since I was diagnosed with a cancer. Cancer has changed me in a positive way. I have always advocated others, but not always for myself. I have advocated for myself and it has caused me frustration. I have reported unethical situations and have been ignored. I know my employer is not going to change. I want to be free and desire autonomy. I want to work with cancer patients and the elderly. I am a single woman. I want to take this leap to live my life on my terms. However, I have concerns about being uninsured. Can you please share any advice? Also, if you have any resources, I would be grateful as well. Thank you in advance.
Nicole Jarvis, LMSW
Dec 6, 2021
Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:
Thanks for sharing about your situation and I'm sorry to hear you've had a rough time with your employer. Oftentimes cancer can be a catalyst for career changes and exploring different passions, so you're not alone in wanting to find something better for yourself! A toxic work environment can be really unhealthy in any circumstance but it is felt even more when you're dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment as well. It sounds like it's a good idea for you to try out a new venture. With that said, being prepared for such a transition is always important. It sounds like you have a good sense of what you want to do, so I'd just encourage you to explore what you need in order to be successful. Perhaps speaking with others who started their own practice. What steps did they take initially to ensure they were set up for success? Perhaps they can also shed light on how to obtain insurance and other coverage that is necessary.
We have a section of our website devoted to Legal & Financial information, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with some of the basic laws and protections there. If you're interested in learning more in-depth information regarding the legal aspects following a cancer diagnosis, I'd encourage you check out some of the legal resources in our resource database. Additionally, you can also watch the recording of the health insurance webinar we presented this past October to get a better sense of some of the available options. Triage Cancer (www.triagecancer.org) provides a great deal of detailed information about health insurance options, so they would be worth reaching out to.
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions or would like to speak with someone as you make these (exciting!) career moves.
Best of luck to you as you set out on a more gratifying and healthy career.
Nicole Jarvis, LMSW
Assistant Director of Programs
Cancer and Careers
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