Jennifer M. on November 15, 2009
I am a communications and PR consultant in Washington, DC and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. My prognosis is very good, however, I will need to have surgery (possibly 2) in the next month, followed by about 5 months of chemo every 3 weeks, then possible radiation.
After much deliberation, and consultation with peers and close friends, I've decided to be proactive, get out in front of any possible misperceptions, and share the news by phone with my 3 retainer clients. Questions/concerns:
a) I'm concerned that my clients may be poached by other consultants or even agencies;
b) Do I wait until after my lumpectomy to find out what the exact picture looks like? I don't think the idea of surgery/chemo would really change that much.
c)I'm worried about new business coming my way, assuming this word starts to spread (which it will)
d) There is one client that is currently a project-basis-- I get calls every couple of months. I've been meaning to propose a retainer relationship, but am concerned that if I bring this up, and then ask for a more regular relationship, then it looks like I'm using my circumstances. However, I do need to know what my income will be and probably won't be as flexible as I've been in the past.
Any advice on any or all of these points? Thank you!
(Talking Points for Client Calls)
I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I have a treatment plan in place that will proceed during the next 6-8 months. It includes surgery in the next month, followed by a regimented and scheduled treatment plan that will end with a very very good prognosis.
I plan on working full time during my treatment and have an assistant who will be a backup if and when that's needed, that will be seamless and transparent to you. Work will continue as usual around a pre-scheduled treatment plan.
I intend on being very high touch during this period of time with clients. I wanted you to be aware of how I plan to proceed, that there is a plan for support to continue as usual. Let me know if I can answer any questions.