Timothy W. on May 20, 2022
I have stage IV lung cancer and going through chemo treatment currently every three weeks. There doesn't seem to be an end date to treatment any time soon. Currently I'm a contract employee at which has allowed me to qualify for Medicaid which is great! However I have to pay my own taxes and the pay isn't that great. There's an opportunity I've been thinking of applying for but scared to b/c my current boss is great with my treatment days, etc. Switching jobs would mean switching to reach health care, taxes being taken out (yay!) I'd have copays, I'm nervous! What if they aren't ok with my treatment days? Any advice? Should I just stay? I don't want to stay in a job forever just bc of cancer... life is too short.
Rachel Becker, LMSW
May 24, 2022
Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:
Thank you for reaching out with this question. I’ve passed it along to a career coach and you should be hearing back from them shortly. In the meantime, here are some initial thoughts on what you've shared.
First, it sounds like your current work situation has some very real upsides to it despite, perhaps, not being entirely ideal. I can also appreciate that while you seem to be excited by the idea of exploring potential new work opportunities there’s also some hesitation about the unknowns that come with taking on a new job – which is completely understandable. Job searching is an ongoing process that can feel overwhelming to anyone regardless of their health status, educational or work experience, or other personal characteristics. However, keep in mind that there are many steps involved before an offer is on the table (i.e., updating resume and cover letter, participating in interviews, etc.), and many survivors we work with find that it helps to focus on one step at a time rather than trying to think through everything all at once.
Also, a key component of the job search process is exploring whether a particular opportunity is a good fit for you. Of course, no one can know exactly what the day-to-day reality of working at any job will be until they’ve actually been hired but you can do some groundwork during the searching process that can help give you a general sense of the company culture, benefits, etc. This article has some great tips for researching potential employers that you might find useful.
Additionally, while you await a response from our career coach, you may want to take a look at some of our resources on Looking for Work, including:
Our free Resume Review Service where you can get expert guidance on getting your resume into the best possible shape.
Additionally, the first four webinars in our 2022 Balancing Work & Cancer Webinar Series focused on the job search, and recordings of them have been archived on our website.
As I mentioned, a career coach will respond shortly. Until then, if you have any further questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Rachel Becker, LMSW (she, her, hers)
Cancer and Careers / CEW Foundation
May 25, 2022
Career Coach Comment:
I echo Rachel's comments about taking this situation one step at a time. If the position interests you, then by all means do apply for it. You know that going through treatment every three weeks is not something you can change now so no matter what, you will need to work for an employer who can be and is willing to accomodate this. At the same time, it would be too early for you to mention anything in the early stages of applying and interviewing for any job, so I suggest going through the process of applying for any jobs that appeal to you and decide the right timing when it makes sense. And on top of your treatment, worrying about money is stressful.
You said it well at the end of your email to us. Life is too short! You have figured out how to perform well in your job (contract or not) despite constant treatment and you can explain how you can do this to the right new employer. And there will be the right one!
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