New job after cancer

Monday, July 3rd, 2017 - Resume

Starting a new job can be overwhelming in itself, but returning to work full time with a new job after cancer can be especially scary.

We know cancer and its painful treatments make us stronger, yet when the time comes to return to normalcy in a job, you can fear fatigue, doubt your mental ability and not want to talk about that chapter in your life.

As I embark on a new journey in my profession, I mentally prepared myself for the unknown with a positive attitude and talking to friends who faced similar circumstances. Some friends took a leave of absence until their chemo treatments were completed, six to eight weeks off of work for surgery recovery, and some left their jobs completely to focus on their healing.

I eased back by working part-time and gradually increased my hours. I admit, feeling tired was normal for the first few months. Tapping into resources for support also helped me understand what I was feeling. I turned to my doctor to help me understand my physical changes, and cancerandcareers.org to help prepare me for a job.

The website offered a multitude of resources specifically designed to help you at any stage of your illness and your profession. From writing your resume and interviewing tips to providing legal guidance on how to proceed after your cancer journey, the website and its staff can guide you through the anxiety you may have when returning to work or starting a new job.

“The website is a gateway in terms of touching the community,” said Chrissy Brennan, associate director of programs. “Hearing from people that have used our services is validation that there is a need for our services. We appreciate knowing we have helped.”

Funded through the Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation, Cancer and Careers was founded in New York by executive women in the cosmetic industry who were faced with cancer. According to the website, 50 percent of those diagnosed with cancer are of working age. Research also indicates that cancer survivors are more likely to be unemployed.

“They founded the foundation and the programs at Cancer and Careers in hopes of enhancing patient survivors in the workplace and training health-care professionals,” Ms. Brennan said. 

Today, thousands of cancer survivors like me have turned to this resource for online support and help from social workers. 

“Our social workers answer questions and direct people to resources on a daily basis,” Ms. Brennan said. “It’s about informing people and helping them move forward with starting a job like you,” Ms. Brennan said.

In addition to the organization’s free bilingual online and call center services, it offers conferences across the country with speakers focused on issues that affect cancer survivors in the workplace, including easing back into work, tips for job searching and more.

A new job means a new chapter in the life of a cancer survivor. It’s time to embrace the challenge with a smile.

Martha Garcia is a writer, communications instructor and bilingual marketing professional who lives in Bettendorf. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Fore more information about Cancer and Careers, to access career resources after overcoming cancer or to make a donation, visit cancerandcareers.org, or call 646-929-8032.

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