I have been job hunting for past 6 months. It has been a hit and miss for me so far. I have applied countless positions, contacted head hunters and networked with friends offering my skill sets. From middle management to executive levels. In some cases I could be over qualified for a position and with other applications, I have the wealth experience to offer but somehow getting my foot into the human resources door is still work in progress.
When you take a look at my CV, there is 2.5 year gap where I wasn’t working. It would be difficult for me to hide why I have not been working. Each time a head hunter or any potential employers’ call, I am upfront with them telling them that I was undergoing chemotherapy . There are those react with with positivity and words of encouragement or sharing a story of someone who were in similar situation. And there are those who say very little. Perhaps they can’t find the right words to express or chose not to discuss about it. Whatever the reactions maybe, I just move to discuss about my work experience.
I have wondered how they view candidates who had/have cancer. Had a conversation with my oncologist sharing with her that my job hunt is still work in progress and that I share of my health situation. Her opinion from medical perspective is there are many employers’ are not as open to having cancer patients in their employment. Cancer could be seen as a “disability”. Let me clarify that disability in this case would be where the candidate may have to take extra time off in the event one falls ill which could hinder on productivity. I am saddened to hear that there are potentially people who view cancer patient such as myself as someone who may not be able to contribute to the workforce. With advanced medicine, the disease is curable and controllable. If I am healthy enough to work and have the qualifications, then why not hire me? I would like to think that the time spent enduring all the side effects of chemo and still smile at the end day is a sign of strength and focus on beating the disease. My positive attitude was the key foundation of who I am today. I can accept any challenges put in front of me.
Ok, I can hear some of you arguing that not every cancer patient or survivor may not be able to cope with the stress of the work environment. And stress is not good for people of cancer. What if one knows how to deal with the stress? Would you as the hiring manager be apprehensive in having the person as part of the team? I am not looking for sympathy nor do I dare not start wondering what employer’s thought process when they come to learn of anyone who has cancer. If a candidate applies for work, it means that they are healthy and of sound mind to work again.
My job hunting adventure continues.