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Jan 29, 2012 12:15AM
Kate: Thank you for starting this thread!
I was laid off three years ago (end of Jan 2009). I got a temporary job (census bureau) and was nearing the end of that when I was diagnosed with BC in May 2009. I haven't worked since. I was fortunate to have unemployment benefits through Jan 2011 and to be able to avail of the COBRA subsidy for 15 months. I'm really struggling now to pay rent and medical insurance.
I really only started to look for work again last year as like most of you I suffered from extreme fatigue following radiation -- I could sleep 12 hours a night and still feel tired. I still like to sleep 9-10 hours.
I've only had two interviews in the last year. One was for a position at the company I previously worked at and they already knew about my BC. The woman who interviewed me asked me absolutely nothing about my health. My guess is she was deliberately skirting around it in case I would claim that was the reason they didn't hire me.
The other interview -- I thought I did badly at the first interview as I was really nervous and waiting for the question about what I'd been doing for two years. It never came up. I was surprised to be one of just two brought back for a second interview. Near the end of the interview, one of the interviewers suddenly noticed "the gap" and asked me what I'd been doing in the meantime. Before I could answer, the other interviewer said "oh, she's been freelancing." I don't know whether she thought I was or was just trying to help me out. I agreed and pointed out that I do volunteer work too. I think in this job market, no-one really takes a lot of notice of "the gap."
Last month, I decided to re-enroll with a temp agency that I had worked for in the past. They encouraged me to come in, telling me all the time that they had lots of work, but I now know they were lying. I knew one of the staff from before and met him first and told him exactly why I'd been out of work so long. He was very sympathetic, but advised me that if anyone asked about the gap I should say that I had "family issues."
I think the mods are giving sound advice about telling a potential employer esp if you do need any special accomodations. Sometimes I think our handling of everything surrounding our diagnoses and treatment should be given a paragraph of its own on our resumes as we all developed an additional set of skills in order to handle that.
Mary ~~ lumpectomy 8/10/2009, Oncotype DX 18, Chemo 10/28/09--2/1/10 AC*4, CMF*4
5/19/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-