This free, daylong event explores the challenges of balancing treatment and recovery with employment and is open to patients, survivors, healthcare professionals* and anyone else touched by cancer.
Our CEO, Joanna Morales, and Rebecca Nellis, chief mission officer of Cancer and Careers will present on topics including:
- Working through treatment
- Health insurance options
- Legal issues
- …and more!
Below are more details about the event. Space is filling up, so be sure to register today!
Date: Friday, November 13, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (breakfast & lunch provided)
Location: The Center at Cathedral Plaza, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles (Free parking)
Website for more information: www.cancerandcareers.org/en/community/events/westcoast-conference
*Free CEUs are available for oncology nurses and social workers.
If you’re in the Midwest, save the date for our Midwest Conference on Work & Cancer on Friday, April 8th in Chicago!
by: Lindsey Montoya
Finding a happy medium between getting the job done efficiently and coping with the side effects of cancer treatments is difficult. Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer spend a considerable amount of time worrying not just about their health and recovery, but about how their recovery is going to affect their career. How will I cope with the side effects while on the job? What will my boss do if I can’t perform as I once did? Will my coworkers understand? Fortunately, there is a great resource for both employees facing cancer and employers learning how to accommodate them.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. JAN provides both employers and employees with ideas and support to help employees with a disability or immediate health concern to keep performing their jobs in a way that meets both parties’ needs. With “reasonable accommodations,” cancer patients can be more comfortable in their jobs, and in turn, work more efficiently and effectively.
So what are “reasonable accommodations?” Generally, they can be any change in a work space, schedule, or policy that helps an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. There are a myriad of side effects that cancer patients and survivors may experience during the workday, causing a need for a reasonable accommodation. Some side effects include: hair loss, weakened immune system, fatigue, weakness, respiratory difficulties, skin irritations, stress, depression, anxiety, and temperature sensitivity, just to name a few. JAN helps employers/employees determine the limitations and problematic job tasks that cancer patients may face, and the accommodations available to reduce or eliminate these problems in different types of jobs.
Possible accommodations: Reduce or eliminate physical exertion, schedule periodic rest breaks, allow a flexible work schedule, allow work from home, implement ergonomic workstation design, provide a mobility aid, provide parking close to work-site, install automatic door openers, move equipment/materials close to employee, move workstation close to other work areas, reduce noise
Symptom: Respiratory Difficulties
Possible accommodations: Provide adjustable ventilation, keep work environment free from dust, smoke, odor, and fumes, implement a “fragrance-free” and/or a “smoke-free” environment, avoid extreme temperatures, allow use of fan/heater at workstation, redirect air conditioner/heater vents
Symptom: Skin Irritations
Possible accommodations: Avoid infectious agents and chemicals, avoid invasive procedures, provide alternative and protective clothing
Possible accommodations: Provide sensitivity training to coworkers, allow telephone calls to doctors and other support systems during work hours, provide information on counseling and employee assistance programs, implement flexible scheduling, allow a modified break schedule, allow leave for counseling, allow work from home
Symptom: Temperature Sensitivity
Possible accommodations: Modify work-site temperature, modify dress code, allow use of fan/heater at workstation, allow work from home during extreme heat or cold, redirect air conditioning/heating vents, provide an office with separate temperature controls
There are many ideas and products that can be used to accommodate employees facing challenges at work related to their medical conditions. JAN has a searchable online database to discover additional options that can help you in the workplace.
For more information about protections in the workplace, visit: www.eeoc.gov/laws/type/cancer.cfm.
For more information about managing work and cancer, visit www.cancerandcareers.org
Thinking about a career change? Looking for a new job? Wanting to get back into the workforce?
Then Cancer and Careers is a resource for you. In addition to providing all sorts of information about how to balance work and a cancer diagnosis, they provide a free resume review service, a free job coaching services and free educational events.
For example, Cancer and Careers hosts a free, annual National Conference on Work and Cancer in New York on June 12th. They do offer travel scholarships – the deadline is April 15th! For you west-coasters, they are also bringing a regional conference to LA on November 13th – stay tuned . . .
In the meantime, here is an interesting list of the 10 questions that you should ask before you accept a job offer: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-questions-you-absolutely-must-ask-before-accepting-a-job-offer. Being interviewed is a two-way street. You need to interview the company!
But my favorite suggested question is actually the last one – where will you sit? My first job after graduating from law school, I had a public interest law fellowship. I was so excited about the fellowship, that I never thought to ask this question. For the first few months I worked there, they didn’t have a desk for me, so I floated from cubicle to cubicle that was intended for the volunteers, until they found a spot for me. A “spot” opened up because they moved the copier out of a cutout in the wall, which opened up a space to move a desk into. Then I shared an office, then moved to a dark closet that they tried to convince me was an office. When I worked at the cancer center, they actually did turn a closet into an office space for me.
If you’re going to spend so many hours of your day (in my case it was often 10-12) sitting in a space, you should make a conscious decision about whether or not that works for you. Maybe it’s not the type of job where you sit – it’s still important to ask yourself if it’s a place where you want to spend so many precious hours a week.
For more about the job search process, Cancer and Careers offers a free Job Search Toolkit.