Will having cancer hurt my chances of getting a job?

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Comments (14)

Kristin in Los Angeles, California

23 months ago

Hi there,

I am a recent breast cancer survivor and I blogged about my experience (in a public blog site) I've heard that hiring managers sometimes Google potential job candidates to see what comes up ie: Facebook/twitter etc. Should a cancer survivor take down any site (including a blog) so that a company can't use that against them (not hire someone based on their previous health cond) Any advice or info would be great. Thanks!

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Calfornian in Hayward, California

23 months ago

Kristin in Los Angeles, California said: I am a recent breast cancer survivor and I blogged about my experience (in a public blog site) I've heard that hiring managers sometimes Google potential job candidates to see what comes up ie: Facebook/twitter etc. Should a cancer survivor take down any site (including a blog) so that a company can't use that against them (not hire someone based on their previous health cond) Any advice or info would be great. Thanks!

Hi Kristin,

That's a really interesting question and I don't know the law on this, or anything else for that matter, but I never post using my real name, unless, I'm prepared to stand behind what I write. I learned that the hard way.

Your case is different. It's a positive story but some jagoff could certainly use it against you. Would you want to work for someone who would? I doubt it but who knows who is doing what these days. People don't realize how powerful information can be and we're really scared about the wrong things but totally casual with others. "Drones, omg, Obama's gonna take us all out", instead of worrying about some company they've never heard of, who bought their personal financial information, tied it into 2 other databases, and now knows that you hit the bar twice a week and may decide you have a drinking problem.

Anyways, I think you have to decide if the positive of what you did outweighs the potential negative. I, honestly, really don't know. And besides, it's done. Those posts will be forever even if you can get the blog owner to take them down. That kind of stuff can be archived by people completely unrelated to the site and that's that.

I think your story is positive, or at least by the result I'm assuming it was :), and if it helped some people then that more than outweighs the negative.

Just remember that everything you do online is being watched.

Good luck with it all.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

23 months ago

I don't think you want to give them any more information than they need or volunteer anything that won't help you get the job. The way things are now, there are so many people out there that they think the stream of candidates is endless and they can find the perfect fit. You don't want to give them any reason whatsoever to disqualify you.

Ask yourself this question: Will having this blog public under my own name *help* me get a job?

I'm also wondering if you have a gap on your resume because of this? If so, and you need to explain your gap, then that may change things.

I'm just of the mindset that any little ticky tack thing could be used against you.

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Calfornian in Hayward, California

23 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said:
Ask yourself this question: Will having this blog public under my own name *help* me get a job?

I have a very eclectic background and my primary interest is some combination of data analysis, business intelligence and database work. But, I've also done web development (I'm fairly comfortable that those days are done unless I wind up going solo). Anyways, sometimes I would touch on political things, things that really shouldn't be, but are. For instance, military spending, California spending, are we paying more or less in taxes, etc. I tried very hard to be neutral, and not pick sides, but I realized that other people would pick a side for me. It's like Nate Silver (538) being hated by the Right for correctly calling the election based on polls.

Now it's 100% technical and all of that is gone or going away. All I write about are things that make no statements about anything. I even censor my comments about problems with technology because it could be perceived as negative.

The link below is something I did (don't worry, no ads, and the domain is expiring in April, not to be renewed) that is just too close to a line although I really like it's look and it makes me sad to let it go. :)

www.unitedstatesvstheworld.com

You have to assume everything can and will be used against you in the court of hiring.

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HelloJ in NY, New York

23 months ago

No, do not tell them that. They will exclude you for hiring you. They find every reason not to hire somebody these days.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

23 months ago

Is your illness relevant to your qualifications? No. Therefore, say nothing. Do not volunteer any more information than needed for them to determine your fit for a job.

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Mike1000 in New York, New York

23 months ago

your story is very positive, but I understand your concerns. If it were me, I wouldnt offer them any more information than what's needed. As another post mentioned, if there's a gap in your employment history because of it, just be prepared how you want to answer the interviewer. Have you also considered working for a nonprofit cancer organization? They often hire cancer survivors or people that have had some kind of connection to it, because those people are more likely to be committed to the cause.

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Kristin in Los Angeles, California

23 months ago

Thanks for the reply. I've just come across too many people who have been laid off or their department "downsized" while they were going through treatment. It's a harsh and deplorable reality. I'm just afraid these days that companies care more about the bottom line and someone who's had cancer is now an "expensive" employee? Anyway, I have a friend who Google's Facebook among other social sites before hiring someone. Anyway, have a nice rest of your week :)

QUOTE who="Calfornian in Hayward, California"]Hi Kristin,

That's a really interesting question and I don't know the law on this, or anything else for that matter, but I never post using my real name, unless, I'm prepared to stand behind what I write. I learned that the hard way.

Your case is different. It's a positive story but some jagoff could certainly use it against you. Would you want to work for someone who would? I doubt it but who knows who is doing what these days. People don't realize how powerful information can be and we're really scared about the wrong things but totally casual with others. "Drones, omg, Obama's gonna take us all out", instead of worrying about some company they've never heard of, who bought their personal financial information, tied it into 2 other databases, and now knows that you hit the bar twice a week and may decide you have a drinking problem.

Anyways, I think you have to decide if the positive of what you did outweighs the potential negative. I, honestly, really don't know. And besides, it's done. Those posts will be forever even if you can get the blog owner to take them down. That kind of stuff can be archived by people completely unrelated to the site and that's that.

I think your story is positive, or at least by the result I'm assuming it was :), and if it helped some people then that more than outweighs the negative.

Just remember that everything you do online is being watched.

Good luck with it all.

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Kristin in Los Angeles, California

23 months ago

I don't have any gaps. I worked during treatment as long as I could. I actually started working at a breast cancer organization and they LOVED that I was a survivor. Didn't think I'd have to worry about my public blog until they went out of business and I was laid off. *sigh I would love to find another in the non-profit cancer realm but beggars can't be choosers and I need a job NOW! Thanks for the reply:)

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: I don't think you want to give them any more information than they need or volunteer anything that won't help you get the job. The way things are now, there are so many people out there that they think the stream of candidates is endless and they can find the perfect fit. You don't want to give them any reason whatsoever to disqualify you.

Ask yourself this question: Will having this blog public under my own name *help* me get a job?

I'm also wondering if you have a gap on your resume because of this? If so, and you need to explain your gap, then that may change things.

I'm just of the mindset that any little ticky tack thing could be used against you.

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Kristin in Los Angeles, California

23 months ago

No it's not. I haven't told anyone zip. It's my public blog that I'm worried about. It's full of pix of me bald and beautiful:) They can Google anything these days. Thx for the reply!

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado said: Is your illness relevant to your qualifications? No. Therefore, say nothing. Do not volunteer any more information than needed for them to determine your fit for a job.

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Kristin in Los Angeles, California

23 months ago

Hi,

Funny you should ask- I was just laid off from a breast cancer non-profit. Perfect fit right? They closed their doors in Dec and laid everyone off:( Now THEY didn't mind my previous health issue. There's no gaps. I worked during treatment. It's a sad reality but I've met many ppl who have been "let go" or their dept downsized b/c the employee took too much time off for treatment. I was paranoid about that so I worked as much as poss. Anyway, thx for the input!

Mike1000 in New York, New York said: your story is very positive, but I understand your concerns. If it were me, I wouldnt offer them any more information than what's needed. As another post mentioned, if there's a gap in your employment history because of it, just be prepared how you want to answer the interviewer. Have you also considered working for a nonprofit cancer organization? They often hire cancer survivors or people that have had some kind of connection to it, because those people are more likely to be committed to the cause.

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HopefulGuy in New Jersey

23 months ago

I think your story is an amazingly great story! I think, if anything, it speaks to your resilience and how strong it is! If you can beat an illness like that, then getting through a bout of unemployment and getting another job should be a cake walk! Just be glad and have an attitude of gratitude that you have your health in good condition, because health is wealth and most of the time, no amount of money can substitute for that! Good luck!

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

23 months ago

Kristin in Los Angeles, California said: No it's not. I haven't told anyone zip. It's my public blog that I'm worried about. It's full of pix of me bald and beautiful:) They can Google anything these days. Thx for the reply!
You're welcome. Of course it's up to you, but FWIW perhaps you should pull down your blog.

Your layoff from the breast cancer non-profit has to be the ultimate irony.

Best wishes for continued good health. You deserve it. And, of course, best wishes for your job search.

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Alchemist in St. Louis, Missouri

23 months ago

Kristin, I am also a breast cancer survivor. While I was in chemo, I also met people who were laid off or experienced job difficulties due to needing time off for treatment (even radiation treatments). That's the world we live in.

I would make the blog anonymous at a minimum if you can do so. If not, take it down, but see if you can archive it so that you don't lose it.

Don't mention being a survivor until you are in a job and you can assess the culture and the people. It may end up being a wonderfully supportive place -- my previous employer was wonderful in terms of having a flexible work schedule and allowing me to go into the 'red' on vacation time and earn it back later.

I've read too many stories and met too many people, though, who have been straightforward about their battle with cancer and have suffered at work due to it. Even employers who appear supportive at first may later wonder if it's good for you to take on the additional stress that a promotion may cause or will always think of you as harboring cancer (harsh but true). Studies show that survivors tend to earn less money and be promoted less frequently than matched peers. Is it that they do miss more time? Or is it the perception that they will? Hard to know.

Take care and good luck to you. Hopefully we will both be "dancing with NED" for a long, long time.

[No Evidence of Disease]

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