It hit me that although I have written books before (sometimes with ease) that it seemed to be something in the past for me - something I would not be able to do anymore...
Well, I was wrong!
I wanted to share more about how to manage finding career after cancer. I know that the written word is sometimes not preferred - not everyone loves to read but I did think that with the video seminars and the written words here on my blog and on other sites (see Press) being great but it is in pieces and not a front to end guide book on what to do.
The information included in the book is:
Chapter 1 - Welcome to the "new normal"
Chapter 2- On Confidence
Chapter 3 - On Preparation
Chapter 4-Resumes & Blank Spaces
Chapter 5- Interviewing How-To's
Chapter 6- What Makes You Happy?
Chapter 7- Dealbreakers & Social Media
Chapter 8- Keeping an Open Mind
Chapter 9 -Listening to Your Gut
Chapter 10- On Balance
Epilogue - Next Steps
The book is slim with parts in it to add your own information to help get your mind going to think about what you want to do and how. My plan, however, is to give the book away for free with my training sessions, which I hope to be doing in person as well as online.
If you want a copy of the book, please sign up on my homepage Career After Cancer.
The book is also available on Amazon here.
This book joins the other 4 I have written about business / entrepreneurship and careers and of course my children's book that I also give away for free to other moms who have experienced cancer (sign up here - Children's Book if you want a copy of it - and sign up even if you want a copy in Spanish as a Breastie translated it for me into Spanish - for FREE! (Thanks, Mish!)
Let me know what you think about books vs video training - my goal is to have these things go together in so many new ways! Thanks!
If you want to help me reach more people by donating to my 501(c)(3), please do so below:
Do you know how to write the perfect resume? Something that makes the HR folk or Computer Algorithm say “hmmmm” and put you in the to be called (or emailed) pile? If a person looks at your #resume they spent about 3 seconds on it and one thing everyone hates to do is look at a resume and see:
It sucks because so many of us definitely have the 3rd thing ... we all took time off or got fired or laid off and now with the whole chronological resume thing, it’s glaring right there sooo obvious we missed time from our career and the question is, “why?” But most likely it becomes, “why bother?” to the HR or hiring folks.
I am going to tell you a hard truth - it IS (usually) easier to find a job when you HAVE a job. For most of us after treatment (or during as some of us are lifers with stage 4 or continuing treatments with clinical trials - I am on month 10 of a 24 month trial) if our doctors think we are well enough to work -and as we all know those bills don’t stop just because our bodies failed us - it is time to get back out there but for most of us, our bodies DID fail us and we still feel “off” in different ways. The best thing to try to feel normal again is to rock out our job search but helllloooo our resumes are old our hair is chemocut our bodies are different - where do we even begin???
Well, you begin behind your computer screen (for now) and watch my #free training that takes you through how to write that perfect resume - did you know you should:
So as you guys might know if you follow me on social media (why don’t you -
twitter and instagram) then you know I found out on Saturday - the day of my son's communion!- that my company is officially a 501(c)(3) corporation! I had already known I was a nonprofit for my state and then when I returned from my vacation and my Beautiful Self photo shoot in between all of that, I filed to be a 501(c)(3).
I filed because it was important for me to be officially a nonprofit, to be able to raise funds and support the things (training, books, and more) I want to do for free to help other people who have been hit with cancer get to their “new normal”.
I cannot stress enough that once you finish treatment (or if you are on maintenance treatment) and are cleared for work it is hard to figure out what you need to do to get back out there again. Or if you did work during treatment, maybe now that the roller coaster has paused for a moment, you realize you have not been happy at your work - maybe the stress levels are too high or maybe you have had issues with colleagues who, you know, are like jealous of all the time off you took during cancer (sounds absurd, but it happens).
Whatever your particular story is, the fact is that you are either actively thinking of moving to a new position OR you were canned and need to find something new. For me, I have spent years helping people get to the next step (seriously, it was the name of my company The Next Step) with resumes, interviewing help, and even wrote BOOKS on how to be entrepreneurial in your job search and more.
Despite all of that, here I was ready to find a new job and I was CLUELESS. Literally, clueless. I had no idea what to do. I mean, I kind of “knew” but not really. I had a new body, new hair and no clue what to do and how.
I always considered being an entrepreneur again but I knew that what I really wanted to do was help others (nonprofit-methe-plan-to-help-others.html)
and now here I am another big move to getting my initiative funded and more to launch more - so many plans (a new post will come about that soon) oh and news to share soon, too.
A friend of mine recently asked me, “So you are doing this non profit thing but you could not find a job?” Yes, a friend… lol. It is ok - it makes sense - for me, I have been entrepreneurial for many years and to be able to give back and officially as a 501(c)(3) this is what I am supposed to be doing!
In case you were interested, my Mission Statement is:
The Time Between Is, INC provides training and services for individuals who have experienced cancer. Cancer can lead to loss of job or taking a break from work which can be hard to get back to the career after going through this disease. This service and training includes online and in person session along with workbooks resume writing interview help and more to help people get back to their “new normal” after cancer.
The specific objectives and purpose of this organization shall be:
What do you think? Sign up today at Career After Cancer to make sure you get notices about all of the upcoming events and training and more!
If you want to help me raise money to support the training and initiatives underway for Career After Cancer, please do so below!
I realize that each day that passes, I am further and further away from my diagnosis but I also realize that it has only been almost 17 months since I was told, "You have cancer." That is really not a long time but in that time, I have accomplished a lot. I have also failed at a lot and moderately skimmed by on a ton.
Here is my status, for my own mental health and also to remind myself of what is important and how. In these (almost) 17 months, I learned to let go and NOT panic as much as possible. When I was diagnosed, I wanted to immediately get the cancer out, I wanted to know 100% whether or not I would survive and I wanted to be called a "survivor" immediately...I also was sad, depressed and most of all ASHAMED. I could not believe it had happened to me - I could not wrap my head around it nor could I share it so I kept it all stuffed inside.
I also had to learn to embrace a body with only 1 breast - which was easier than I thought it would be but still not exactly "easy". I then had to move into chemotherapy and figure out how to survive during it. I had help though and shared my tips I learned by my sherpa here.
After chemo (during which I worked full time and then lost my job the day after my last chemo) I gave myself just 3 weeks until I started radiation. At my last chemo, though, I got my first Lupron shot and also got my script for the hormone suppression pill Anastrazole. Radiation was 33+ rounds and during it, I had a lot to think about as my oncologist thought I should sign up for the Pallas clinical trial. I was unsure of whether or not to sign up so I focused on taking my hormone pill and getting the kids to school and myself to radiation every day.
I continued radiation until July, at which time I had begun blogging - anonymously- here. Sharing my story felt right, it gave me the outlet and as someone who is a writer, it was a pleasure to do and after a few weeks, I decided to no longer hide behind a fake name and to limit those who knew my illness and went live with a big video and sharing MY story, warts and all here on this blog.
It was not long before I began to share about #careeraftercancer and tie in some content around job hunts and also about being a MOM with cancer. In early August, we went on a big trip to Disney (work for parents lol). Also in August, I signed up for the clinical trial and got the drug. Being on a stage 4 drug to see if it could help "early stagers" means that no matter what, my body is not yet back to "normal" - my blood counts are low and there are other effects of this trial plus the Lupron shot plus the hormone suppression pill.
Then, it was September and my dad had to get emergency heart surgery, which meant that I had to step up and do what I could to help him. I did not do as much as one sibling but I was the force behind the scenes and on the scene, too, when my dad would not wake up and I had to fight and be in the doctors and nurses faces to figure out what was going on.
Then, when he was released he came to stay at my house, which meant I was taking care of him - bringing him to doctors, helping him adjust to his new reality and more. It was tough as I had just completed treatments in July and here it was October and I had my dad staying with me and was helping him get better.
During this time, I met with the alternative medicine doctor at Sloan and learned that I needed to lose weight. I began a big fitness and dietary change and eventually dropped down to my high school weight. I also made plans and went away without my kids and also learned to be Lisa and not just "mom".
Before I knew it, I wrote and self published the children's book and began to promote it to give it away for free. I launched more content and wrote for other websites all about my story and also signed up to be a model for Behind the Scars and to be a
Goddess and also had personal photos done with my family.
Throughout this time, I worked hard to find work or to get organized to manage my budget and get things straight. I continue to do that but without the stress - as I have to realize and recognize that the past (almost) 17 months has been insanely busy.
In writing this down, I guess I have to admit that it does make sense that I would be tired. I have done a lot and I continue to push myself within kinder limits to enjoy life, to be present in the moment more and to forgo worry and fear as much as humanly possible.
This is what I do in the time between....
I faced cancer the way I have faced other traumatic issues in my life - with a strong attitude that hid my fears and shored up my defenses from anyone or anything upsetting me or getting into my walls.
You know, I read a book recently that had a main character talking about how bad things happened and then it would mean the rest of their life should be "clear sailing" because they used up all the bad stuff... This made me jump a little because yes, I have had some things happen in my life before I hit like 33 that you think would have used up all of my "bad luck".
Again, I do not really believe in "luck" - I believe we make our own luck and one thing I definitely believe now, post breast cancer, is that we can work on manifesting the positive, the good or at least put a spotlight on it and obscure the rest.
When people told me, during my cancer diagnosis and treatments, that I was "brave", I wanted to punch them. I did not have a choice but to do what I was told to do by my doctors. Instead, I settled on being "tough" but now I think it goes beyond that and goes into being "bravura" which is more "cleverness" and "skill" than brave.
At first, when I started building out this website from the blog to include the children's book and the career after cancer initiative, it crossed my mind, "Why am I doing this - what if I die?" - so even though I am so "positive", I do still sometimes succumb to the fear.
The way I manage it is to keep moving forward and to keep thinking about how I can help others with my perspective, my passion and my experiences. Cancer does not define me but it did put a lot of things into focus for me that used to be unclear. I know now what I want to do with the time I have left and that is to help others and to enjoy my life, my kids and my husband, family and friends.
I am not doing this to be "famous" - in fact, I think that would suck (though I would LOVE to be able to "swipe up" in my Instagram stories so if I could get to 20k followers there, that would be great - ha). I just want to keep pushing my bravura and keep myself focused on how to help others in anyway I can while enjoying life and all it has to offer.
This is what I do in the time between...
I launched my first free webinar today sharing a little bit about how I plan on helping YOU (yes you) get back to whatever it is your "new" normal is - I have been sharing more and more via other websites about what it means to pick up the pieces after cancer drops a nuke in your life to figure out how to get "work ready" again and one piece I am really proud of is this one that I wrote for What Next Cancer's Blog which has been shared over 200 times already - help me share it more by clicking here ->
What I love about that post, besides the prose and my turns of phrases (seriously, I was ON FIRE) but also that it has been updated to include a link directly to the webinar I worked on and launched yesterday.
Let me tell you about the webinar filming - I had aspirations to go into NYC and use my available office space to film it and be "uber professional" BUT life got in the way. I have been being kinder to myself and trying to give myself time to recoup and heal in so many more ways than just being restful and mindful of my new abilities and such.
So instead of being all high powered Lisa, I used my kids' playroom to film and my dog made an appearance but everything flowed the way I wanted it to and I was proud of it despite it not being "100% corporate level" because that is not me - I am more laid back and personable and just ME. Like, I can help but I do not want to be "this is my business model" because it is not. It is just me trying to help others in a way I know how by saying, honestly, hey, I do not know how to accomplish this yet EITHER but I do know a lot of stuff about it because I used to be an "expert" and this is what I DO know.
I am embedding the video of the webinar playback below and will also update my main page on #careeraftercancer with it to help people be able to view it without having to login, etc.
This is what I do in the time between...
I want to focus my upcoming #careeraftercancer seminar on the following 3 conversation points (and please read this post to the end for a special request...):
When I think of my “plot twist” of cancer and the different ways it impacted my family, my health, my brain and then way at the bottom of the list is how it impacted me professionally. For some of us though, that professional impact rates higher - I am lucky enough to have made my budget work despite getting laid off from my job the day after my last chemotherapy treatment.
It was in being laid off for the next school year that I finally realized that to this place, I was just a number. I was someone who could easily be replaced and if I were to have (God forbid) dropped dead, the same thing would have happened, obviously. However, seeing it done though I was still alive and kicking and so looking forward to kind of vindicating my name and being my kick ass self the following school year, I finally collapsed in upon myself - all of my bravado, my smiles, my energy that I pulled from goodness knows where to work full time during chemo was usurped, gone and I had to go sick to recover.
Having the time to rest and recover was paramount and I am lucky that I had insurance through my husband and that I could “afford” to be home (I put “afford” in quotes because it is tough and our budget does not have much room for anything) but I digress.
Chemotherapy and just you know, cancer, did a number on my professional abilities and it took until recently for me to even feel as though I could “present” on something. Ok, you guys, I am a presenter - it is kind of what I do and who I am - I began talking in front of strange large groups in college (speech and debate team captain, for the win) - well, actually, I began talking in the womb. My younger brother is only 23 months younger than me and he did not speak until he was about 4-5 years old at which point, we were taking him to specialists and such and when he finally began to talk, everyone wanted to know why it took him so long and he used to say, “I didn’t have to talk - my sister spoke FOR me.”
Well, anyway, after speaking in college, I then became an adjunct professor in 2003 which meant that I could get up and say anything in front of anyone. Just to complete the trifecta, I then became a small business owner where presenting my skills and talents and abilities became even MORE of a thing.
Now, I feel “readier” - like, I still am not 100% “with it” the way I used to be - I can feel that and I also know that I must be kinder to myself and assume that along with the new normal of thinking every fucking headache is cancer that I also must recognize that this is where I am. Even still, though, as “diminished” as I personally feel my capacity is, I can bring something to the table in the form of help to those who do not have the years of experience I do and are feeling lost and unsure of what to do with their careers.
It is a privilege to even think in terms of career though and I know it - many of our sisters and brothers who get cancer cannot spend time looking for the job for them or even risking taking time off of the jobs that they do have as there is no safety net for most people. However, I do think this type of webinar and training could be helpful for anyone - even those who do not have any choice in the matter because at the end of the day, not only do our bodies fail us but oftentimes our bosses, colleagues also fail us and we all need a Plan B.
Would you be interested in taking part in my pilot webinar? I plan on doing one on my own to see how it goes then doing one for others as a test to get feedback and to see if it is considered ”launch ready”. Email me at email@example.com to sign up for the pilot / test one! Thank!
I feel sometimes like this blog is focused on the same topics over and over again - not in a bad way just in a way that I do think at times I can be repetitive. The topics I share on are so important and in a way helping other women who are also the 1 in 8 so I am committed to continue sharing.
I am someone who is tenacious and I do not give up easily, if at all. I have fought for many things in my life before I was told “you have cancer” so it was not really that big of a deal to focus and get things done in a way that was like “befitting” my fuck it all attitude.
You see, I am irreverent and funny and sometimes just weird but one thing I am not is overly emotional. I am kind of an ice princess and keep my feelings locked away deep down. Why do I do this? I do not know. It is just the way I am.
Maybe because I have seen some shit. Nothing as bad as maybe others have seen but still, I was an adult way before I was 18. I was, I think, born an adult. So I just forced my way through cancer the way I forced myself through some other life experiences. With my eyes open and cringing all the way while keeping it all close to my chest.
Then, I started sharing my story and a lot of things changed for me. I became more open to my emotions, more involved with my story and my authentic self. I am someone who always has tried to help others in ways big and small and now I find myself wanting to help people in even bigger ways.
One of my biggest flaws (and trust, I have a bunch) is that I want to do EVERYTHING at once. I want to rock out my ideas into full blown execution mode right away and as someone who spent 10+ years as a project manager planning and executing on multi million dollar projects and who is licensed in project management (seriously, there is such a thing - it is called the PMP - Project Management Professional and I have been one since 2004!) I should know better that things like this, initiatives, launch and promotion etc do not happen overnight. So why then am I all over myself to get these ideas and stuff out there like yesterday.
I know I can help people and I know how to do it and why I am doing it but I need to lay off myself on the insane timeline I have in my head. My focus is on rolling out content specifically for our cancer survivor (and thriver) community for building their careers after cancer. This is my big pitch to fulfilling a need that I do not think is quite met yet even with the various resources already in existence. Oh and I will be offering this training for FREE.
Here is why I think I should do this:
1- My experience is more specific in that I have been a career expert, having written books on being entrepreneurial in your job search, career readiness and having provided training, seminars and helping individual clients that the next step in their careers. I have another blog all about careers (check it out at thenextstep1234.com/blog). Oh and it is more specific also because I have been trying to get back into a career post cancer and it is all so recent.
2- I have the platform and technical know how to share my message beyond the written word - I mean, the books I have are all helpful but not really specific around our issues of having new bodies, new hair, new perspectives and needs post cancer. I know how to present and how to teach having been an educator since 2003 - I can break down lessons into easy pieces and launch training via the web using video that feels like one on one help.
3-I can also provide one on one help to really work through the issues of confidence, preparedness and career planning that are so unique to our needs.
That #3 is so important - those topics of confidence, preparedness and career planning are the subtopics of my first webinar - I have created the slides already!
Next, I need to record a test run to see if I really know what I want to say. DO not laugh but I had to re-read the books I wrote because I feel like I am so far removed from what I wrote (even though it was just early 2016 that I wrote and published the books- a lot has happened since then - mainly chemo).
So I am just plugging along and thinking and trying to be kind to myself and my new priorities - I want to be able to still have my “me” time - exercising, resting and recovering while also finding work and building out this outreach capability utilizing my skills and talents to help us all get our career after cancer game on point.
What do you think? For more info, check out my page on this initiative here -> Work Readiness for Cancer Survivors.
The Time Between Is, INC is a 501(c)(3) corporation - help us reach our goals of launching #careeraftercancer
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