Thinking about work

Hi - I know this seems a bit early to be thinking about this however… I am expecting to be able to go back to work in January but i do not want to return to my current job. There has been a big merger, many of the orginal management team have been ‘let go’ and loads of people have left. It is all very nasty. In addition i was not enjoying my work and generally growing very disillusioned. Not a good thing if you are teaching teenagers.

i would like to apply for new jobs during the autumn/winter. Has anyone else done this whilst still off sick, any advice of how to present yourself so that future employers do not see you as a huge risk?

Thanks for your help


Sorry, no advice for you. I also am going back to work in January though. My team seem to have moved on and there are huge problems. I’m not looking forward to it. If you get some good advice you will have to share it!
Hope all goes well
Julie X

Hi Julie and Swanie,

like you ladies i will be looking for work for jan and feb time and have many concerns, especially how to present myself… wig or sinead o’connor look? i recently went to my local macmillon centre and they were very helpful by giving me info from Cancerbackup- an organisation giving advice for cancer ‘people’. there is also the website which has all the info you may need and a helpline number if you wish to tak to anyone. they can also send info out to you.
i know its hard as we all want to put this experiance far away ang get on with life. i am learning to use this time as a rest period as when things get back to normal i am sure i will look back and appreciate this time.

good luck and hope this helps


Hi everyone

Can you share your thoughts and experiences about work? I’m trying to work full time throughout my treatment and sometimes It’s difficult with being tired, sore and not really with my mind on the job. Have you all decided to stop work during your treatment or as Swainie alluded to, are you teachers so don’t have to work at the moment due to holidays?

I know everyone tells me we are all different and do what your body tells you but there seems to be so much pressure on going back to work I feel it’s just something I must do.

Thanks for your help


Glad to see these postings about returning to work as although i am due to start 4 weeks of radiotherapy next week i am intending to return to work whilst undergoing these sessions. My worry is that my manager is intent that i return part time doing maybe 5 hrs a week whilst i always worked full time there i was hoping to return for at least 20 hrs a week till i felt strong enough to do full time. Has anyone found a way of finding out whether we can insist on the hours we do? Also i want to return to my previous position which was managing a hostel as the person who has been covering for me has got very comfortable in my position can i insist on getting my previous position back or do i have to accept the alternatives being offerred which i am not happy about? Would really appreciate knowing where we stand after fighting the bigest battle of our lives you expect a bit of respect and understanding on your decision to return to work

Does your company have a link to occupational health? I went back to work 9.30 to 3.30 or so for about three months. I think it depends on the nature of the work how much you can do. five hours a week seems a bit light to me. Few employers really know much about health issues. They were worried when I returned to work after surgery but I was fine. I worked through radiotherapy too. Legally you are covered by the Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Act 2005 - which extended the definition of disability to cover cancer. It’s only recently come into force but employers should make reasonable adjustments to enable you to do your job. If you want to return to your old job and feel you can do so go for it - that’s what I did.



Good to hear from all you ladies. If I return to my old job I will have to go through occupational health, they may suggest a staged return i.e. start p/t then gradually build up to f/t - this may be what your employer wants to do for you Mounties (p.s. Mounties - hope all is still going well for you, you sounded very happy last post I saw from you). It is surprising how tired you can feel when you go back - just having to deal with so many more people can be shock to the system. I work at a landbased industries college (animals, agriculture, hortic etc.) and handle a lot of animals so infection, bites, kicks and pulled muscles are a big issue for me, hence no work from surgery onwards.

Really my main concern is applying for new jobs - will anyone want to touch me with a barge pole after so much sick leave? It is tricky, thinking maybe grit my teeth go back and apply from a position of being in employment. Oh well I have a while to go yet before having to make a decision.

Thanks for your input - hope everyone’s treatment goes well and life gets back on an even keel for you all.

Love Swanie

Thank you for your helpful comments. I work for a small chariy that provides respite care for people recovering from mental illness, so sadly there is no occ health people i can turn to for advice. The charity i work for has already made it clear that i am to do one to one work on my return even though i want to return to the hostel where i previoulsy worked on my own in a job i loved. Can i actually insist on being given my old position back? I have a meeting thisfriday with my manager who has had as little contact with me since my dx as possible and thinks bc is walk in the park, so think i am up against a few obtaclrs before i even attend this meeting. Would really apprecite knowing of anywhere anybody can suggest i could try for further advice before friday? Thank you swanie for your comments my husband and i feel like we have fallen in love all over again and life is very good, hope things are eqally as good for you and best of luck for a long healthy and happy life to you. Christina xxxx

I’m too attempting to continuing to work through my treatment.I’ve just had second session of chemo with 2 more to go before staring second/oral arm of trial that I’m on.Work is hard -I work for local government and sometimes the hours can be long-I;m in the process of being referred to occy health and will then attempt to negotiate shorter hours when I feel the need.Moles right about the DDA act which now includes cancer as a disability and should make it easier for people to make the necessary adjustments to return to work.

Even though they are a small organisation they should be aware of the law and they could buy in occupational health input on an ad hoc basis. It’s a bit much that they work in the mental health field but don’t know about employment acts etc. Get them moving. Unless they can show you can’t do the hostel job how can they decide to take you off it??


Hi Ladies,

I work in Recruitment/Human Resource and spoke to one of our HR Directors so this is for all of you, particularly Mounties:

  1. The Company can’t insist on what hours she do. I fully agree that they should support her in her doing less hours until she feels strong enough to work full time, but they can’t insist that she only does 5 hours. if she wants to do 20 hours, great. Let her do it. If she feels that this is too much, then reduce it. but they can’t insist on what she does. If they have an occ health dept, then they should get her in to see the Company doc an go on his advice.

  2. She has to go back to her own job. Fair enough someone may have to help while she is off, but that person should be put in on a secondment, and the person’s job should be kept open. I only hope that she isn’t pushing herself to go back for 20 hours if she feels she has to because she feels threatened by this other person. It’s very insensitive on the employers part if they are saying that the person who’s battling cancer doesn’t have a job to go back to. If she wants to check her rights about this, she could call ACAS 08457 474747, but I think she’ll find that the Company can’t do that.

Hope this helps…

Love Lynne.xx

Hi Ladies

I am in awe of your knowledge - this is the great thing about this forum there is always someone who has some expert knowledge or knows where to go.

I feel armed for my Occ. Health encounter, and knowing that BC can be veiwed as a disabilty rather than just ‘being sick’ I fell more confident about looking for other work should the right job turn up.

Thanks again Swanie - goodluck to you in your future endeavours