Returning to work

You don’t legally have to disclose your health history to a new employer, as long as you have truthfully answered all screening questions and you are confident in your ability to carry out the duties of the role you have applied for.

However, you may choose to disclose your health history to potential new employers, either to help explain gaps in your CV while you took time off for treatment, or just because you want to share how your blood cancer or condition has impacted your life as a survivor.

Talking about your health history

Having a blood cancer or condition may change your perspective on how you see the world.   When facing considerable health issues, it might feel as though you are stalling or taking a step backwards in your career. However, valuable life skills can be attained through all of life’s adverse experiences.

Below are some key skills you might want to think about highlighting to a prospective new employer if they ring true to your experience.

  • Resilience – the ability to bounce back from difficult situations.
  • Strength of character – inner strength that’s helped you overcome emotional and physical pain.
  • Confidence and persistence – to ask questions and investigate options.
  • Time management and perspective – making the most of time in any situation.
  • Life perspective – little things don’t matter anymore.
  • Relationship management skills – as life priorities become clearer, it becomes easier to build relationships with people.
  • Mindfulness – living in the moment and applying a positive attitude towards life.
  • Kindness – the attitude that everyone is going through something, so it’s important to be kind.
  • Organisational skills – to keep up with appointments and treatment schedules.
  • Self-care – to ensure you are looking after yourself.

Watch our video for advice on returning to work

Naomi McRae is an HR specialist at PwC New Zealand and a blood cancer survivor.