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, some may wish to disclose to potential new employers to help explain gaps in their CV while they took time off for treatment or just because they wanted to share how their blood cancer or condition has impacted their 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. Many patients will go through grueling medical procedures and treatment and there are certain skills you learn or further develop out of going through a health crisis.

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 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 be kind
  • Organisational skills – to keep up with appointments and treatment schedules
  • Self care – to ensure you are looking after yourself so you can enjoy life

Watch our video for advice on returning to work

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