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- Cancer, work and you
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- Self-employment and cancer
- Telling clients about the cancer
Telling clients about the cancer
You do not have to let your clients know you have cancer. Your instinct might be to hide the news of your diagnosis, but if you want to talk about it, you should decide who to tell and what to say. Let your clients know how your business will continue to meet ongoing commitments. Some people choose to tell only established clients.
Talking to your clients
- Be direct and explain what you know. For example, tell them your work hours and how to contact you. During treatment, you may want to suggest clients email you or make a time to talk.
- Communicate your abilities and emphasise your strengths with statements such as, “My hours may change, but the project will be under control and completed on time.”
- Try to keep a professional relationship with your client. You may not want to share any fears or insecurities.
- Think about alternative or flexible ways of working that could suit both your needs.
- If you have physical side effects such as hair loss, you may want to postpone meeting face-to-face. Use technology, such as email or conference calling, to stay in touch. If you have told the client about the cancer, you may feel comfortable with a face-to-face meeting.
- Be prepared for a range of reactions if you tell a client about your health. Some people will be compassionate; others may be more aloof.
- Some clients may choose to work with someone else.
- Consider subcontracting out some work. You could refer some of your clients to another business you trust, if you don’t think you will be able to meet your clients’ needs.
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Brooke Russell, Principal Occupational Therapist, WA Cancer Occupational Therapy, WA; Bianca Alessi, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Prunella Blinman, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; James Chirgwin, Physiotherapist, The Wesley Hospital, QLD; Danielle Curnoe, Consumer; Simon Gates, Barrister, Tasmanian Bar, TAS; Justin Hargreaves, Medical Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Bendigo Health Cancer Centre, VIC; Kaylene Jacques, Director, People and Communications, Cancer Council NSW; Alex Kelly, Senior People Attraction Advisor, Human Resources, Allianz Australia Insurance, NSW; Legal reviewer; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health, VIC; Lesley McQuire, Consumer, Cancer Voices NSW.
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