Changing jobs

A cancer diagnosis may make you reconsider your career goals and work values. For some people, returning to the same job may not be possible due to changes in ability or length of time away. You may decide changing jobs is an opportunity for a fresh start. The desire to reduce work-related stress or seek more meaningful work may also be a motivating factor to change jobs.

Learn more about:


Finding a new job

Before looking for a new position, you may want to consider:

  • Does my illness mean I need to look for a new line of work?
  • What abilities, skills and experience can I offer a new employer?
  • Will I need to update my skills or education?
  • Is there a market for someone with my skills in my chosen field?
  • Would I be happy with a lower-level position or fewer hours?
  • Can I afford to live on a lower salary?
  • How would I manage the stress of a change in employment?
  • Does my confidence need a boost?
  • Will I need more support (e.g. new equipment or extra breaks)?
  • How many hours a week am I able to work?
  • Will I need to tell a potential or new employer about my cancer treatment?

Think about different ways of working, such as job-sharing, volunteering, self-employment, part-time or agency work. Discuss your options with co-workers and referees who are familiar with your work and can be honest about your skills. You could also talk with a career counsellor, our Legal, Financial and Workplace Referral Services on 13 11 20, or a JobAccess adviser on 1800 464 800.


Preparing for an interview

  • Consider seeing a career counsellor or social worker to practise some job interviews. They can help you identify your strengths, skills and abilities.
  • Think about what you may say if asked about a gap in your résumé (CV). Some people write “career break” rather than leaving the gap unexplained.
  • Keep explanations general and straightforward – don’t tell a longwinded story. You might want to say that you took some time off for personal reasons.
  • If you are asked a direct question about your health history, consider answering: “I had a health or family issue, but it’s resolved now”, “I have no health problems that would affect me performing this job” or “I have medical clearance to perform this type of work”.
  • If you have an obvious physical impairment, consider letting the interview panel know how you are able to perform the specific job responsibilities.
  • Being up-front with your employer can make it easier to negotiate any necessary modifications to the workplace or time off for medical appointments.
  • If you don’t get the job and you believe it is because of the cancer diagnosis and treatment, you can complain to the employer, the discrimination agency in your state or territory, the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Fair Work Ombudsman. However, these types of complaints are often unsuccessful as it’s hard to prove why you weren’t hired.

   — Jodie


Telling a potential employer

While you may want to tell a potential employer that you have had cancer, you don’t have to unless it may impact on your ability to do the job. You only need to let the employer know about:

  • anything that may affect your ability to perform tasks that are an essential part of the job, e.g. if you can lift heavy boxes or drive a car
  • any health and safety risks for yourself or others
  • any adjustments you may need to help you do your job, e.g. ergonomic tools or a height-adjustable bench.

There will probably be a gap in your résumé (CV) if you did not work during cancer treatment. Be prepared for a potential employer to bring this up. It’s common for people to have breaks in their employment history because of travel, having children or other personal reasons, so the employer may not ask about it. Your employer does not need to know details about your personal life unless it is relevant to the job.


Other options

If you are unable to return to your previous job after treatment:

  • you may be able to attend a rehabilitation or retraining program to prepare you for another job
  • you may be eligible for a payout if you have disability insurance or income protection insurance
  • you may consider retiring 
  • you may be able to get support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if your disability is permanent and significant; for more information, call 1800 800 110
  • contact Centrelink on 132 717 to see if you are eligible for the Disability Support Pension or other payment.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on cancer, work and you


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in November 2019
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