How To Return To Work When You Have Health Issues

Dear J.T. & Dale: My issue is that I am oxygen-dependent due to an illness, which only recently became manageable enough to allow me to return to work. When I appear for an interview, I bring a ready-made excuse for an employer to pass on me: an oxygen tank and cannula. I'm a paralegal, and have kept up on my continuing legal education credits, but attorneys are so risk-averse that they won't take a chance on me. - Kate J.T.: I see four options:

1. "Lily-pad" your way into the job you want, meaning that you may have to take a job below the one you aspire to - say, an administrative position - as a way back into the field. From there, you can soon move up.


2. Reach out to temp agencies in your area and see if they can get you an assignment. This is a chance to demonstrate your capabilities.

3. Do freelance work. Sites like Elance.com offer you ways to bid on projects of all types, and this would allow you to add new contacts and recent experience.

4. Consider starting your own consulting business.

DALE: What those solutions have in common is minimizing risk for the employer. In fact, in three out of the four, you wouldn't be an employee of the law firm - eliminating the worry about long-term health issues. Once you are inside, you can demonstrate your skills while your co-workers get comfortable with seeing the medical equipment, all of which will make hiring you an easy decision. That's always the goal: Be the one who's easiest to hire. However, even as you pursue some or all of J.T.'s options, I wouldn't give up on the idea of straight-out landing a full-time position. Yes, employers will be nervous about committing to you, and who can blame them - the worst outcome when hiring is to take on new-employee problems. This means you'll need someone to take a chance on you, someone to be a hero in your career story. Don't be afraid to ask for a hero, then minimize the risk by agreeing to an extended probation. Give someone a chance to take a chance on you. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less