How do I get back in the market after several years of illness?

Thursday, October 16th, 2008 - Uncategorized

Paul asks: How do I get back in the market after several years of not working due to illness? I am currently disabled would like to work since my critical thinking skills are still sharp, but physically challenged. I was laid off at previous employer while ill. It took years to get a proper diagnosis for a complicated genetic disease, the literature says 7-11 years is the norm. If you have been through this I would appreciate your feedback. Working from home would be best. Medical benefit coverage is paramount with coverage for pre-existing condition.

In answer:
Paul, you clearly demonstrate the fact that man is made up of mind, body and spirit – and while your body may be challenging you presently, it is your mind and spirit which will both enable you to live a full life and an employed one.

The question now is – what “floats your boat,” and makes your spirit really soar in the world of business? Understanding that and your existing skills/competencies will really help you to define what you could do, and in which environment it is best to do it in: either employed or self employed.

I have to be wholly open here, and say that most corporates would want to know that your health issue is at least stabilised. The open minded ones will recognise the benefits of employing disabled staff – they are more loyal, harder working, and often hence more productive. However, unstable conditions are the employers greatest concern – your question therefore has to be how work capable you are, and what could you do. You need to be really honest in this assessment, and agree it with your doctor – any employer will ask to consult them for a reference/report.

Self employment would offer many opportunities for you. There are a number of SME businesses who still to this day can’t figure out whether they should be deploying IT systems, and if so how. I would do some research with the help of your local Chamber of Commerce to see what the market locally is like, and what they seek.

If you choose the corporate employment market, then I would choose a solutions based approach. Pick around 10 organisations, and do some research on the key issues for them. Then undertake a bit of scenario planning, and rationalise a solution for them with costs/time scales. Then send that in a report format via recorded delivery to the President’s office, with a Cover Letter and including your resume at the back, and see what happens. Any good executive would recognise the sharpness of being able to employ your mind, while accepting the current status of your situation, because they see the opportunity.

I wish you luck in finding a new career, and if ever I can help you, please – just ask.

Good Luck!

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