With the New Year upon us and my health now stabilised following surgery last year, I’m thinking about returning to work. I got out my CV recently to bring it up to date but there are a few gaps in it which will take some explaining.
I first entered the workforce thirty years ago, full of enthusiasm and ready to take on the world. Since then my career path has veered a bit off-course but I reckon I’ve got some damn good statistics to show for it. I did the figures today.
Since leaving school I’ve been admitted to hospital 42 times (approx), not counting day surgery or days spent in A&E. Some of these stays were for lengthy periods, 12 were emergency admissions and I’ve arrived by ambulance on three occasions.
I’ve undergone 30 surgical operations under general anaesthetic, again not counting day surgery and I’ve been the sole candidate on the operating list three times due to the extent of surgery.
I’ve had 2 post-operative haemorrhages, one requiring a transfusion and the other necessitated an emergency return to the operating theatre.
I’ve had 9 separate admissions to hospital for intra-venous treatment with a combination of antibiotics. The longest period on continuous I.V. treatment was 4 weeks and that was spent in an MRSA isolation unit.
And that’s just my in-patient record. Otherwise, I’m in fine fettle 😀
What do you think I should say at interview presuming I get that far, when I’m asked to explain the gaps?
Unless you are applying to be an astronaut you shouldn’t have to explain them at all! Nobodies business but yours 😉 Best of luck in the job search!
Jeez, remind me never to ask ‘how are you’ at dinner parties! Leave it all out of your CV. If anyone asks about your in between periods, just say you were dedicating yourself to your family or participating in medical research (Caiomhin is absolutely right – nobody’s business but your own). Anyway, if you took sick leave during any of these absences, you were technically employed all the time . . .but you are a freak (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) or the world’s unluckiest person yet you still remain cheeful bless yer cotton sox. Here’s hoping the drama is over for a while. Poor thing, don’t know whether to hug you or just shake your hand in case you break. I’ll blow a virtual kiss. . .no harm done there! XX
Um, you’re not formally qualified to do anything medicinal are you? Patient counselling perhaps? You’d be a natural!
Steph I’D say go for Mary Harney’s job! You know more about the Health Service than she ever will.
My goodness! You really have been through it Steph, I do admire you. I keep meaning to ask, do you know what type of EDS you have?
I don’t have any advice to explain the gaps in your CV I’m afraid, mine has more gaps than anything else. What do you do? If you don’t mind saying on the blog that is. I hope you get whatever you go for anyway, I’m sure you’d be a great asset, the thing about all this medical malarkey is that it gives us all sorts of skills we wouldn’t otherwise have. BG x
Wow, you’re amazing that you could withstand all that!
Respect to you. Steph, that’s a helluva record you’ve set there. Just glad to know that you’re well enough to be job hunting – may it all go well and may you find a job that brings you pleasure and satisfies you’re needs.
You could say you’ve been doing some clinical research, or developing your creative writing skills!
All the best with it and Happy New Year!
Thanks everyone for your support. You needn’t worry, I’ve no intention of putting my medical history into the CV, no matter how impressive it looks! That’s the core of my dilemma really.
Caoimhin is right – I shouldn’t have to explain myself to anyone at interview but as you can see from the above history – if I don’t – I’m forced to leave out large portions of my life. As Bendygirl has correctly identified, I’ve more gaps than anything else in my CV and this really needs a plausible explanation. I’m not ashamed of those gaps – if anything I’m proud to have got through all that’s been thrown at me – but my health record is hardly something a future employer will want to hear about. Again as Bendy says, adversity helps you develop skills you wouldn’t otherwise have and I’d like to be able to elaborate on this without sending them running.
Grannymar, thanks for the vote of confidence but I think I’ll leave Mary Harney to continue to take the flak. I did hear recently that she’s appointed several patient representatives onto a panel to advise her but you’d have to ask, when did she ever listen to anyone?
Rhea, I don’t think I’m in the least bit amazing but thanks for thinking it anyway!
AV, I surprised myself when I did the figures. I’m not a bit proud of my health record and I hope I don’t appear to be bragging about it. You have quite rightly spotted that I lack fulfilment in my life and I intend to find it!
Baino, I’m still laughing at your dinner party joke. I learnt long ago that people generally only ever want to hear “I’m well”, by way of response. I never talk about my health problems unless I’m specifically asked. In fact, many of my friends (and some of my family!) would be amazed to read of my health record here. You and Mousie (thanks Mousie!) are on the ball as regards my interests and so-called career. Having failed (physically) to make the grade as a Physio, I’ve worked mainly in medical research, both at the coalface and behind the scenes. I’ve recently done some post-grad training in psycho-oncology but thanks to repeated medical disruptions, I’ve not managed to get the sort of qualifications needed to open doors. Frankly, I think that life teaches us more than any qualification can offer but I still need to find a way to be able to prove my metal. And as I’m no spring chicken, I’ve no time to waste.
Anyone any more ideas? 💡
It depends on what kind of gaps there are on your CV ye know? For instance if had been only working a couple of weeks here and there they may be inclined to ask more questions than say if you had been working for a particular company for a lengthily period. They will only look at two references so try pick two people that a) you parted on good terms with b) you may still be in touch with and c) somebody reliable, basically use two companies you got on best in. As for the gaps, that my dear is simple, “ Well Mr HR Manager, I was the primary care giver at home and was busy rearing my children (you could always stick “and elderly mother/father in here if you are feeling adventures) whenever I got an opportunity I worked TEMPING” If nobody interrupts you or if they ask why are you returning to work now follow up with, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time working outside the home and now that my family is reared I am eager to get back out there”. Whilst I am not a HR manager myself I have sat in on numerous interviews and I can tell you honestly that the most sought after employee profile in town is a woman returning to the work force, you get no shit from them, come in, do the job and go, no mess, no fuss. The most importing thing is knowing the company well and presenting yourself well, everything else you can swindle 😉 . You know where I am if you want specific interview questions answered.
Good luck with the job hunt pet!!
Nonny – you’re an absolute treasure! Having read your advice, I’m feeling at least 2ft taller and ready to take on any HR manager! As regards knowing the company, I’ve always worked in the medical sphere so if I orientate back in that direction again, I’ll have plenty of insider knowledge 😉
Just remember, if you go to an interview and you get a bad reaction or feel uncomfortable (aside from a little bit nervous) it would be a shite company to work for anyway, really though if they are doorknobs in the interview can you imagine what they be like when you get to know them. You’ll be fabulous don’t worry just make sure you do something that you want to do.
Cheers! Nonny – I’m now feeling 10ft tall. All that’s missing is an interview 😀
Maybe it’s best just to tell them that you had to take a lot of time off due to medical issues? Be up front about it? I see what you mean though, that’s not exactly something a potential employer wants to hear about. Nonny said some good stuff. Now go out there and get some interviews! Good luck!
Thanks! BaliWhat – maybe if I used this blog as a CV someone might give me a job 😉
Anyone offering? 😀
[…] longer holds any drama for me. Only those who need to know are informed. I know that if I showed my hospital CV to some of my family and friends, they would be astounded. That’s another lesson illness has […]