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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Help! I've Been Sick and Unemployed for 10 Years

Dear Evil HR Lady,

How do I address and what do I say to employers about being unemployed for the last 10 years due to medical issues and hospitalizations?

It's not something I want to talk about, but I can see where I would not consider or hire a person who would not want to tell me what they've been doing for the past 10 years.

Help! I've Been Sick and Unemployed for 10 Years

photo by Foxtongue, Flickr cc 2.0


Anonymous said...

I'd like to add: It's not dishonest to simply say, "I've been taking care of a family member who was seriously ill. Thankfully, that's resolved now. I'm so eager to return to the workforce and put my energies into this job."

People don't get credit for taking care of themselves. This casts you as caretaker (as you were) and sidesteps any inquiry into your illness. There is no reason to get into the fact that the ill family member was you. None.

El Comodoro said...

Have to disagree, Anon 3:14. Lying is "communication made with the intent to deceive."

The reasonable person takes "a family member" to mean just that. Twisting the meaning is shady. And unnecessary.

God forbid, when your cancer comes back in two years, and you say, "This is horrible news. I was in remission when I got this job, and thought I had beat it. I already spent 10 years of my life fighting." All at once, you're the slippery, "definition of 'is', is" gal.

And for what? Whatever scruples you may have, it's just not necessary to fib.

KellyK said...

I think El Comodoro is's dishonest, and it has every possibility of coming back to bite you.

Charles said...

El Comodoro and KellyK - not only is it dishonest; but I don't think that it is a better solution. If someone takes off from work to care for a "family" member what will prevent them from doing so for another or all family members? It is always best to be honest.

And yes, it does suck. I know this from personal experience. I was out of work for a long time due to an injury (not my fault, nor was it risky behaviour on my part) I used to leave the gap in my resume and explain it when I was asked during interviews; after a dozen or so interviews in which I would explain that the gap was due to an injury and that I am willing, able, and ready to get back to work the interviews would all end. I would never hear from that hiring manager again. I now send out my resume with that gap explained - I get a lot less calls, but at least I know that if they do call me that the gap and the reason for it are not a issue.

Anonymous said...

I'm certain Himmler HR Lady would assure you that it is a Darwinian world out there and if you can't hack it, then that's your problem. If you must go homeless, then too bad. If you starve, then too bad.
Just as Himmler was originally a chicken farmer, so Himmler HR Lady knows that you are just another chicken to be culled for the KFC fryer.
Bin Laden has more compassion than Himmler HR Lady, so consider conversion to Islam. The alms provided to the Holy Mosque can provide you with the compassionate assistance you need.

Allahu Akbar!