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Career exploration


Many Canadians are living with cancer and have distinctive vocational needs as a result. After experiencing cancer, there are many factors that could affect a career decision. For example, some people may experience physical and/or cognitive changes due to side effects of surgery, medication, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. During and after cancer treatment, they may have different priorities and values in their life that impact vocational goals. Career planning is an essential step to finding a suitable occupation and preparing for the demands of the workforce. This process involves identifying and addressing health-related, personal, psychological, social and occupational obstacles to employment.

“Career development is about growing through life and work; about learning, experiencing, living, working and changing; about creating and discovering pathways through one’s life and work.” (The Blueprint for Life/Work Designs)
Career exploration can help your patient plan a realistic career path, prepare for the workforce, select a suitable educational program, and learn about labour market demands.

Here are 3 steps to help your patient move towards building a realistic career path. Click on each step for more information on helping your patient build a career path:

You may want to read through the steps so that you can help your patient explore a career change. Before discussing career change, however, you and your patient may want to evaluate all the possibilities for remaining with the current employer.

Is career change the right choice for your patient?

Before changing a career path, it is important to evaluate all the potential possibilities with the patient’s current employer (if they are currently employed). Please refer to the accommodation section if your patient is considering whether or not to return to their previous employer.

For instance, the patient may want to consider whether accommodations can be made that will make their present job do-able, or whether they can use their existing skills in a different position in the same organization. You may want to refer your patient to a vocational rehabilitation counsellor in your region if they need further assistance with this topic.