Going back to work

Work is an important part of life for many people and not just a way to earn an income. It provides satisfaction and a chance to socialise. Returning to work may be one way to make your life feel normal again.

You are the best judge of when to return to work. This will be different for everyone and will depend on how you feel. It may help to go back for short periods of time and build up as you feel better. You may be anxious to prove that your skills have not been affected by your illness. Try to pace yourself so you don’t get too tired. Consider talking to your employer about working part time, job sharing or working from home.

You might find that relationships with co-workers change when you return to work. Like your family/whānau and friends, your colleagues may be unsure of what to say or try to protect your feelings. Some people with cancer have found that being open about their condition eases relationships with co-workers.

If treatment has made it impossible to return to work, look into rehabilitation and retraining programmes that can prepare you for another job. Work and Income provides financial assistance and employment services throughout New Zealand. Contact them on 0800 559 009.

“After the treatment I couldn’t wait to get back to work. I wanted to return to something normal. I went back part time and that helped take my mind off things.” Bob

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