At What Age Did You Start Dating Seriously – And How Did You Balance It With Academics and Career?

at what age did you start dating seriously - and how did you balance your love life and your career

So here’s a little question for you guys: at what age did you start dating seriously? Would you say you’ve been permanently single, or that you’ve dated person after person in pretty quick succession? If you’ve always been partnered, what tips do you have for balancing academics and career with your love life? As I’ve talked about before, I didn’t really start dating seriously until my late 20s when I definitely had a marriage mindset, and I’ve always felt like a weirdo because of that — but over the years I’ve heard so many stories (mostly from the comments section here) about how a ton of people were like me and late daters. I recently heard about a survey from the mid-90s that found that most female grads from my college (Northwestern) had “never had a serious relationship” by graduation — and thought, hmmn, maybe I’m not such a weirdo after all, at least among women who have been really focused on academics and career. 

So let’s discuss! At what age did you start dating seriously — and how have you balanced dating life with academics, career, and more?

For my own $ .02 – I definitely had crushes and went on sporadic dates here and there in my 20s — but if it’s possible I think I watched too many romantic comedies to have a really solid view of what dating was supposed to be. In my youth, I had the naive idea that dating would lead to marriage, and I wasn’t ready to be married, so the second a guy annoyed me I would stop flirting because ugh, who wants to be married to a guy who annoys me. (Plus, hello, I had college and law school and my career to think about, and, I thought, who has time for relationship drama when you’re focused on all of those bigger things!) I also had the naive idea that one day, clouds would part, there would be some adorable meet-cute moment, and everything would click and I would be inseparable from my other half from that moment forward. Which isn’t to say that I don’t think love should be easy — my husband and I have always had a very easy relationship, thankfully — but let’s face it, the romcom movie idea of love is a bit oversimplified and more all-encompassing. (That said: there are still some great fashion movies that are also romcoms — and I’m basically reading brain candy books that are romcoms, so obviously old habits die hard.) 

SO: that romcom attitude didn’t quite work out, and at a certain point I decided I needed to nudge the universe along by doing some serious Internet dating, in part because I wanted kids. I approached it in true geek fashion and read books about finding time to date when you’re super busy, signed up for the nerdiest Internet dating sites, and eventually joined some brainy charitable groups (like the under-40 groups for the New York Public Library). I didn’t really get any “hits” through all that, per se — I met some nice guys but not MY guy — and learned to cut my losses as soon as I rolled my eyes at my dates. I’m thankful I did it because I do think it prepared me for meeting my husband (at a friend’s birthday party, at a bar), because all of those dud-dates helped me appreciate the chemistry and comfort I felt with him immediately.

So: I’m a weirdo, but a lucky one. But I have been fascinated to hear over the years how MANY women — particularly women who have done good in school and moved around for different degrees — just haven’t focused on dating until they’re far older than the romcoms and women’s magazines would have you believe is appropriate. So I thought it would be an interesting question to discuss: at what age did you start dating or seriously looking for a partner? If you dated during school, did you have to juggle your academics and your social life? What advice would you have for younger women who might be feeling like a weirdo, or feeling like it’s “too late” to start dating?

Stock photo via Stencil.

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Lauren London And Nipsey Hussle Discuss Their “Building” Love Story & London Sacrificing Her Career For Her Child

Lauren London and Nipsey Hussle GQ Shoot

Source: Awol Erizku / GQ

Last month, Lauren London and Nipsey Hustle had folks scratching their heads wondering if the two had gotten engaged. But the photos that leaked actually came from another place. They were behind the scenes images from the couple’s beautiful photo shoot and piece for GQ.

The couple traveled Slauson Avenue, a Black neighborhood in Crenshaw California—sometimes on a White horseback documenting their flyness and their coupledom.

London and Hussle were photographed by Awok Erizku, the same photographer who captured Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement and the reveal of her twins, shortly after they were born. The photo went on to become the most liked photo on Instagram.

Erizku’s other popular works include Girl With a Bamboo Earring (2009).

In the accompanying article, the two talk about how they met on Instagram when, in 2013, London was attempting to buy Hussle’s $ 100 album as a wrap gift for her castmates on “The Game.” After she secured the copies, she followed him. Hussle said, “You know what that means, right?!” He took it as a sign of her interest and he slid into her DMs.

In the article the couple, who are parents to a son named Kross, dispelled engagement rumors to say that they’ve been together for five years and are “building.”

In the piece the two discuss being important to Black culture but not necessarily crossing over to mainstream audiences. For London, in the time when she had the chance to possibly cross over, life happened.

“I auditioned to be Faith Evans in Notorious,” Lauren recalled. “I talked to Faith, Puff, everybody. It just came down that the director didn’t believe me as Faith.” Riding the ups and downs together, they seem to be having fun. But it was one single decision that made them more than just another celebrity couple in Nipsey’s eyes.

“Lauren was handpicked by John Singleton to do Snowfall. She read, got the part, shot the pilot…did stunts…this was her dream role,” Nipsey said. “And then she got pregnant with our son. That was a really hard decision for her to make. It was the toughest decision of my career by far.”

But ultimately, London said she made the right decision.

“Do I choose my soul or myself?” Lauren said. “I went with my soul.”

Lauren London and Nipsey Hussle

Source: Awok Erizku / Awok Erizku

See what people had to say about the shoot on the following pages.



Career lessons from three female pioneers of unconvention

Sometimes the road to career success isn’t always a smooth one. But, as these three trailblazers prove, you can still achieve your dreams

career lessons

These three female pioneers of unconvention prove that the road to success isn’t always a smooth one…

Ava DuVernay, 46, film director

‘If you’re on a path that’s not the one that you want to be on, you can pivot, and you can also move, and age doesn’t make a difference, [nor does] race, gender.’

The Oscar-nominated director of Selma and A Wrinkle In Time – for which she was the 
first African-American woman to direct a film with a budget over $ 100 million – Ava Duvernay started out interning as a news journalist. She moved into PR, founding her own agency in 1999. It was at the age of 32 that she picked up a camera and started taking directing classes.

Angela Ahrendts, 58, senior VP of retail at Apple

‘At some point in your career, maybe you too have made the life-altering decision to start anew. If so, you know first-hand how exciting, challenging, and sometimes disorienting the first 30, 60, 90 days can be.’

Apple’s senior vice president of retail (and the brand’s highest paid executive), Angela Ahrendts started her career in fashion. From a merchandising role at a lingerie company, she moved to Donna Karan, Liz Claiborne and, most famously, was CEO of Burberry from 2006-2014, where her leadership escalated the firm’s value from £2 billion to over £7 billion.

Whitney Wolfe Herd, 29, founder of Bumble

‘Often, the best jobs come out of just meeting people and letting one thing lead 
to another.’

After a degree in international studies, Wolfe Herd turned down ‘safe’ corporate job offers for a role at a tech incubator funded to make apps. There, she co-founded Tinder, but left in 2014 following sexual-harassment claims. Despite vowing never to go back into online dating, she came up with the idea for female-focused dating app Bumble, which Forbes values at over $ 1 billion.

The post Career lessons from three female pioneers of unconvention appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire


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Five Days After a Crash, Lindsey Vonn Wins Bronze Medal in Final Race of Her Career

(ARE, Sweden) — Lindsey Vonn walked off with her career haul of medals in her right hand, the gold, silver and bronze clinking together almost weighing her down.

Or was it the bulging knee braces and metal support rods inside her vast array of broken bones?

Whatever it was, the sound was a reminder of what Vonn has come to symbolize — an athlete who battled back from one major injury after another throughout her career to win more ski races than any other woman.

Add one more — final — comeback to the list.

Five days after crashing in super-G — a fall that knocked the wind out of her and left her with a black eye and a bruised rib — and three months after tearing a ligament in her left knee, Vonn won the bronze medal in the world championship downhill Sunday in the final race of her career.

She’s shed so many tears that there are none left — just like she no longer has any cartilage in her knees.

“I’m literally tapped out, I can’t cry anymore,” Vonn said. “I want to cry but it’s dry. … It’s not an easy thing to feel your bones hitting together and continue to push through it.

“Of course I’m sore. Even before the crash I was sore. So I’m just sore on top of sore. My neck is killing me,” Vonn said. “But at the end of the day no one cares if my neck hurts; they only care if I win. … I knew that I was capable of pushing through the pain one last time and I did that. … Every athlete has their own obstacles and I faced mine head on today and I conquered them.”

Vonn had been planning on retiring in December but she recently moved up her plans due to persistent pain in both of her surgically repaired knees. Then came the super-G crash, when she straddled a gate in midair, flew face first down the mountain and slammed into the safety nets.

“She has been business as usual this whole week, saying I’m racing to win,” said Karin Kildow, Vonn’s sister. “I was like, ‘Just maybe make it down and maybe stand up.’ But she was like, ‘No, I’m going full out’. She was definitely in the mindset to push it and she really did.”

It’s a medal that brings Vonn full circle: the American’s two silvers at the 2007 worlds on the same course in Are were the first two major championship medals of her career.

“I was weighing in my mind the risk of putting it all out there, crashing and getting injured again, as opposed to finishing where I wanted to,” Vonn said. “It was an internal battle.”

As soon as she exited the finish area, Vonn embraced Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, the only skier to win more World Cup races than she did — 86 to 82.

“I basically begged him to come here via text, in all caps, many exclamation points,” Vonn said. “He’s an icon and a legend in our sport and he doesn’t really like the spotlight but he deserves to have it. I was just so grateful that he was there. Honestly, it’s a perfect ending to my career.”

The third skier on the course, Vonn had a big smile on her face when she came down with the fastest run to that point. She waved and bowed to the crowd.

Eventually, Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia beat Vonn and took gold, defending her title from the 2017 worlds. Stuhec finished 0.23 seconds ahead of silver medalist Corinne Suter of Switzerland and 0.49 ahead of Vonn.

“Not many were counting on (Vonn) to get the medal in her last race, which makes it even more special,” Stuhec said. “She has won everything.”

Vonn became the first female skier to win medals at six different world championships. It’s also her fifth downhill medal at a worlds, matching the record established by Annemarie Moser-Proell and Christel Cranz.

“Thank You Lindsey: Forever A Star,” read one sign positioned by the side of the course.

Four U.S. flags were in the grandstand when Vonn came down and there were quite a few cheers when she started her run wearing a suit with blue-and-yellow trim — Sweden’s colors — to honor Stenmark.

“She really deserves this sendoff from her great career,” said Eleanor Bodin, a 21-year-old fan from Sweden who was holding up a sign saying “Thank You Lindsey.”

“She has been my favorite skier since 2008 when I saw her winning on television,” Bodin said. “I was a little girl sitting on the sofa. I just thought what a great skier and inspiration.”

At 34, Vonn eclipsed her own record from two years ago for oldest woman to win a medal at a worlds.

Fog and wind forced organizers to shorten the course to the second reserve start, which favored Vonn because it reduced the strain on her knees.

Now she can finally let her body heel and move onto the next phase of her life — possibly acting, having children, starting a business .

“I’m looking forward to just chilling out a bit and recovering everything, including my mind,” Vonn said. “It’s been a lot to process.

“The nice thing is that, in the real world I’m actually pretty young. I have felt really old for a long time, because I’m racing with girls that are like 15 years younger than me. So now, in the real world, I’m normal. Thirty is the new 20 so I’m super young. I’ve got a lot to look forward to.”

Sports – TIME


Career Tips for the Shutdown: How To Make the Most of a Furlough

shutdown career tips

I’ve seen a few reader threads about the government shutdown that keeps dragging on… and on… and on… and I thought we might have a little thread with career tips for the shutdown, as well as a general open thread for everyone dealing with the shutdown in general.

I’m obviously not a government worker, so take these with a grain of salt — but here are some quick career tips to help you make the most of the shutdown: 

  • Update your resume.
  • Network! Grab breakfast, lunch, or coffee with former and current coworkers. Now might be a great time to throw a party at your home (potluck/BYOB?) and invite a LOT of former coworkers since everyone might have a lot of time. 
  • Committee it up. If you’re on any professional committees that are “extracurriculars” for you, see what you can get done — plan a conference or speech, write a speaker’s bio, update the committee/organization website, interview a thought leader for your committee newsletter, or more. Here’s our last post with tips for finding and joining professional organizations.
  • Write an article or read an industry-specific book or magazine you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had a chance to. 
  • Get those CLEs in. If you’re a lawyer or in another profession with continuing education requirements, get those CLEs in. (There are a ton of free ones on PLI’s website, and the ABA just started offering free CLEs during the shutdown.)
  • Resistbot the @#$ @#$ out of your representatives.

For those of us who are not government employees, how is the shutdown affecting you? Are you avoiding travel because of TSA agent absences, or avoiding salad purchases because food inspectors aren’t working? Are you doing anything to help workers directly affected by the shutdown, like working with any of the excellent nonprofits mentioned in this CNN article?

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Chinese model claims Dolce & Gabbana almost ruined career

Since November, Dolce & Gabbana has been under fire after producing a controversial commercial that many thought was racist against Chinese people. Now Zuo Ye, the Chinese model who was featured in the campaign, is speaking out for the first since the commercial was published on social media. “I didn’t anticipate that the cooperation with…
Fashion News, Photos, and Video | New York Post


How Have Female Bosses Affected Your Career?

Here’s a career question for you all: How have female bosses affected your career? Do you notice differences in the way mentorship and sponsorship look when it’s coming from a female boss?  

I recently attended an event where an older woman shared with the group how she had inadvertently held back a woman’s career when she thought she was helping her. She explained that she saw the younger woman as a rockstar with potential to go far in their advertising company, so she put her on the biggest accounts and kept her off the smaller, more volatile accounts that involved more risk. But the younger woman came to her and pleaded, “Stop protecting me!” — because while the smaller accounts did involve more risk, she saw that her male cohorts would learn faster each time they failed. At first, the older woman was taken aback — she had meant to be sponsoring the woman! — but she realized that she was treating her as a mother would, instead of a boss.

That’s probably the best outcome I’ve heard of a woman inadvertently holding another woman back and then realizing the error of her ways — but I’ve also seen a lot of others where women bosses, in particular, think younger women should have to “pay their dues” — grunt work, long hours, sacrificing a social or family life, etc. — in order to be “worthy” of sponsorship. A lot has also been written about the Queen Bee syndrome, where sometimes women at the top actively hold back other women because they fear there’s only room for a few women. So I thought it would be a really interesting discussion here: How have female bosses affected your career? Can you point to anything the good mentor/sponsor bosses did that was specifically different than bosses that weren’t great mentors, or were actual adversaries? In general, do you feel like more men or women have been your sponsors in your life? For those of you a bit more advanced in your careers — as you’ve moved into more roles with responsibility, have you actively tried to mentor and sponsor other younger women?

Pictured: Shutterstock / By Snezana Ignjatovic


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How to Own Your Career in 2019

Career ownership is an investment, just like home ownership. Adopting the concept of career ownership will give you confidence, freedom, and joy in knowing that you can determine your career success.

While in the process of creating a professional development workshop, Be the CEO of Your Career, I outlined what career ownership is:

-A conscious decision to take full responsibility for your career journey and never relying solely on others to determine your career trajectory;

-Strategically positioning yourself to reach personal career goals according to your own definition of success.

-Continuously invest in your professional development so your knowledge, skills, and abilities are in alignment with what your industry demands.

Here are four ways to own your career:

-Don’t be afraid to take on different career opportunities. Each experience is designed to teach you something different in order to prepare you for the next one. You’re not obligated to stay in any one position for a long period of time, even if that job seems perfect for you. Sometimes you must force yourself to leave your comfort zone so you can grow forward in a new direction.

-You own your knowledge, skills, and abilities and have the choice to rent your expertise in exchange for payment to employers, clients, etc. You don’t have to accept any and every job offered to you. Be sure to research and know your worth, starting with the minimum and then the maximum dollar amount you are willing to accept for the expertise you offer.

-Continue learning even if you have to pay for it yourself. Invest in books, workshops, conferences, training, coaching, and other resources that will add to your development.

Be careful not to put all your trust into promises made by others because they don’t owe you anything. Remember, while its true you will need help along your career journey, not everyone who appears to be genuinely helpful has your best interest in mind. Therefore, trust your instincts always, and that feeling in the gut of your stomach. Don’t allow your mind to talk you into something different.



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Career | Black Enterprise


Millennial Moves: How to Build a Digital Marketing Career

There are few people disciplined enough to teach themselves the inner workings of internet tools and turn their learning into a career. Interpersonal communication has become somewhat of an anomaly. As interactions become more digitized, there are even fewer people capable of creating relationships online that translate into practical connections. If you’re looking for a rare example of someone who’s done both then look no further than Rebecca Ijeoma, better known as Dimplez. Dimplez, the founder of IJEOMA Agency, built a digital marketing career working with Capitol Records, SXSW, Ne-Yo, and more. Capitalizing on timing, transparency, skill expansion, and opportunity brought her a career with limitless growth potential.

Capitalize on Timing

“I first got my start in undergrad, while at the University of Arizona. I began as a blogger and didn’t realize that I was onto something until ’07-’08 when some of my blogs started getting syndicated on Global Grind,” she says. “The traction my writing was gaining piqued my interest. I wanted to create more, and cover more—and wound up teaching myself photography. I eventually learned everything that went into creating and maintaining a site, including web and graphic design.”

By 2009, came to life. It served as Dimplez’ digital real estate where she could provide her perspective on cultural moments. The year 2009 was the dawn of the creativepreneur era, a time where people were turning their creative abilities into cash. Using tools like WordPress, Tumblr, and Twitter anyone could build their own site, and share content to the masses. Major outlets were syndicating independent work in a mad grab for content. It turned bloggers, graphic designers, photographers, and videographers into authoritative voices in culture. Dimplez took full advantage by teaching herself transferable skills, making her a prime candidate for opportunities in the newly formed job market of digital marketing.

Creating Community and Opportunity

Instead of shielding her learning curve from the world, Dimplez used transparency to build community. She shared the good and bad of her website building experience. It connected her with people who needed her newly acquired expertise, which turned into paid work.

“I was designing sites, creating graphics, and maintaining servers for artists and media personalities alike. People who had never met me in person got to see and trust my skills and abilities based off of what I presented and was able to create digitally.”

Employment Is Not The Enemy

Being your own boss is a millennial’s dream. When Capital Records offered Dimplez a digital marketing manager position, she happily took the job.

“Stepping into a role or position at a company you do not own is not a step back, nor does it take away from who you are as a creative,” says Dimplez. “It actually serves as an opportunity to learn a broader perspective and hone a skill set that will only benefit you in the long run.”

“Effective storytelling is the distinction between gaining a fan or just gaining a follower. Fans make an emotional investment in you, your career, or your art. A lifelong fan is worth more currency in theory and actuality, than 1,000 followers that may never truly buy into you.”

Dimplez represents what creative work and building a career in digital marketing is all about: being a self-starter and seeing the lesson in every working scenario. 


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Career | Black Enterprise


Marvel and The Walt Disney Company salute the life and career…

Marvel and The Walt Disney Company salute the life and career of Stan Lee and offer our undying gratitude for his unmatchable accomplishments within our halls. Every time you open a Marvel comic, Stan will be there. Please join us in remembering Stan “The Man” Lee.

Marvel Entertainment


Find your favorite Toy Story toys, apparel, , collectibles and more in the Toy Story Character Shops at the online Disney Store.

Backstage with Richard Ridge: Bobby Cannavale Separates Fact from Fiction in His Career on Broadway and Beyond!

Fact Two-time Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale is back on Broadway this season, starring opposite Cherry Jones and Daniel Radcliffe in The Lifespan of a Fact. In a recent interview with Richard Ridge, he opens up about the challenges of taking on thisparticular role, and separates fact from fiction when it comes to some of his past performances Featured Content


Behind the Scenes: What it Really Takes to Launch a Film Career

Thanks to digital technology and social media, it’s easier than ever to start your filmmaking career. But starting a film career is one thing, growing and maintaining it is another. We asked award-winning filmmaker Adisa Septuri for some actionable tips and advice for creating your own path in the film industry. Here’s Septuri’s advice:

4 Ways to Launch a Film Career

 Invest in Yourself and Fail Forward

There’s a tendency to think that because we see lots of people picking up a camera and making films that it’s easy. We live in an instant gratification, YouTube video generation. If you want to excel at a high level, really study the craft, take classes, and watch YouTube videos, which are great but also read books and ask a zillion questions of people already doing it. You don’t necessarily need to go to film school, especially with the exorbitant tuition prices these days. Start making small films and then challenge yourself incrementally. It’s important to take chances and make mistakes in the beginning. My biggest lessons came from making mistakes. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the lesson. By doing this you’ll gain confidence.

Also, don’t rush yourself or feel as if you’re in some kind of race with time or other filmmakers. It will happen to you at the right time. Your main job is to do the work and invest in yourself. If you do that, you will ultimately create an opportunity or you’ll be presented with one.

Connect With Mentors

Find a mentor, it will save you a lot of time and wasted energy. I never really pursued one until much later and I could have really benefited by having one.

Hustle Smart

It took me a long time to get into writing, but besides learning the craft of directing, learning how to write screenplay puts you in a greater position to succeed. It allows you to generate your own material. It will also help you become an even better director. It takes a lot of patience, persistence, and determination to succeed in this business. Find you a hustle where you can pay the bills while you pursue your dream. For me, it was sound mixing. I actually became a union sound mixer. It kept me close to the film set while I pursued my passion of directing. I had to dedicate 10,000 hours to be good at it and it wasn’t always easy and sometimes I felt I was getting nowhere but I kept writing and studying in the meantime and sound mixing kept food on my table and gave me the fortitude to keep going.

Slow Progress is Still Progress

There’s also a tendency to fantasize about coming out the gate and being successful like Ryan Coogler or your first film going to Sundance and getting a big studio deal. I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but that’s not realistic thinking. It only really happens to a very small few. The other 99% of us—myself included—take it day by day and film by film. Hard work is its own reward and it will eventually pay off.

Even if it takes you 15 years after graduating NYU film school like me to make your first feature film. Not everyone is cut out for it, but if you really want it—don’t just do it for the fame, money, or accolades. Those things are nice but I would suggest doing it because you have something to say. Do it because you want to make a difference and because you feel the call to be great and for a purpose. For me, it was a desire to see black images reflected on the screen and to tell the multitude of stories that exist in our community that never get told.

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Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Managing Your Career Through Breast Cancer

As we recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am reminded of the story of a woman I met a decade ago who serves as an excellent example of how to maintain your career, dignity, and mental well-being as you face this challenge.

In June of 2005, Hannah Burns was managing director of corporate communications at Lehman Bros., and fulfilling one of her major responsibilities: getting the company’s quarterly earnings results out to the public. As the numbers were being released, Burns set up a meeting with her boss – he believed she was going to update him on the media’s coverage of the data. Instead, she had to deliver a far more difficult story.

“I’ve got good news, and bad news,” she told him. “The good news is that it’s early and very treatable, the bad news is that I have breast cancer.”

Burns describes herself as a private person, but she went straight to her boss’s office when her doctor delivered the news over the phone. “Being in my function I couldn’t just disappear and not tell anybody. I just wanted to get it off of my chest and move on. It was an easy conversation. He was incredibly sympathetic, and shocked.”

The fact that this mother of two daughters had her disease detected early had her believing that she would be able to “get it off of her chest and move on.” The next few months, however, would prove to be a physical and emotional challenge that she could not have imagined.

Three weeks later, there was the surgery, which was followed by a rigorous four-month period of chemotherapy, bone marrow shots, and then seven weeks of radiation.

In a feat that can be described as nothing short of heroic, aside from a one week recovery period after surgery, Burns only missed one day of work throughout her entire four months of treatments.

“In addition to wanting to teach my daughters a lesson on how to work through adversity, the firm was so supportive that I wanted to do my absolute best to show my gratitude,” says Burns. “The firm said do whatever you need to do to get well. Knowing you’ve got that support is half the battle.”

Not only did Lehman provide Burns with inspiration, but the firm also gave her the flexibility to work through her challenge. She had her treatments on Wednesdays, did not have to return to work, and she was able to come in late on Thursday’s. Burns says her worst side effects set in on Friday afternoons, and Lehman allowed her to leave in the afternoon. The company also provided her with car service to and from the office throughout the entire ordeal.

breast cancer


What to Do if This Happens to You

One of the many things Burns has taught me was that not everyone–not even corporate giants like Lehman Bros.– have all the answers. She simply had to tap into her courage and give the company a blueprint to help her best navigate this challenge. Otherwise, her boss may not have known what to do and there may have been a different result.

If you find yourself trying to work through this situation, here are some tips that may help:

1. Talk to your doctor before your employer

You need to know what you can expect physically and psychologically so that you can be clear about your needs to your employer. That way you can come to your boss with a clear plan of action. Burns, for example, purposely scheduled her treatments on Wednesday’s. That way she would have the weekend to recover when the worst of the side effects hit about 48 hours later. She knew she would need Friday afternoons off.

“Work is a very important part of a women’s life, and if she can continue to work, she’s going to do better,” says Dr. Ruth Oratz, renowned oncologist and associate professor of clinical medicine at New York University School of Medicine. “But they need to be flexible, and realize that they may have to make some changes.” Oratz adds that work is not going to be an option for all women.

2. Be true to yourself when talking to your boss

“How much you tell your boss depends on your own personal style,” according to Kate Sweeney, co-founder of Cancer and Careers. “If you have an open relationship, be open. If not, just present the situation, and tell them what you will need.” Also, if you have an open relationship with your co-workers, you will likely want to share details of your recovery. If you’re more private you may just want to say “I’m doing fine,” and don’t be afraid to leave it at that.”

3. Find out what your company has done with employees in this situation in the past

This is particularly true when it comes to leave and benefits. You are trying to determine if former policies will work for you. Suppose, for example, you want to work from home, yet you find out this has not been allowed. You want to be able to bring that up to your boss, as something you will need. Maybe your company has never been in this situation before. You need to find out if it is going to be up to you to guide them, when it comes to helping you remain as productive as possible.

4. Know your legal rights

In the U.S., for example, people with cancer are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act which gives you rights in the workplace. In addition, protection is provided under the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year. The weeks do not have to be taken consecutively. Human resources departments can be a great resource when it comes to knowing your legal rights. They can also be of great help with your insurer. A company calling on your behalf will likely have a lot more leverage with an insurance firm than you calling as an individual.

5. Pay attention to how you feel

If you take time off for treatments, you can expect to have a lot of mixed emotions as you transition from patient back to employee. If you don’t feel psychologically up to speed, you may want to seek out some counseling, or attend workshops and seminars to refresh your work skills. Physically, take a look at your work space. Tell your employer if it needs to be redesigned with something like back support.


Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Oct. 1, 2018. It originally published on Feb. 4, 2016.

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