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How to handle interview questions
Jan 28, 2012

Hello. I am a former middle school teacher. I taught for 10 years, at which time I had to take a medical retirement due to pancreatitis which was caused by my meds. I am now ready to return to the workforce part-time. I can continue receiving disablilty payments as long as I don't take another teaching job. I don't know how to answer the question: "why did you stop teaching?" Obviously, I don't want to mention HIV or give a vague "for health reasons" answer because I believe that would make me look like a risk. So, any ideas on how to handle that question? Thank you.

Response from Mr. Chambers

Excellent question. I agree that, despite laws prohibiting use of such information, there is no point in telling a future employer that you had medical leave or medical problems in the past. The difficulty is explaining the "gap in your resume," and you can be as creative as you want, like:

"I just needed to take a break, so, with my savings I did some traveling and writing."

"I cared for my ill mother/father/husband"

"I tried running my own internet/art/writing/ business and it wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be.'

Good luck with the job hunt.

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