Flexible work has been a key part of my life for two decades. Along the way I’ve experienced various versions of flex: flex to get by, flex that wasn’t flexible enough, and flex without stability. Today I finally have the perfect fit: a flexible career, just in time for when I need it most.

My husband and I married in 1994 and became foster parents in 1996. When we had our first child placed with us, I found my first work-from-home job, typing in MS-DOS registration forms for KOA campgrounds.

In 1997, my Hodgkin’s disease returned (I was initially diagnosed in 1991 at the age of 18 with Stage 3a Hodgkin’s Disease that left me to later struggle with fertility issues that led to our decision to pursue foster parenting), and I underwent chemotherapy. I was very fortunate to have a stay at home job to help us out with finances because at the time we had no insurance. After 8 months of treatment for my cancer, I was in the clear and cancer free! We would later on adopt Harvey and his brother Delbert in 1998.

Then in 1999, I landed a new telecommuting position with On-Site Sourcing out of Chicago as a Litigation Coder. I loved this work and it was somewhat flexible, although not quite as much as I had hoped (during this time in 2002 we got pregnant and had our daughter Emily). In 2007, the company filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy and I needed to look for new work.

Between 2007 and 2014, I was an independent contractor constantly looking for reliable remote work, always worried about how long it would last or if I would have a steady income. By November 2014, I knew I needed something both flexible and stable because we became permanent legal guardians to our newborn grandson, Nathan. Finding a work-from-home job that I could count on became my goal.

In January 2015, I began researching online for legitimate companies to work for from home. Just a few months later, I was hired as a Data Entry Specialist with FlexJobs, a company that has a clear understanding of the value of flexibility and family. I have never before worked for such a place that truly appreciates each person and makes them feel like family. I have found my calling and career.

Today, I am especially proud to be part of such a wonderful work family. My cancer came back in April 2016 in the form of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 2a, Grade 3, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I had total bilateral mastectomy surgery on April 28, 2016 and began my weekly chemotherapy on May 16, 2016. I will be taking weekly treatments until mid-September or mid-December, depending on my doctor’s recommendation. My job has been so wonderful to work with me through this latest of life’s many road bumps. I know this health issue is temporary and having the support at home and work makes it easier to get through it and look forward to the future!

photo credit: Susan Dagg