Family caregivers need to prepare what they are going to tell their bosses before they ask for time off, said family workplace support consultant Vick Salemi. She added preparation is also vital when caregivers get ready to re-enter the job market to explain to potential employers the gaps in their resumes. Photo credit: GettyGetty

Caregivers should carefully prepare what to say to their bosses and potential employers, Vicki Salemi, an expert in family support in the workplace, urged today.

When you are getting ready to tell your boss you need time off to care for a loved one, Salemi advised: “Practice on what you are going to say and what is authentic to you. You want to be upfront and transparent, (Caregiving) is a sensitive topic. It can trigger tears.”

What you tell your boss, depends on your relationship, she said:

“If it’s toxic, less is better. If the relationship is good, you can talk more.”

In either case, you don’t need to go into the type of illness of the person you are caring for and the length, she said.

The good news for caregivers who are also employed is many companies are friendly today in supporting their workers as whole persons, Salemi said.

In looking for work after completing a caregiving stint, she stressed you will be asked about the gap on your resume.

She recommended preparing a quick response, one sentence and then pivot into what you want to do.

“Have it ready so you won’t be caught off guard,” said Salemi.

She said keeping the time you spend telling about caregiving in a job interview brief is also important because caregiving memories can trigger emotions.

In another tip for employed or self-employed caregivers, she urged setting up a niche in your home that is strictly devoted to the job leaving the rest of your house or apartment for the rest of your activities.

“This is my (job) corner, even though it is in your bedroom,” Salemi explained.

She said that corner can also be made more job-focused by wearing work clothes when you sit there and having things on the wall that make you feel work-focused.

To keep the job strictly in that location, Salemi advised against bringing your laptop into other areas of your home.

When you are on your regular job, she stressed taking breaks to relieve stress.

“Self-care is as important as your care for the person you are caring for,” Salemi said.

Her remarks came at’s third national caregiving conference in Chicago.




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