Need to reinvent myself - how can i find new work?


I had my stroke in March 2019 lost left side movement and peripheral vision so can't ever drive again, I learned to walk again, had ovarian cancer diagnosed and treated - chemo affected nerve endings and caused loss of mobility again so back in hospital - learned to walk again and now in lockdown. All stroke rehab stopped but hoping I can stilll progress - Am frightened i will never conttribute again- i can't travel independently so need to find ways of working online - I feel very daunted as world has moved on so much and i haven't. .   All media predicts big unemployment. I have lost the knowledge and expertese i had pre stroke and don't know what i can now do and offer. How do i work out what skills i have now that would make me employable and then find a way to use them and earn money? 

Dear Clare

There are two issues you raise. First one is "how will I contribute again". The fact that you write that demonstrates that you do have a lot to offer and you will find this without searching. As your recovery continues then what you can offer to others will start to surface.

The second issue is paid employment. Online seems to be one way forward. There are courses for online work, although I am not sure how they know anything about the real working life. And there are lots of people who think they can do online from home, but often what they seek is how to look after children or other family and still do work. You do not come in that category, You seek work and you will concentrate on that work and not on other things.

Corona will be overcome. And do you need to work online or could you do other things from home. My hairdresser works from home. My seamstress works from home. Cake decorating and food preparation could be done from home. Accountancy, tax work, lawyers support can be done from home.

Yes the world is rushing in a direction that leaves me cold. We all want to eat, be safe, have education, have health. This hasnt changed at all. Maybe a few realize how important healthcare is, but the basics are still there. So please dont be disheartened. You survived a stroke and there is a purpose to you being chosen to survive. You are also having to get past this corona thing. Many of us feel abandoned and useless but Corona will move on. 

As part of my rehab, pre corona, I paid for counselling and yoga. I found that my stroke recovery placed me in a good position to understand and benefit from counselling/relaxation and seated yoga. 

There will be something that you hit upon.

Best wishes


What job did you do before Clare just out of curiosity?  Before I retired and pre-stroke, I worked as a wedding florist from home. You have to be very disciplined and allocate a room for work which is your 'office' rather than a room others use too!  I worked 13 years from home but, having said that, I did own a florists' shop for 3 yrs and trained for 6 yrs to be a florist before that.  There are many other jobs that can be successfully done from home especially if you are computer literate which I definitely am not!  A good place to start is to update your CV ready to send out to companies. You could check the Job Centre website and register with various employment agencies too such as Indeed.   If you fancy working for yourself and starting an on line business, this would be another option for you. I found the HMRC did a great little booklet explaining how to keep books easily and first steps to building up your own business if you fancy doing this rather than working for someone else. Write down a list of your best points and your weak points and this usually points you into the direction of which jobs will work for you from home.

Most importantly, before doing any of the above, do concentrate on your recovery and allow time for you to heal and come to terms with your stroke. You have been through a lot recently and it's still fairly early days.  Take care and best wishes for the future.

Hi Clare, Colin and Brenda have given you good advice, and lots to consider.  

You've been hit badly by stroke, and then cancer - two life changing events, either one would be difficult to deal with on their own and you've had that mountain to climb, it's no wonder you're feeling anxious.  

My husband had a stroke in 2017, it hit him quite hard and was the most difficult thing he'd ever had to face.  He became very demoralised, and has struggled emotionally (as many other stroke survivors have done).  He gradually improved in most aspects, but was then diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in 2019.  He went through chemo, and was in/out of hospital for about 6 months.  He was in remission by December 2019, but it took him a further 3-4 months before he began to feel well again.  

The reason for the long post, is to let you know that these events are very challenging, it is not easy to feel that you are having to fight for everything, every minute of the day, month after month.  However, during this time he managed to continue to run his own company - with help from me, and  his employees - so it is possible to have a working life even after stroke and cancer.  I'm amazed at ways people can create online careers.  Please don't lose hope, and as Brenda said, it's very important that you give yourself time to feel well again.  Many people are uncertain of how the future will look, but it will certainly include working from home!  

Take good care, and use this site you will always find support and friendship from people who've been through the same experiences.  xx

Thank you for your encouraging response and practical advice .Pre stroke I had a number of roles in education - teacher training, curriculum development. management etc. but the stroke has taken the memory of all the expert knowledge and experience I had and could apply. I am finding it hard to come to terms with all that has happened to . Being able to do things i never thought about before e.g. walk, make a cup of tea, a sandwich have become major acheivements and that's a huge adjustment.   

Thank you for your thought provoking advice and encouragement. Hope you don't mnd me asking a question.  When you said there are 'courses for online work' what kind of things did you mean? I don't have other practical skills like seamstress etc. that you suggested and am limited in mobility. But I have still got some basic IT skills I am hoping I can build on e.g. using Word, typing, emails.  

Thank you once again for any further thoughts.  

Courses for instance include excel in depth (spreadsheets). Management (probably useless) and life coaching, which helps a lot of us. Word is another area that has a lot of depth. Emails have so much to learn about. 

Do take a careful look at yourself and do not be modest. Maybe you are a good listener. Maybe you are good with children of a certain age. Or the elderly. We all have talents that dont come to the fore. When you find somethings that you do well then home in and work on them. This also has a very good effect on our stroke problems. 

My wife has a Canadian friend, lives alone, no relatives. And she is doing courses all the time. Ballet dancing. Keep fit. Bread baking. Dealing with the elderly. She earns a living by booking cruises. She loves cruising and so she enjoys reviewing all the latest cruises. All done remotely.

Please note that there is online work opportunities, all via the keyboard and there are services whereby customers come to you.

It isnt easy. The world is rushing so fast it is tripping itself up. But there are chances of work. And please note that stroke has changed you. We easily identify things we used to do and now can not. But we are not observant about what we can now do whereas we couldnt do before. The big thing is that we now have time. Not many people have time.


Hi Clare - there are lots of people/organisations that can help you identify your transferrable skills and how they can be used, either online or in a more traditional workplace.

You might want to get in touch with your local jobcentre (if you're not already) and see how they can help. Their work coaches have a wealth of experience at helping people in your situation. They are experts on the Access to Work scheme, which provides extra support for people with a disability who need help to retain or start a job. This would include support for people who can't travel independently.

I've added three links - one to more information on how they can help, one that shows how to contact your local office and one that outlines Access to Work.

Most local authorities have teams who help people get back into work, so you might want to search on their website. For example, ours is called 'Get Oldham Working'. Again, they'd help you identify your transferrable skills, update you on local opportunities and explain what training might be available.

You've obviously got a lot to offer and, most importantly, the motivation to succeed. Don't forget, there are currently lots of people working from home due to the virus. My understanding is that employers will continue to encourage this as it frees up office space and reduces costs. This could be a very good time to pursue a career working from home.

Hope this helps and best wishes.


Hi Clare

Since my stroke I have spent many happy hours working to update my tech knowledge. I have completed over 10 courses and I really enjoy them now.There are many MOOCS ( Massive On-line Open Courses ) There have no entry requirements and you can choose the level of the course you start with - they go from complete beginners to PhDs! I have found that they are very accessable and there are always your fellow learners on-line who you can ask for help and advice.

A good starting point is here:

Good luck with your recovery.


Thank you for your encouragement, Colin. I appreciate your kindness. 


Thank you for your advice. I appreciatE it and will investigate more. Thank you!