A couple days ago, I asked my company’s CEO, Sheila, if it might be helpful for me to share a bit of my personal story. She replied saying yes, and would I be willing to write a few words about what Care.com means to me. I have a lot to say on the matter, so I’ll do my best to be concise.
I’ve been through an extraordinary set of circumstances in the last few months:
# June: [Loss, and Began Care.com tenure]
* lost my beloved mother
// much too young, to a sudden, aggressive, rare and inoperable carcinoma
* started working at Care.com as Web UI Architect
// delayed start date for mom’s funeral
# July – Nov: [Work]
* worked (learned, implemented and shared cutting-edge web dev tech w/ INTL and other teams)
// RWD, TBS, LESS, Node, Grails, Git, etc.
// … also created Care’s Open Source policy and 1st Care.com OSS contribution under it
# Nov: [Cancer: diagnosis + surgery]
* started getting migraine headaches and nausea
* was diagnosed with a rare GBMO primary brain tumor
// in my right frontal lobe (behind right eye, about the size of a small human fist)
* had said tumor surgically removed at MGH
// “complete resection” == they got it all out (tho prognosis also hinges on tumor pathology)
# Dec-Jan: [Cancer: Treatment (part 1) + pathology reports (initial + final)]
* received the initial pathology report (grim news)
// learned that the tumor was “Grade 4” — meaning surgery was not a cure (more on this later)
* underwent intense 6-week course of radiation treatment (30x) with chemo (daily)
* received final, detailed genetic pathology analysis (better news)
learned that the cancer’s specific genetic mutation (IDH-1) was an extremely rare one that meant despite the rough “grade 4” designation, it should in fact respond well to radiation and chemo, and that given my youth, good health, new diet (mostly vegan / raw whole foods), and plenty of exercise, I can actually expect to manage any potential recurrence (if any), and to live to old age.
# Feb: [Return to work + first post-radiation scans]
* had first post-radiation MRI scans
// results even better than hoped for: scans look indistinguishable from a healthy, never-cancerous brain subject to the same radiation
* returned to work (from home on Feb 25, and in the office on Feb 26)
// came back before short-term disability period expired, because I missed everyone
# Mar: [Cancer treatment part 2]
* began a 12-month course of chemo treatment
// to prevent tumor recurrence (2x dose of Temodar chemo drug, 5 days / month)
Even though I only worked at Care for about 6 months before my diagnosis, I know the founders and leadership team very well, having worked with some them very closely (esp. Dave K and Jacob) for years at Upromise. To a person, they are all wonderful human beings. Their decency, kindness, and humanity are reflected in their words and actions, and in the unusually warm culture at Care.
The Supreme Court’s legal opinions notwithstanding, I believe a corporation is not a person. But a great company *is*, collectively, its people. Care.com is turning out to be an amazing entrepreneurial success story [not unlike Upromise’s early days, for identical reasons, although better this time around]. But it is not merely a nameless, faceless, soulless money-generating enterprise. I feel strongly — because I’ve directly experienced it — that it is much, much more than that, because of WHO Care.com is.
What matters is not WHAT a company is, but rather WHO it is comprised of. Care.com is not just a great idea, a useful service, a set of compelling business models, an entrepreneurial juggernaut, nor a global phenomenon. I think it is all of those things, and more, but that’s beside the point. Care.com is Sheila, and Dave, and Zenoo, and Donna, and Al, and Jacob, and Jon, and Ryan, and Matt, and Charlie, and Elizabeth, and Justin, and Ron, and Erika, and … the list goes on. From the CEO to the most recently hired call center rep or part-time care force employee, Care.com is a *community* of people pulling together to do something worthwhile. The rest is just details. I can’t imagine any barriers or obstacles this group of people could not overcome, together.
During my recovery from surgery, I had a lot of time to reflect on my values, my life’s purpose, my place in the Universe, and the ends to which I want to put my mental and physical energies. I found that for me, it’s all about love, most especially love of family. And I find that in the broader sense, that word “family” can and does encompass the amazing people at Care, who I am so very fortunate to count among my great friends and colleagues.
[Beyond leveraging my skills and experience with technology as a Web UI Architect, I’m increasingly interested in finding ways to share the other parts of who I am (writer, philosopher, musician, athlete, etc) and to tell my story, in order to help move the company, and the world, in a more caring, human and loving direction. So, please put me to work! 🙂 ]
Thanks for this chance to share.
With gratitude, respect, and love,