An Impromptu Homework Assignment: Cypress HomeCare Solutions

Three weeks ago I had an interview with Cypress HomeCare Solutions and was asked to write about my experience. I always try to find ways to bring creativity to everything I do, so I was pretty excited to describe my thoughts about the meeting. While I've decided to accept another offer, I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet the amazing people at Cyrpess.

Have you ever felt that you were exactly where you were supposed to be at a critical point in your life?  That, no matter the outcome, what happened to you in that moment was going to help define you and change the way you envision your future? Never would I have guessed that, after sending out dozens of applications, a craigslist ad that I responded to on a whim would bring me to this juncture. After a brief phone call with the manager of the company that posted the ad, I realized that this opportunity strongly aligned with my values and goals, but I still didn’t realize its full significance. Days later, I sat in the lobby of Cypress HomeCare Solutions watching a video about customer experiences with the company, nervous and excited for my interview.

 Within minutes of my conversation with Bob, the manager, I knew that he was in the business of doing something immensely important in lives of people all around us, and that he was driven to follow this path because of his genuine compassion for individuals in need. Cypress HomeCare Solutions was built to support people through some of the most difficult points in their lives, either as a child who is unsure how to help an aging parent, or as a senior that can no longer go about his or her day alone. He described struggles that Cypress clients face, ranging from lack of mobility, illness, loneliness, and more. I learned from the lobby’s video that he was not only speaking on behalf of his clients, but also from his own experience caring for his mother—a fact I particularly connected with because I understand how family can inspire big ideas from my time working on my honors thesis, Young Mothers.

 While we talked, I quickly realized that I was interviewing for much more than a job; It was a chance to impact people’s lives, to generate conversation around issues that society is relatively silent about, and to contribute my creativity to an incredible team that makes positive change in families throughout the Phoenix Valley. Our exchange was casual for an interview; Bob didn’t ask the usual series of interrogations like, “Where do you see yourself in __ years”, “Why do you think you are the best person for the job”, or the ever-puzzling, “what is your biggest failure?” Our conversation ventured into more personal anecdotes that painted a picture of me as a human being rather than an employee, something that I hope worked in my favor given the sensitivity that is required for the position. I was surprised when Bob asked me to write about the interview, but my shock quickly dissolved into optimism as I realized that I could express the depth to which I valued the work that he’s doing at Cypress in writing. Shortly after, he introduced me to Erin to continue my interview.

 Erin is the kind of person that stands out of the crowd because she radiates warmth and a sense of purpose. She spoke of the complexities of caregiving with the utmost empathy. As she talked about the pain families go through watching a loved one reach the end of their lives, I remembered being ten years old, standing in a room at Yuma Regional Medical Center with my family, tears pouring and emotions elevated. My great-grandmother lost a short but intense battle with stomach cancer and we stood with her as the doctors took her off life support. When Erin talked about the AlzBetter program, I thought about my aunt who used to send me dolls and craft supplies even after months without contact.  Now when I visit, she still tells me how beautiful and kind I am, but she can no longer remember my name or our relation. Erin said, “death is not pretty…It’s something people don’t want to think about,” and I completely understand why. It is hard to say goodbye, and it’s hard to do it alone. But I agree with Erin in believing that there’s a better way to get to this point, one which Cypress embodies every day. As a society, we need to be present for our aging generations, especially because we all have loved ones that will reach this point. While we may not see them every day, we need to respect their existence because they are still very much alive. If we work to find new ways to support families in this stage and open up a dialogue about the universal experience of aging, we will be more prepared to provide a better quality of life for all.

 Yesterday I remembered why I’ve developed an unusual set of skills—a combination of art making, design, communication, and service; It is so that I can tell complex stories and engage people in meaningful dialogue about issues that communities face. Whether or not I am offered the job, I am grateful that Bob, Erin, and everyone at Cypress HomeCare Solutions is working incredibly hard to make people’s lives better. In the brief time that I spent with them, I left feeling truly inspired with a renewed sense of hope and direction as I pursue to make positive change in the world around me.