When Brianna was given Maria’s profile to explore, she again wondered why she was a disappointment. Henry filled her in on Maria’s time at the foundation and asked that she see her. He seemed embarrassed when describing her background. She wondered if this was a different kind of disappointment.
Maria was born in the U.S. to parents who had come to the U.S. from Mexico. When Maria was 13, her parents decided to return to their birthplace to take care of their family. Maria didn’t want to go, and Henry accepted her as a resident.
It didn’t take long for Maria to become the “organizer in chief” as she was described. She had the talent for managing many things at once very well. Henry and others depended on her to make things happen. For Maria, her organizational skills helped her assimilate into the foundation. She was perhaps the most popular resident.
Maria was able to earn a college degree in three years and took a job in a small start-up business. As the founders grew the technology backbone of the business, Maria essentially ran the business. With limited resources to hire additional people, Maria took on more and more responsibility which she did very well.
There came a time when Maria could no longer handle the workload and stress she was under. She had never learned to say no, and when she reached the limit of what she could handle, she became severely depressed. Her health also declined.
The founders of the business had encouraged Maria to take time off, but this didn’t help. She didn’t know how to relax. She had no hobbies. She never married. She was disconnected from her family.
Eventually Maria quit her job. She quit eating and sleep was a challenge. Her overall health quickly declined, and she needed to be placed in chronic medical care.
When Brianna tried to talk with Maria, she was turned away. “I failed Maria”, Henry said. “I should have been able to see where she was going to eventually burn out. I never taught her how to live a balanced life. I learned a real lesson from Maria. I have to admit that she wasn’t a disappointment to me. I was a disappointment to myself.”
Once again, Brianna began to realize the dark side of one’s talent.
* * *
“One day I would love to say I used to have chronic fatigue syndrome.”
– Mary Crea