Jacinda Ardern's Graceful and Heartfelt Exit teaches valuable lessons about Burnout

By: GWL Team | Monday, 30 January 2023

Yesterday, Chris Hipkins stepped into the role of New Zealand’s Prime Minister, making Jacinda Ardern’s time as Prime Minister officially over.

Jecinda made the shocking revelation about her desire to step down as the country PM a few days ago. In a heartfelt and graceful speech she addressed the world and made her decision public. Speaking at the party’s annual caucus gathering she said that she "no longer had sufficient fuel in the tank" to perform the job.

“I'm going because of the responsibility that comes with a privileged position. The duty to recognize when you are qualified to lead and whether you are not I am aware of what this profession entails. And I understand that I'm running out of gas to do it adequately. That's how easy it is,” she said.

She stated that over the summer vacation, she thought about whether or not she had the stamina to carry on in the position and came to the conclusion that she did not.

"I am a human, and so are politicians. As soon as we can, we offer everything we have. Then the time comes. And its time for me," she remarked.

Till the election slated to happen earlier this year, Jacinda will remain a member of parliament. However she now intends to step back from daily politics and take more of a backseat.

An Enviable Legacy

The gracious leader leaves behind her an enviable legacy. When she got elected (with a rousing victory) as the PM of NZ in 2017, she was only 37, which had made her the youngest female head of state in the world.

She went on to get pregnant and have her daughter Neve while presiding as the PM. Who can forget the adorable zest added by a three month old Neve at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in 2018.

Jacinda’s time as PM was strewn with challenges galore. It started with the fateful 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. Then came the global pandemic that hit the whole world real hard. Jacinda tacktfully guided New Zealand through the Covid-19 crisis and the eruption of White Island.

"These last five and a half years have been the most satisfying of my life. The agenda was centered on housing, child poverty, and climate change, but there were obstacles as well. We faced a domestic terror act, a big natural disaster, a worldwide epidemic, and an economic crisis," she added.

However, lately the opposition’s criticism of the leader and violent threats against her picked up pace over the last year. Fuel was added to fire by baseless conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination organizations being upset about the nation's vaccine requirements and Covid-19 lockdowns.

While addressing the reason behind her stepping down she mentioned that her choice was not motivated by the elevated danger that came with the job.

"I don't want to give the notion that individuals leave politics because of the difficulties they confront. It does indeed have an effect. We are all just people, but it didn't factor into my decision," she said.

Family First

Jacinda also stated that she intends to spend more time with her own family going forward. She said that her daughter Neve and Clarke Gayford were the ones who has “already have sacrificed one of most among all of us."

"To Neve: Mom is excited to be there for you as you begin school this year. And to Clarke: "Let's wed at last,” said Jacinda.

New Zealand is all set to go to polls in October this year and the country will see a fiercely contested campaign year. However, recent polling reveled that the Ardern-led Labour leadership had fallen in popularity and was trailing against the opposition National by a small margin.

Valuable Lesson

Jacinda’s graceful and honest exit teaches us a lot about the importance of addressing mental health concerns and burnouts.

The working populance across the world has been taught to ‘rally’ irrespective of how one is feeling. It is about time we acknowledge that how one feels is integral to one’s ability to perform at work. It is all the more important now to take notice of when one requires to take a step back. Not only can this avoid any hard mishaps but it can also provide individuals with impetus to return with renewed fervor.

Women across the world, take a page from Jacinda’s book and feel comfortable in coming out and saying, “I’m not okay. I need a break”.