No Matter Your Career Level: Burnout Does Not Discriminate

Written by Danielle Owen Whitford

I read with shock the resignation of Mark McGowan yesterday as he steps down from nearly thirty years in parliament and six years leading the Western Australian state.

"It comes with a huge responsibility that is all-consuming every day. And, combined with the COVID years, it's taken it out of me,” said McGowan. 

“The truth is, I am tired. Extremely tired. In fact, I’m exhausted … Now is the right time to step aside from the job I love,” he said.

Our state premiers have played critical roles for our country over the last few years as we have responded, managed and then attempted to recover from the pandemic. We are STILL recovering in many respects and will be for some time. 

Leaders must put it all on the line and often set aside their personal circumstances, with the often mixed public response. 

This news isn’t dissimilar to the resignation statement from the Prime Minister of New Zealand in January, who stated, "I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple.”

Whether you agree with the political positions and actions of these leaders, nobody can doubt their commitment, purpose and work ethic. These are the key ingredients for all successful people that create colossal productivity and outcomes.

But it can also lead to burnout and losing our great talent. I applaud Mark McGowan for stepping down so the job and the state he loves can continue to thrive, and I am sad that he has gotten to that point and that we must see a man instrumental in the state's development step aside due to exhaustion.

We need to do better for our people and leaders so they can thrive and succeed. 

It goes beyond just being needed; it’s becoming law in many countries worldwide, including Australia, where Safework Australia has introduced a Model Code of Practice for managing psychosocial hazards

We must create workplaces where people can work hard and be mentally well and safe. It should not be mutually exclusive, and yet it continues to be. 

I was talking to a business owner a few weeks ago, and they were initially concerned that our work at Pioneera, in helping people identify and reduce burnout, encouraged people to work less. 

That's not the case - we applaud all hard workers, as many of us are. AND; we want people to work productively while SAFE. It's the old work smarter, not harder. He realised the mental ability to keep working hard and be productive needed real-time support.

In a post-pandemic world where people are assessing and resetting their life goals and our commitment to our organisations and teams, we need more significant ways to achieve positive productivity to help everyone, from state and country leaders to new interns, remain safe and well. 

Do you know how to recognise the signs of burnout?

We’ve developed this free reference guide so you can observe any changes in behaviour in yourself, team members and colleagues. Don't wait till your team needs to step away from their work; take proactive action with us today.

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