Jacinda Ardern — burnt out? Or just brave enough to admit what the rest of us can’t…

Alex Turner
6 min readJan 19, 2023
Photo by Cameron DiMarco on Unsplash

I don’t govern a country so I don’t really feel qualified to comment on Jacinda Ardern’s ‘shock resignation’. But here we all are anyway.

Seeing the news headline late last night left me confused and on edge. My initial reaction was that it was a spoof, fake news — a deep fake.

But I was uneasy about something. It was hard to put a finger on exactly what the feeling was. And I went on to have a nightmare about family pressure, so if that doesn’t give an insight into my psyche, I don’t know what does.

But that Jacinda Arden was able to walk away and to resign with such grace and dignity, rather than running herself into the ground…

Hmm. I felt uneasy.

Burnout.

It must be burnout, right?

Every article I’ve read has cited burnout as the reason for her resignation. But what struck me is that she herself never uses this term.

So aside from putting words in a woman’s mouth, what else is the problem with this? What is making me so uneasy?

In her speech, she acknowledges that she’s had a very fulfilling job for the last five years — the greatest role of her life, in fact. It was one with great privilege, and also with a responsibility to know when — and when you’re not — the right person to lead.

She says she is resigning simply because doesn’t have enough in the tank to do the job justice any longer.

I get it. I mean, I have no where near that level of responsibility and I often feel stressed out my little eyeballs.

But how did we get from the tank needs topped up to burnout?

Because the speed at which news outlets around the world labelled this is what is shocking me.

So let’s just look at burnout for a hot minute. It’s a trending topic, a buzzy buzzword, and for good reason. But it’s a word — and a condition — we need to be careful with, because it comes with a lot of stigma. I can see a path ahead riddled with comparison and being quick to label doesn’t serve anyone. We need to take…

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Alex Turner

Founder, feminist, entrepreneur, coffee + self care