January 27, 2023

So, LinkedIn and numerous news outlets have been all over Jacinda Arden’s “shock resignation”. The BBC was first out of the gate with a very click baity “Can women really have it all article?”. Absolute nonsense of course (and am a little disappointed with the BBC for stooping to such obvious click bait methods).
In my books, Jacinda is a very wise women. How refreshing to see a leader who realises that they no longer have the energy or ideas for the task ahead? How much better would we all be if people knew when their time was up? Obviously this speaks to politicians but also anyone who leads a team or even sits on a local committee. Most people don’t have the self awareness to know when to go and so struggle on taking it out on those around them while they descend into cynicism and “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work” behaviour.
It is also a reminder that politicians are just human, they get tired and a little burnout like the rest of us. As I mentioned in last weeks newsletter the last few years have been exhausting for all of us and most of us weren’t guiding a country though Covid.
It is also a reminder that womens careers can be more like jungle gyms then ladders (We talk about this in our Female Leadership courses). Jacinda has up until now had a straight line to success. Her career has been meteoric. And now it looks as if she is going to spend some time concentrating on other areas of her life. And she may be do that for a year or even ten years but I have no doubt we will hear of her again. She will come back refreshed and revitalised with a greater depth of ideas and knowledge then if she had clung to power, stayed doing the same job, meeting the same people, all the time getting a little bit more burnout and cynical.
We spend a lot of time talking about how to get a job. But it makes me think maybe we should also talk about how to know when it is time to leave? What are the signs? In my experience it can sometimes be financials, a perceived loss of lifestyle or status which keep people in a high powered- jobs. Those can be valid concerns. But it is when peoples own sense of identity is locked into their job that things get tricky. If who you are is “world leader” or “high flying tech executive” then the loss of an election or a job is going to hit you particularly hard. It will wipe out not just your job or your livelihood but who you thought you were. If you are someone who defines yourself as a son, a father, a GAA coach, an ardent Liverpool fan then the removal of a role in one area of your life doesn’t necessarily seep into the others. It doesn’t define who you are and so makes things easier.
The stories we tell ourselves about who we are so important. And we are always more then our job title.
Till next week,

What we are Reading

Lost Connections, the Real Causes of Depression by Johann Hari.
I am a huge fan of “Stolen Focus”, Hari’s book on why we all find it so hard to pay attention so when Melissa Curley, one of our lead trainers, offered me a copy of his other book “Lost Connections” I was intrigued. This was a very
thought provoking read, am sure it is quite controversial, particularly when it
discusses medications. There were however themes about the importance of
being involved in something bigger than yourself, and the value of belonging in
a community greater than the nuclear family which really resonated with me

Also a really interesting article from Yuan Yang in the Financial Times on the “quiet quitting” being undertaken by Chinese women in their own homes and how the all male politburo is unlikely to figure out a solution any time soon.

What we are Listening To

Excellent podcast featuring Michael O’Leary speaking with Nicolai Tangen In Good Company. First spotted this recommendation on the Renatus newsletter. I know we all love to give out about Ryanair but O’Leary’s energy and optimism came shining through and it made for a very refreshing listen.Was also very impressed he ‘let his kids own a playstation! And fair play to him he was selling to Nicolai right to the very end..

What we are Watching

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel.
Her energy, humour and ambition are getting us through the dark dog days of January.