The Missionary Kid Experience II

In our previous blog in this series, we explored the experience of third culture kids or TCKs, particularly children of missionaries. From the interviews done among missionary kids, the main emerging themes were:

  • Cultural Confusion
  • Self-esteem
  • Transitions and Adjustments
  • Identity and Belonging


Self Esteem

The identity crisis that TCKS may have with regard to their sense of self can impact their self-esteem. High mobility and cross-cultural development can create a sense of rootlessness in these children. This makes it challenging for them to develop their identity, particularly in adolescence (Pollock, Van Reken, & Gould, 2001). When they cannot identify with a particular culture, they may experience insecurities or face certain setbacks in their development. This difficulty in identity formation can lead to problems of self-esteem and self-worth (Collier & Petty, 2006).

Additionally, TCKs can often find themselves being ‘different’ due to their multicultural background. This could set them apart from the norm and lead to a sense of discomfort and low self-esteem.

When I moved from the mission field to an international boarding school, I was surrounded by some of the richest kids in the country. I faced challenges with my self-esteem because I had misplaced values. In middle school, I wanted to appear ‘cool’ like the rich kids. I faced self-esteem issues because I had placed my value in speaking as they did, wearing the same clothes they did and having the same connections“- Laura, 21 yrs

Laura’s journey resonates closely with my own, aligning with numerous sentiments expressed during the interview process. The ongoing reassessment of personal values, coupled with frequent comparisons to peers from diverse backgrounds, often gives rise to a pervasive sense of discontent. It requires a considerable amount of time to reconcile with the realization that one’s unique experiences have imparted valuable life lessons, intricately woven into the tapestry of being a Third Culture Kid (TCK)


Navigating self-esteem challenges

A question posed to the adults TCKs in the interviews was ‘What would you tell your younger third culture self?”. Some of the responses are helpful in understanding how these individuals coped with self-esteem challenges:

  • Your greatest insecurities will not stem from an insufficiency in material or social resources, but in your own self-limiting beliefs. So reflect on your weaknesses and insecurities, take responsibility for any mistakes and work on them.
  • This experience will give you a richness in terms of life experience. The things that make you different and ‘weird’ to other people can also be used for good. There are many people like you- make friends with those who appreciate your uniqueness (promoting self acceptance)

Having a flexible self-concept can prove to be a healthy and adaptive trait as it has been shaped by a diverse array of experiences and opportunities that afford a nuanced perspective on the world. Embrace it!


You can find Part 1 of this series and other blogs here.



Collier, A. M., & Petty, K. (2006). Characteristics and Repatriation Issues of Third Culture Kids: A Review of the Literature. Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention14(1). Link here.

Pollock, D., & Van Reken, R. (2001). Third culture kids: The experience of growing up among worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey.

Pollock, D., Van Reken, R., & Gould, J. (2001). Always saying goodbye. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 6, 75-81

The Missionary Kid Experience

Missionary children, or “MKs,” as they are sometimes referred to, grow up in an international, highly intercultural environment. The journey of a missionary kid is distinctive and filled with a variety of unparalleled opportunities, challenges, and experiences. We will examine the lives of these “third culture kids” in this series of blogs, shedding light on their upbringing, unique experiences, struggles, identity, and mental health. Excerpts from interviews with people who grew up on mission fields will be included in these blogs (names have been changed to protect confidentiality) and redacted transcripts of these interviews will be provided with the upcoming blog posts for those who are interested.


Who is a TCK?

A Missionary Kid (MK) falls under the category of ‘Third Culture Kid’. This term is used to describe a person who has spent a significant part of their formative years outside their parents’ culture. According to the book ‘Third Culture Kids’ by Pollock and Van Reken, TCKs develop links with all of the cultures but do not fully identify with any of them.


A Truly Global Upbringing

The MK, raised in foreign countries, experiences exposure to diverse cultures, languages, and ways of life. Traveling between their home and host countries and growing up in a genuinely cross-cultural world can cultivate an appreciation for diversity, adaptability, and flexibility

Jonathan, 18yrs- “I recall being able to adjust in whatever situation I was put into (at least externally). I think a lot of that comes from constantly evolving circumstances and being accustomed to change.”

This global upbringing also involves frequent relocations, language barriers, and cultural adjustments. This might contribute to a sense of rootlessness, which we will explore in another blog. Rich diversity exists alongside the underlying dilemma of where one fits within that diversity.

Rachel, 25yrs- When we moved from one mission field to another, I needed quite a bit of time to adapt. Integrating what I had learned from the previous place and starting from scratch was difficult. I still find it difficult to identify one of these places as ‘home’.

Some of the themes that arose from the interviews were:

  • Cultural Confusion
  • Self-esteem
  • Transitions and Adjustments
  • Identity and Belonging


Cultural Confusion

Exposure to and the blending of various cultural norms, values, and expectations can result in cultural confusion. MKs often learn multiple languages and adapt to various communication styles. This can lead to challenges in identifying with a single language or communication pattern.

Sam, 24yrs- “As a five year old, I used to switch between 3 languages in different contexts- one with local friends, one with my parents, and one with my babysitter. I even recall switching languages within the same conversation, and sometimes still do that. It came so naturally to me but I did not identify with any of the three languages.”


Managing Cultural Confusion

There is no one-size-fits-all approach as each MK has their own unique experience but navigating this confusion may involve:

  • Embracing Uniqueness– Not everyone gets the opportunities MKs do. Embracing the diverse cultural backgrounds as a unique aspect of your identity can help you use it as a source of strength.
  • Self reflection– Engaging in introspection to understand and clarify your own values, beliefs, and cultural influences.
  • Cultivating flexibility– You might still be navigating various cultural contexts. Embracing a flexible mindset can enable you to adapt, welcoming change and uncertainty as opportunities for growth.
  • Seeking Support– Connecting with other TCKs who share similar experiences can provide a sense of validation and belonging.


This research article provides an in-depth understanding of adjustment within internationally mobile families.

You can find more Centre For Effective Serving blogs here.



Pollock, D. C., Van Reken, R. E., & Pollock, M. V. (2017). Third culture kids : growing up among worlds. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.



Navigating Challenges, Burnout, and Loneliness in Christian Ministry with Dr. Grant Bickerton

Navigating the intricacies of Christian ministry, especially during these pandemic-ridden times, can be an immense challenge. Feelings of burnout and isolation are all too common amongst those serving on the front lines. In a captivating episode featuring Dr. Grant Bickerton, we delve into these issues and more, offering insights and guidance to those struggling.

Christian ministry has seen significant changes in the landscape due to the pandemic. This shift has resulted in unique challenges and taken a psychological toll on Christian workers. The loss and grief associated with these changes can lead to burnout, especially when compounded by the loss of relationships, safety and security, and competence.

It is important to recognize that while burnout is a systemic issue, it is deeply personal for those experiencing it. Dr. Bickerton’s research emphasizes the importance of identifying the systemic issues contributing to burnout while also understanding the role individual factors play in keeping these dynamics in place.

Job satisfaction and wellbeing in ministry were also major points of discussion. It was revealed that a staggering 76% of Christian workers feel isolated and alone, with many reluctant to admit they’re considering leaving ministry. One of the driving forces behind taking on self-sacrificial roles in ministry is the family suffering that occurs. This highlights the importance of measuring and addressing the causes of burnout in Christian workers.

Conflict, bullying, and leadership dynamics within ministry are also serious issues that require attention. The implications of workplace conflicts and potential bullying can lead to a heightened level of vulnerability for Christian workers. It is crucial to understand how to disagree well and remain unified, even in the face of conflict.

Effective leadership is about nurturing and empowering team members, providing room for growth and risk-taking. The importance of regular check-ins with external parties to measure the team environment and the role of personal development and self-care plans are discussed in the context of managing stress and anxiety in ministry leaders.

In conclusion, the complexities of Christian ministry are many and varied. However, with the right understanding and support, it is possible to navigate these challenges and continue to serve effectively. It’s crucial to remain grounded in our identity as image bearers of the divine, taking regular time to rest and rejuvenate. As we face these challenges, let us remember to seek to understand our ministry workers before making changes, and to provide tailored support through genuine interest, empathy, and open feedback.<br><br>The conversation with Dr. Grant Bickerton provides an invaluable deep dive into these complexities, providing much-needed guidance and support for those navigating the challenges of Christian ministry.

Catch the Clergy Well Being Down Under Podcast episode to hear Dr Grant Bickerton’s full episode.

When Leadership Fails

Effective Serving

In the wake of scandals across churches and leaders, the Christian community has been trying to make sense of what went wrong and whom to hold responsible. When leaders ‘fail’, there can inevitably be perceptions of blame and judgement. It could also pollute our attitude towards religious institutions and leave a rather sour taste towards leadership. As we witness this and read regular updates, it can have an impact on our wellbeing. The people we might have perceived as ‘good’ have now turned out to be flawed. In fact, some of them have serious allegations against them. This article aims to help us gain an understanding of how we can process and respond to leaders ‘falling from grace’.

Check in with yourself

What am I feeling? Where in my body am I feeling it? This might range from anger to disappointment, from shock to denial. Whatever those emotions are, you can try to acknowledge them and let them ‘sit’ with you. Your emotions have wisdom to them and don’t need to be discarded as unimportant. Take a moment to notice this as your feelings might be quite nuanced. This simple act of checking in will help you be more aware of your internal world.

Ask how this affects you

Are you in the ministry space and now feel like you have to defend all your decisions? Perhaps you are a parent who is trying to help your child make sense of this or a leader yourself who is struggling in a particular area. Whatever your position is, it is important to think through how these incidents impact your day-to-day functioning. Have you noticed significant changes in your mood? Has this contributed to a sense of hopelessness? If your functioning has been impaired, seeing a professional can help in gaining clarity and moving forward.

Remember that leaders are fallible

We can sometimes hold the belief that church leaders have perfected the art of living out every Biblical truth. The reality, however, is that they might make errors in judgment, be susceptible to mistakes and not always get it right. This does not justify unethical behaviour or imply that they should not be held accountable. However, it shouldn’t come as a shock when we hear news confirming that the best humans are humans at best.

Revisit expectations of leadership

It can be frustrating to witness church leaders struggle as we expect them to be representative of the institution as a whole. There are numerous reasons behind such ‘failures’ in leadership. Some of them are lack of accountability and mentorship, lack of flexibility, gaps in communication and boundary violations. Who is a perfect leader? What are my expectations of leaders? It might help to verbalise your beliefs and expectations of leadership, and then redefine the ones that might be unrealistic and sometimes unhelpful.

Have you been experiencing significant difficulties in terms of your wellbeing and find it challenging to move forward from leadership incidents? If you are looking for professional help, you can get in touch with one of our team by filling out the enquiry form on our website.

Professional Practice Supervision

As a supervisor, providing effective guidance and support to those in leadership roles can be a challenging yet rewarding task. Recently, I had the opportunity to provide professional supervision to a leadership executive, where we explored the Formative, Normative, and Restorative model of supervision.

The session was so powerful, if I may so so myself, and it allowed us to identify deeper gaps in the executive’s role and resource needs. The Formative, Normative, and Restorative model of supervision is a framework used in supervisory practice, and I have found it a helpful process in providing professional supervision.

During the formative phase, we focused on the executive’s current challenges. We looked at the observerable behaviours and tension emotions they were experiencing. We formulated where these might have come from. Does it have to do with a knowledge, skill or resourcing gap?

In the normative phase, we examined the situation raised in light of the executive’s professional and ethical responsibilities. This phase helped the executive gain a deeper understanding of their responsibilities and how, if any, this situation was creeping away from their professional standards.

Finally, in the restorative phase, we explored the executive’s self-care needs and how they could maintain their well-being while navigating their role. We discussed strategies for managing stress, setting boundaries, and maintaining a healthy work-life integration. We factored in the professional demands while respecting the personal demands.

Overall, the session was powerful and impactful and as a supervisor, it was rewarding to see much hope it generated, and how the forward flow into resourcing and planning expanded the confidence of my client.

Have you had any Professional Supervision yourself?

Valerie Ling
Clinical Psychologist

Psychological contracts in the workplace: gift or grenade?

For many, the return to work will feel tentative. Having spent time in festive mode, enjoying the comfort of home, the safety of all that is familiar and traditional, stepping back in the uncertain landscape of 2023 weighs on us. Dare we exhale. Have our thoughts about our career shifted? Are we uncertain about our new capacities?

The psychological contracts in place in the workplace can feel like they have changed. A psychological contract is a kind of unspoken agreement between an employer and an employee. It outlines what each party expects from the other, as well as their responsibilities and obligations. This contract is shaped by the employee’s interactions and experiences with their employer, and can be influenced by factors like company culture, management style, and individual values. When first engaged – the contract may have felt like a gift, a welcome enhancement to one’s career. With all that has taken place in the last two years, many employees are re-thinking their priorities, and therefore re-thinking the psychological contracts in place.

The psychological contract can have a big impact on an employee’s job satisfaction, commitment to the company, and overall performance. When the contract is seen as fair and fulfilling, it can lead to positive outcomes for both the employee and the employer. But if the contract is perceived as unfair or unfulfilling, it can cause problems like low motivation and high turnover, like a grenade waiting to explode.

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the psychological contracts at work for many organisations and employees. Some of the ways in which the pandemic may have changed psychological contracts include:

  1. Changes in job roles and responsibilities: Many employees have had to adapt to new roles and responsibilities due to the pandemic, such as transitioning to remote work or taking on additional tasks. After the festive period, there can be a greater desire to capture the closeness and familiarity of home. This can alter the expectations and obligations outlined in the psychological contract.
  2. Increased stress and uncertainty: The pandemic has brought about increased stress and uncertainty for many employees, which can affect the psychological contract. Being closer in contact with family and friends this holiday period may have brought a deeper awareness of the fragility of life and relationships. Employers may need to offer additional support and resources to help employees cope with the conflicting dynamics of returning to work.
  3. Changes in company policies: The pandemic has also led to changes in company policies, such as leave policies and health and safety protocols. These changes can alter the expectations and obligations outlined in the psychological contract. Having a break from the work space may have created an awareness of uncertainty or dissatisfaction with these changes.

It can be tempting to let time erode these uncertainties. However, as deeply psychological beings, the organisation that promotes opportunity to listen and elicit feedback, will win trust and belonging in their teams. Leaders can think about:

  1. Communicating openly and transparently: how have you navigated these dynamics yourself? What have you found to help?
  2. Offer support and resources: Leaders can provide support and resources to help employees navigate the return to work, such as regular check-ins, eliciting feedback and welcoming requests for support.
  3. Encourage open communication and feedback: Leaders an encourage open communication and feedback from employees and be open to negotiating changes to the psychological contract as needed.

By implementing these strategies, companies can help employees feel more supported and valued as they navigate the return to work and any changes to the psychological contract. This can foster a positive and productive work environment and help build trust and commitment from employees.

Encourage healthy living and being in the workplace

We spend the majority of our lives at our workplace. At the best of times the workplace provides avenues to socialise, derive achievement and provide a pathway for personal and professional growth. Spending that many hours of our life in a workplace also means that is the place where the majority of our unhealthy habits manifest and magnify.

Workplace wellbeing that shines a light on health practices while at the workplace provide a way for organisations to be a part of investing in their teams at a fundamental level of health.

Spotlight on healthy eating

Encouraging healthy eating is an important part of maintaining a healthy workplace. Yet many workplaces have a culture of rushed lunches, lunches at desks while working, snacking on unhealthy options and consuming more caffeine than water to provide energy and focus.

There are several ways to encourage employees to eat healthy, including:

  • Offering healthy food options in the office. Provide employees with snacks that encourage your employees to eat fresh fruit, nuts, wholegrain and energy enhancing foods and drinks
  • Encourage staff to take full lunchtime breaks. Appoint lunchtime mascots to encourage everyone to take a break.
  • Stock up the pantry with well thought through options, purchase food from health stores so that meetings and breaks have these options.
  • If possible, offer some sort of space where you can take a meal break during the day. Generate interest in your teams for them to share their latest mealtime spots.

Encourage movement during work.

Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Remedial Massage therapists will attest to the change in posture and muscle tension related ailments. With the advance of portable devices and laptops, remote working and high reliance on digital communication, our teams are frozen in unhealthy positions. Consider:

  • Have an ergonomics specialist assess your space and provide tips for your staff to improve their physical health while at work
  • Strategically place common workplace appliances/utilities in a space which would require some movement. For example, printers can be placed on the opposite side of the room.
  • Initiate walk and talk meetings. Not all meetings need to be at a desk. Co-workers can be encouraged to head out into the fresh air and sun to meet
  • Provide a stand and stretch station. Consider playing a 2-3 minute Youtube video that sets an example of how to take a break every few hours to stand and stretch.

Healthy work practices provide our teams to spend the majority of their hours taking care of the foundations of good health and mental health. Encouraged as a whole, the culture can shift to making small changes that lead to lasting health outcomes.

Work life collision in our workplaces

In the corporate wellness world, we’re seeing more and more clients with stress, burnout and other psychological issues — not just physical ones.


Wait lists to see psychologists are impossibly long. The impact of the pandemic has left our mental health resources depleted. These wait lists are now heavily populated by professionals and executives who are desperately trying to get their focus and game back on. The fact is, even being on the right wait list is a challenge. No two psychologists are the same. Not every psychologist who works in the mental health scene work with the organisational implications of workplace wellness.

One client of ours explained:

“I spent too much time with my last psychologist unpacking my family history. Sessions were focused on my past and robbed me of the time I needed to work on my NOW”

Understanding the crisis of performance, livelihood and employees’ needs to get on top of their work is imperative in the current climate.

In fact, Work life collision (WLC) dominates our workplace wellbeing problems. It happens when employees become overwhelmed by the demands of their job as well as battling personal issues on the home front.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – quoted directly from their website here (August, 2022)

  • Between 16 March 2020 and 1 May 2022, over 29.0 million MBS-subsidised mental health-related services were processed.
  • MBS-subsidised mental health services delivered via telephone or videoconference peaked during April 2020 when about half were delivered via telehealth. In the four weeks to 1 May 2022, 29.3% of services were delivered via telehealth.
  • In the four weeks to 1 May 2022, Lifeline received 83,652 calls, up 2.5% and 0.2% from the same period in 2021 and 2020, respectively.
  • In the four weeks to 20 February 2022, Kids Helpline received 23,575 answerable contact attempts, down 5.5% and 9.8% from the same period in 2021 and 2020, respectively.
  • In the four weeks to 1 May 2022, Beyond Blue received 24,441 contacts, up 10.0% and down 7.0% from the same period in 2021 and 2020, respectively.

These statistics reflect a parent, a child, a friend, a client, a colleague and is bound to have impacted your staff wellbeing and morale.

With work life collision only set to increase, you will find the 6 EAP sessions provided inadequate. At The Centre for Effective Serving, we can deploy Clinical Psychology resources for your team. We are a team of psychologists who have worked in the burnout space long before the pandemic swept our world. We already worked in the space of immediate, practical and solution focussed support to workplaces. We can provide confidential telehealth sessions to provide the support and expert care that your staff need without having to leave your premises or their homes. Contact us at

The mental health agenda in workplaces

Workplace wellbeing and the mental health agenda

It’s hard to argue against the benefits of a healthy workplace. What we’re talking about here is more than just a few yoga classes and a weekly massage – it’s about creating a culture where employees feel happy, engaged, safe and valued. And it’s not just about what happens at work either; research shows that there is a direct link between employee wellbeing and business growth.

Mental health at work: The statistics

Mental health is a growing issue in the workplace, and not just because it’s been featured in the media so much lately. Mental health issues are on the rise, especially among young people. According to one study, 44% of young people say they have experienced a mental illness or condition at some time in their life (Young Minds). Another report found that 75% of employers believe that stress levels have risen over the last decade (Mind).
In fact, it’s estimated that 120 million working days were lost due to stress-related issues such as anxiety and depression between 2008 and 2018 (Mind). The cost of mental health issues in the workplace is high; for example:

£4 billion lost due to absenteeism
£6 billion spent on sick pay each year

Loneliness and work

Loneliness is a growing problem in the workplace. A recent study of over 200,000 participants found that people who work long hours tend to be lonelier than those who work fewer hours, and that loneliness increases with age. This may be partly because of the loss of social networks that comes with retirement, but it’s also likely due to job stressors such as long commuting times and demanding workloads.
Loneliness can increase risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels. It has also been linked to poor sleep quality as well as increased alcohol consumption, smoking rates and substance abuse – all factors which can further damage health outcomes.

Employee burnout and mental health at work

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It can lead to depression and anxiety if left untreated, as well as a loss of motivation and productivity at work.
When you’re working in an environment where you don’t feel supported or challenged enough, there’s more chance that you’ll feel stressed at work. Stress can be good when it keeps us alert and focused on achieving our goals—but too much stress over time can lead to burnout.

Workplace wellbeing, employee engagement and mental health

By contrast, a positive culture where employees feel supported and engaged is likely to be more effective at improving mental health. Engaged employees are more productive, loyal, innovative and creative. They are also less likely to take time off sick or experience high levels of stress.
In workplaces with good employee engagement scores, around one in five employees report feeling low or very low levels of stress compared with one in three workers who have low engagement scores. The difference between these figures highlights the potential benefits that workplace wellbeing activities can have on reducing stress levels among staff members – particularly if they’re supported by a positive company culture and healthy management practices that encourage employee engagement.

It’s important to note that while it’s important for managers to understand what contributes towards creating better working environments there may still be some barriers which prevent them from doing so; for example limited budgets could make it difficult for companies to invest in wellbeing activities without affecting their bottom line
Workplace wellbeing, culture and mental health

The workplace environment is only one of several factors that influence employee wellbeing. Culture is another, and it’s a significant factor because it’s not just about the work environment; it also affects how people interact with each other.

Culture is more than just our working hours or how we dress for work: it can be positive or negative, depending on the values of an organization. A healthy culture supports mental health by encouraging open communication, giving support when needed and promoting good mental health practices such as mindfulness at work and healthy eating.
Workplace wellbeing, trust and mental health

Workplace wellbeing is the new way of thinking about mental health in the workplace. It’s not just a buzzword; it means that companies are taking their employees’ mental health seriously and making changes to create happier, healthier workplaces.

Workplace wellbeing doesn’t just mean giving your employees time off work. It also means creating an office environment where people feel safe and respected, have good relationships with colleagues, have fun at work and feel like they make a positive difference to their organisations.

To achieve this you need healthy trust between staff members as trust is the foundation of a healthy workplace culture. Trust is based on honesty and openness – being truthful about what you know or don’t know; being willing to listen when others talk about themselves; being open with your thoughts and feelings about work-related issues; respecting others’ opinions even if they differ from yours (or those of management). Trust grows through communication – having conversations openly about difficult subjects such as performance reviews, conflict resolution strategies etc., so everyone feels heard & valued before reaching any conclusions together which include solutions that meet everyone’s needs equally well rather than just some people at expense of others.

Mental health is an important issue that needs to be addressed at work. Employees who feel engaged and supported by their employers are more likely to be productive and resilient. This means a stronger workforce, higher profits and better business outcomes.

#workplacewellbeing #psychology #mentalhealth

What’s wrong with Quiet Quitting? It’s in the name.

What’s wrong with Quiet Quitting? It’s in the name.

Over the last three years, the presence of COVID-19 has truly tested our mental health. It has also
challenged us to rethink our life priorities. Working from home and spending more time with family
has given many of us space, independence and downtime to consider what matters to us, what we
are capable of, and what we want our own futures to look like.

The ‘quiet-quitting’ phenomenon is a good example of this: a movement to put boundaries on the
expectations employers make, and sticking firmly to set duties rather than going above and beyond.
We are more conscious of ‘presence-bleed’ now – an expectation to be passively available to one’s
employer or clients at all times, keep the inbox under control and attend to any matters of urgency
regardless of the time or day, and how that interferes with our newer outlook on life. Quiet quitting
is about taking back control, being online during set hours and making room for other people, other
projects and other sources of happiness that life can offer us once we are off the clock.
So what’s the problem here? Two words. Quiet and quitting.

Humans are not naturally motivated to settle. Most of us thrive on positive reinforcement, reward
and recognition of our unique needs through communication with supervisors, clients and peers.
Quiet means a withdrawal of that communication, a lack of confidence that our workplace can really
understand what makes us tick, and negative self-talk that the employer relationship is all one-sided.
If you or someone you know has been unhappy with their job and uttered the phrase “It’s fine, I’ll
just stop caring so much”, you know it’s only a matter of time until they are SO unhappy that finding
a new job is inevitable. Quiet means that we can’t be bullied into working harder, but it also shuts
off our perception that employment can be a source of growth, resolution and change either. If you
stick entirely to the script, your job misses out on your ideas, your individuality, your solutions and
your ambition to change things for the better. It misses the best of you.

Quitting offers moments for change. When you quit a job, the world becomes radiant with
possibility and opportunity again. The next step will be better, whether it involves a new employer,
travel, study or working for yourself. Except – quiet quitting is not about quitting at all: it’s a step
back from feeling unrewarded by extra personal exertion. You’re still in the same job, but hopefully
making space for other things. Changes in your own life might refresh your enthusiasm for your own
pursuits, fitness and the people you love, but it might also create mental blocks around your
professional ambition. Can you achieve life balance while also desiring more from your career? How
can you prove that you are the right candidate for a new internal project when you have decided
that boundaries come first? The greatest weakness of quitting but not quitting is that there is no
next step. The status quo remains. The joy in opportunities around the corner fade. Maybe the faith
is not there that they will ever come, so the next best thing is a mental fortress which protects us
from pain and hope that things can change.
COVID-19 has certainly changed the way we see work. It’s not everything any more. Busyness is
overrated. Fun, family and a different future give us hope in taking back control, customising our
time and being present for other things that feel worthy. However, that ambitious instinct won’t lay
dormant forever. To quit quietly ignores our deep need to test ourselves, belong to a group we feel

good about, take pride in our efforts and keep examining our professional problems in new ways,
looking for solutions. If quiet quitting seems appealing, maybe it’s time for quiet reflection, quiet
research and quiet preparation for speaking and acting on what you do want. If your life is going to
change in 2023, let that positivity into your work, too.