Prince Harry backlash after royal’s career advice: ‘Don’t all have luxury’

Prince Harry opens up about his experience with burnout

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The Duke of Sussex, 37, and his wife Meghan Markle, 40, famously stepped back from their roles in the Royal Family. Since then, Harry has raised eyebrows by saying he suffered from “burnout”, a term given to feelings of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. The Duke revealed how he takes care of his own mental health during a conversation hosted by BetterUp last week.

Harry was appointed chief impact officer at the professional coaching and mental health firm last year.

He discussed balancing work and mental health as he took part in the ‘Inner Work Day’ event alongside tennis star Serena Williams and BetterUp CEO Alexi Robichaux.

The Duke said: “I, similar to you Alexi, experienced burnout and throughout that burnout literally getting to the very end of everything I had.

“Any fuel, any steam in the engine, just was like I am burning candles at both ends, it was like, boom.”

The comments drew a mixed reception, with commentator Dominique Samuels writing on Twitter: “Does Prince Harry realise how deluded and privileged he sounds?”.

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Other social media users backed the Duke however, including lc87norwich, who said: “People commenting when they have zero insight into Harry’s day to day life.”

Harry previously drew criticism over his comments about work, including from Victoria Richards, The Independent’s voices editor.

In December she wrote: “I agree that life is short, and that you should seriously rethink any job that negatively impacts your mental health.”

However, she also added: “We don’t all have the luxury of making the decision Harry made.”

The journalist was reacting to an interview Harry had given to American business magazine Fast Company earlier that month.

The Duke’s Q&A with the publication was timed to coincide with his new appointment at BetterUp.

The royal suggested that a wave of resignations sparked by the Covid pandemic wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as some people may now be prioritising their mental health more than their career.

Harry said: “I’ve actually discovered recently, courtesy of a chat with [BetterUp science board member] Adam Grant, that a lot of the job resignations you mention aren’t all bad.

“In fact, it is a sign that with self-awareness comes the need for change.

“Many people around the world have been stuck in jobs that didn’t bring them joy, and now they’re putting their mental health and happiness first. This is something to be celebrated.”

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Harry’s comments came after a year in which his grandmother the Queen confirmed that he and Meghan would not return to the Royal Family as working royals.

The couple announced their intentions to step back from their royal roles and work to become “financially independent” the previous year.

However, Harry’s comments about job resignations touched a nerve for many, including Ms Richards.

She said: “Let’s get real: he’s never going to know what it is to really struggle for money, and it is a privilege to be able to ‘choose’ whether or not your job serves and nourishes you.”

Twitter users also weighed in with their own takes on Harry’s remarks.

Gemisinlondon said: “Oh the irony of Prince Harry saying you should quit your job if it is making you unhappy.

“I wish Harry, but who is going to pay the bills, the fairies?”

However, the Duke was defended by others, including Adrian31973, who wrote: “He’s absolutely right – staying in a job you hate will destroy you.”

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