Prince Harry today claimed that people around the world ‘stuck in jobs that don’t bring them joy’ should quit to put their mental health and happiness first.
The Duke of Sussex’s comments will be seen as referring to how he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals last year and left Britain for North America.
The 37-year-old royal also said that ‘with self-awareness comes the need for change’ and that the many job resignations during the pandemic ‘aren’t all bad’.
Harry added that the world was at the ‘beginning of the mental health awakening’ and people putting happiness before their job was ‘something to be celebrated’.
He was speaking in an interview with US business magazine Fast Company about his role as ‘chief impact officer’ with California-based mental health start-up BetterUp.
The Duke of Sussex was unveiled in March as the chief impact officer at BetterUp with this corporate black and white photograph of him released at the same time
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9 last year, shortly before they officially stepped down as senior royals
He was asked about how BetterUp had adapted its strategy to address accelerated trends in the workplace such as increased burnout and job resignations.
He told Fast Company: ‘It brings us back to the thesis of BetterUp, and the work Alexi and Eddie and team have been doing for the last eight-plus years before I arrived, [and] also my personal belief and work in the mental fitness space.
Harry’s corporate buzzwords in Fast Company interview
- ‘It has been an extreme pleasure to see that social impact is not just a silo to the business – it’s interwoven into all of the work we do at BetterUp, and stems directly from the founders themselves.’
- ‘Product development and innovation is deeply intertwined with the positive social change we can make in the world.’
- ‘A big component of this mission is building awareness and continuing to pioneer the conversation’
- ‘With self-awareness comes the need for change’
- ‘The initiative or organization must reach a diverse audience in an equitable manner’
- ‘There will be more on the impact front of course, and I’m committed to ensuring the measurable and long-lasting impact’
‘While on the surface it looks like these last couple of years brought all these issues to the foreground, the reality is these struggles and issues have been brewing for quite some time. We’re just at the beginning of the mental health awakening.
‘This work has never been more important because people are finally paying attention, and a big component of this mission is building awareness and continuing to pioneer the conversation.’
Harry continued: ‘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.’
On Apple TV’s The Me You Can’t See earlier this year, Harry told series co-host Oprah Winfrey how the trauma of his mother’s death led him to use alcohol and drugs to ‘mask’ his emotions and to ‘feel less like I was feeling’.
It comes as Harry’s brother Prince William spoke about the impact of dealing with life and death moments while an air ambulance helicopter pilot.
The Duke of Cambridge became emotional when he described meeting a former patient. William’s voice breaks when he recounts being introduced to the unnamed person who recovered, but not fully, following an incident dealt with by the duke and his former crew from East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).
BetterUp’s chief executive and founder Alexi Robichaux. In October, BetterUp raised £220million from investors – valuing the company at around £3.4billion
BetterUp is based at these offices at San Francisco in California. The value of the start up has topped £3billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players
Speaking during an audio walking tour recorded for Apple, the future king described how he was ‘taking home people’s trauma, people’s sadness’ and it was affecting him by making him sad despite a happy home and work life.
BetterUp: The Silicon Valley start-up that has hired Prince Harry
BetterUp describes itself as company that ‘combines coaching with dynamic and personalised digital experiences to accelerate members’ long-term professional development and drive personal growth’.
It sells executive coaching and therapy services to individuals and large companies, and employs clinical therapists and ‘executive coaches’ on contract to provide those services.
One blue chip company that recently employed their services was charged $2,000 for six months of unlimited coaching for each employee.
Those who sign up for their app can receive one-to-one video therapy or coaching through the app.
It was founded by two USC graduates Alexi Robichaux and Eduardo Medina.
Mr Robinchaux grew up in Dallas, Texas, and has described growing up with his father a biblical linguist who translates from Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.
His mother is an immigrant from Greece who was an executive assistant at Texas Instruments. In high school he started a non-profit called Youth Leadership for America.
Mr Medina is also a USC graduate who worked at management consultant companies Altamont Capital Partners and Bain & Company before starting BetterUp.
He has spoken in the past about how working for the EAAA affected his mental health, but the audio recording, made while walking around the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, reveals how the incidents still live with him.
While Harry receives a salary from BetterUp, the firm has not disclosed how much he is paid or if he owns shares or stock options.
BetterUp offers companies coaching regimes for their employees on topics ranging from mental fitness to nutrition and parenting. Its app costs around £181 per month for each user.
Customers include Google, the Hilton hotel chain and movie studio Warner Bros. The company recently announced plans to open a London office and hire 75 staff.
Harry and Meghan have netted several lucrative deals since their move to California, where they now live in an £11million mansion in Montecito.
It was revealed last year they had signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix for content including documentaries, films and children’s programmes.
They also announced a podcasting deal with Spotify to produce content. Both contracts are said to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
It comes two months after it emerged that the value of BetterUp has topped £3billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players.
In October, BetterUp, which took on the Duke as ‘chief impact officer’ in March, raised £220million from investors – valuing the company at around £3.4billion.
One of the leaders of the funding round was Iconiq Capital, a secretive investment firm which has managed the money of tech billionaires including Mark Zuckerberg.
Other backers include Mubadala, a sovereign wealth fund connected to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed.
The latest funding round takes the total amount the firm has raised to £441million and follows a similar £92million injection in February.