The Integrity Talks

Unacceptable behavior of Matthijs van Nieuwkerk and moral burn-outs

The Integrity Talks

The entire country is discussing the unacceptable behavior of Dutch presenter Matthijs van Nieuwkerk. These examples of unacceptable behavior are similar to what I have experienced in my working life – a couple of times in different settings. In fact, this is why I did not pursue Dutch journalism in the traditional sense long-term, even though I was in the right lane. And why I became a loner of a small business owner. That way, I tried to avoid suffering in my professional life, as I have suffered more than enough in my private life.

Only now, do I understand that this phenomenon is called quiet quitting. Thus, leaving a working environment and even a field when someone can no longer cope with certain aspects of it, oftentimes the behavior of people. There is an official term now for these sorts of experiences, namely a moral burn-out. This idea centers the different values between the individual and the ecosystem.

Gosh, I am a 37-years-old woman and only now do I understand what happened and how rotten these sorts of ecosystems actually are. The moral burn-out I had underlined the fundamental lack of compatibility between me and this toxic working environment, including the differences in morals, ethics and integrity and the lack of intellectual challenges.

How many times did I notice matters that were far beyond what was acceptable? I tried to stand up for what was right and I spoke up, but I paid the prize for doing so. Even my physical health suffered due to this stress. It took a period of recovery and a lot of self-care to correct. For most people, the short and long-term consequences of unacceptable behavior that leads to a moral burn-out are not mild, to say the least.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government requests to explore the overall culture in media. Most importantly, many of those people who are guilty of unacceptable behavior in my past are defending Matthijs van Nieuwkerk publicly. What a surprise…

Signs of moral burn-out and remedy

Signs of a moral burn-out could be that someone is unable to switch off from work, unable to unwind or relax. Or that someone could feel ashamed by an event that occurred in the workplace, or fearful and anxious daily during a long period of time. Someone could feel exhausted – physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Someone could feel disinterested and disengaged, both at work and in life. Likewise, someone could procrastinate all the time, could have negative thoughts or expect the worst. The only remedy to a moral burn-out is finding your joy again – like with everything honestly.

But let’s not kid ourselves: entire courses in life change due to these sorts of matters. Opportunities that do not come. Networks that are not built. Finances that get influenced. And so on. Dealing with these courses in life means having great self-compassion and mercy, which can then lead to gratitude for what other opportunities are presenting themselves (better yet, self-created). Besides, it can then lead to connecting empathically with others that have similar experiences.

Keep those goals coming, especially in the case of growth after bullying. Those bullies may take away some parts of your life, but they may never take away your plans and determination. In other words, play your game and keep belonging to yourself. Stay loyal to yourself. Let your inner wisdom guide you. That inner compass or voice will never let you down.

By the way: there is a Jewish saying: people who humiliate others, especially publicly, have a special place reserved for them in hell. It is the worst action that someone can take in terms of morality. Who knows if that is true, but I certainly may hope so indeed.

The Dutch version of this article was published by Boom Management.