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Jessica Hickman in discussion with The HR Leader on moving to and working in the country

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read
Jessica Hickman In Discussion With The Hr Leader On Moving To And Working In The Country

Making a move to the country may be what you need to unwind, but also thrive in your career. The founder and director of Bullyology, Jessica Hickman, sat down with The HR Leader to talk about how the change to a rural community has surprisingly increased her workload, while providing a nice lifestyle.

Shandel McAuliffe, editor at HR Leader: “How has your transition from the city to the country been for your career?”

Ms Hickman: “I was doing a lot of my business workshops [and] consultancy online. Obviously, the pandemic was ripe, and now we live on a beautiful farm. On a big property, with gorgeous views.”

She continued: “It’s just a slower pace of life. But also, busier with regards to work. Which is really interesting, because when … youre in a business like mine, running training and education programs [and] consultancy, of course we can do it online. But … probably 70 per cent to 80 per cent of my workload at the moment is local, and it is face to face, with multiple industries.”


Editor: “What experience have you brought to the workplaces in your community?”

Ms Hickman: “My business is called Bullyology. I specialise in anti-bullying solutions, and really focus on building thriving workplace cultures. What was interesting in 2020 was, a lot of my clients were saying, ‘Jess, we've got people struggling with burnout, fatigue, anxiety, overwhelm’, and all the complexities that came with 2020 to 2021.”

She said: “I realised that people were struggling, and a lot of my work now is focusing on helping leaders be the best they can, to lead workplace culture.

“I realised pretty quickly that bullying and harassment was just one pocket of an umbrella of workplace culture. It was the opportunity to move regional, and work with some councils, government organisations, and private companies, that allowed me to really extend my offer locally.”

Editor: “What is the difference between clients in the city and in the country?”

Ms Hickman: “One of the biggest things I found, moving to regional New South Wales … is there seems to be old-school mindsets and behaviours. I typically hear the language such as, ‘Well, this is the way weve always done it.’ Or, ‘Why fix whats not broken?’”

“A lot of people have been in industries, from apprenticeships, or starting off as a trainee, and staying in a job for much longer than what you would see in the city. So, working with organisations where people have been leaders for 30, even 40 years,” she explained.

Ms Hickman added: “[Im] looking at some of the big picture trends that are affecting leaders and workplace culture at the moment. From the Black Lives Matter movement, to the MeToo movement, to bullying and sexual harassment, [and] thinking, how can we be proactive about workplace culture?”

For more information about Ms Hickman’s work around bullying in the workplace, you can visit https://bullyology.com/ and https://jesshickman.com/

Note from the editor: If you’re currently experiencing any of the issues discussed in this podcast episode and would like to reach out for help, you may wish to contact Lifeline: www.lifeline.org.au

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Jessica Hickman is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.




Harassment is defined as persistent behaviour or acts that intimidate, threaten, or uncomfortably affect other employees at work. Because of anti-discrimination laws and the Fair Work Act of 2009, harassment in Australia is prohibited on the basis of protected characteristics.

Remote working

Professionals can use remote work as a working method to do business away from a regular office setting. It is predicated on the idea that work need not be carried out in a certain location to be successful.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.