An overworked engineer says he's an example of men taking on too much because of their 'bigger egos.' It could be why so many of them are leaving the workforce.


Mason Garfield had been working as an engineering manager for a global supplier to the mining industry in Australia for 12 years. He enjoyed his job and his workweek was usually just 40 hours, occasionally extending to 70 hours on a tight deadline or in an emergency. However, when his company was bought by another in 2019, Garfield found himself with increased responsibilities, without a pay raise. 

The company was solely focused on sales and did not provide sufficient manpower to execute the work. Garfield and his team were overworked, which led to some people quitting. He too was stressed and overworked, resulting in him developing shingles, which can be linked to stress' influence on the immune system. Even though he was in extreme pain, he worked from home for a few days because he did not want to make his work situation worse.

 After his break, Garfield realized that he needed a change as his mind was always occupied with work. He decided to confront management and told them that he would only work 40 hours a week going forward and that the company needed to hire more people. Management did not argue, and Garfield eventually moved to a different lab where he received better pay and had more management responsibilities. More men are quitting their jobs, and Garfield believes that this is due to COVID causing individuals to reflect on what is essential, with many people looking for fair pay for fair work. 

Men's labor-force participation has been declining. Concerns about marriageability are one reason for this, as well as not being compensated reasonably and being conditioned to not ask for help when needed. Garfield recognizes that work-life balance is now essential to him, and he creates strict lines between work and home to maintain it.

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