Men’s Work

Garrett Teslaa explains what Men’s work is and how it can help reconnect first responders with themselves.


Garrett TeSlaa, host of the Squad Room podcast and Lieutenant in Southern California, reached out to me and asked if I had done a podcast on “men’s work.”  I had to give him a hard time about men’s work versus women’s work, and we joked around about it, but what he really meant was what I thought. It’s easier for women to do certain things like read self -help books or talk to other women about growth and development. It’s more socially acceptable to ask for help or go to therapy when something’s wrong and not working. Garrett has been in cynical and dark places before in his life, and he encourages others with his podcast. Today, Garrett discusses men’s work and his next steps in helping other first responders.

What is “Men’s Work”?

Garrett considers men’s work the chance to prioritize their personal growth and find out what they want.  His involves challenging some of their current beliefs and identifying habitual patterns used to protect themselves as first responders. Garrett describes men’s work as interactive, purpose-driven, and very individual-driven with the purpose of identifying their “why” and goals which are then aligned with values and actions. A safe space for men is essential so they can discuss with other men the feelings that they all most likely have.  It is important for men to find other men who are all committed to doing the same work, like a tribe. Garrett believes that a group setting is more beneficial as men can learn from each other and lead from within. Men’s work is about men supporting each other, holding each other accountable, and shining a light on where they can do better for each other.

Man UNcivilized: Heroes Journey Retreat

Garret shared that the Squad Room podcast has evolved into a hands-on instruction retreat to help make an impact on men. This retreat is being cohosted with Traver Boehm who you may know as the former cohost of The Squad Room and founder of Man UNcivilized, as well as co-facilitators, David Boyd and Zac Miller

The word retreat is a deeper version of war stories at the end of a shift. It allows men to disconnect from the daily routine and stressors, not just as humans but particularly in law enforcement and first responder communities. The retreat removes participants from the distractions and responsibilities and takes them up into the mountains, getting off-grid, where nothing exists but themselves and their thoughts. There isn’t cell reception, internet, or the chance to numb out by scrolling through your phone.

As a male first responder, there’s a lot of expectation that is put upon you by the outside world. Garret talked about the pressures of not showing fear, shame, or anger and the perceived signs of weakness in expressing feelings. Rotating shifts, night work, and family obligations stack up, making it incredibly difficult to self-reflect and think about what you want in your life.

Benefits of Doing Men’s Work at the Man UNcivilized Retreat

Make the commitment to yourself and come alone.

The best opportunity is to attend a retreat as a stranger to everybody because you get to be a blank slate and not bring any baggage of who you are at home with you. Nobody knows anything about your past except what you want to share, and it can be incredibly freeing. Because this is a veteran and first responder-only retreat, you may not know anyone there, but they know something about you!

You can unburden yourself with others who get it.

There is a basic level of connection because you are a first responder, and others are as well. Your shared experiences may not be exactly the same, but they will be similar, and that builds a foundation of trust. You don’t have to walk in and be a title or rank. You can be a person, and once that weight comes off your shoulders, it also comes off your heart. Then, you can really begin to dig into what it is you need out of your own life.

Develop a network of like-minded people in the field

Attendees will walk away with a network of people who’ve got their back as they continue on this journey.

Get clear on your purpose and direction.

You will leave with a goal for 2024 and a clear idea of what their values are and how their beliefs and actions are aligning or are not aligned. Garrett hopes to set people up for a very successful 2024 and beyond and allow them to reconnect with who they were before the job, who they want to be outside the job, and who they want to be after the job.

While culture is changing, it is still difficult for men to feel safe to openly share their struggles, failures, and feelings.  Man UNcivilized and the Squad Room are committed to helping first responders become healthy and resilient by providing forums and opportunities to open up, connect and heal.

Check out The Squad Room podcast and Man UNcivilized for more information about retreats and encouragement.

Garrett TeSlaa is a lieutenant, with the Southern California Sheriff’s Department and host and founder of the SquadRoom podcast. He is also a TEDx speaker where he talks about the importance of second responders as well as a contributor to Law Enforcement Today and Police One.

Man uncivilized: Heroes Journey: November 9-12th- Jefferson Colorado 

Garrett TeSlaa: The importance of second responders | TED Talk 


Men’s Work

Garrett Teslaa explains what Men’s work is and how it can help reconnect first responders with themselves.