This article explores the frustrations of men - both 'local' and 'international' - who work in the development sector in Papua New Guinea. It explores the views of men not because they are the only ones to express such dissatisfaction, but because their perspectives have not been documented, other than in informal conversations as occur over drinks or messaging platforms. These multiple narratives show how a combination of pay variations, different cultural vantage points, and bureaucratic dynamics leaves both constituencies feeling inconsequential, diminished, and disempowered. The research extends previous work with women. The article reflects a contribution to three bodies of literature which examine, respectively, the professional middle class in Melanesia; linkages between colonialism and racialised hierarchies reproduced in and through development; and the hierarchies of aid and professionalised international development, structures that have been likened to an 'aid chain'.