If you want to be a boss, you have to step on the gas early and hit the ground running right after graduation. Every successful manager knows this from personal experience. But when they reach the peak of their career, many managers feel the need to have a less stressful life again. They want more time for family and hobbies, and the work-life balance is gaining in importance.

In addition, Darwin’s Law also applies in the professional world: the younger and stronger ones claim more and more space for themselves, while you yourself are getting older and are no longer able to withstand everyday stress as well. High time to dare new ways! For example, change from leadership to consulting. I too currently have a very stressful but cool job as an executive. But I’m also thinking about whether I’ll still be able to handle this job when I’m over 50.


Current salary studies confirm this: If you want to have a career and make big money, you have to hurry. Because the fastest climb up the career ladder takes place in the first 10 years. Likewise, the highest salary jumps are made between the ages of 30 and 40. Among other things, this is due to the fact that it is usually at this age that the decision is made whether to take on management positions and personnel responsibility.

However, the earnings curve does not continue upward for long. As the analysis of 250,000 data records shows, the maximum salary of 58,539 euros is reached on average at the age of 52. After that, salaries fall. And not only in Germany. A study by the U.S. provider of salary software Payscale from 2019 has shown that even in the U.S. managers in the 50th earn the most.

Of course, there are exceptions. Chief physicians, for example, are also quite high on the earnings scale at an older age. Or scientists who habilitate and realize their career plans much later. Even top managers with personnel responsibility for many employees can enjoy high salaries practically until the end of their career band. Nevertheless, after the age of 50, large career and salary leaps are hardly possible. Many then go from stressful full-time jobs to part-time or change employers. But why not become a consultant in your own company?


Through their life experience and many years on the job, managers reaching the age of 50 have gained valuable experience, knowledge and skills that their younger colleagues do not have. They have authority and enjoy great respect in the company. A perfect basis for becoming consultants and training junior managers. As they rise to top management level, young managers need not only stamina, but also experienced mentors and trainers. And who better to impart leadership skills than someone who has made a career as a top manager himself?

This decision requires a lot of courage and foresight, but the math works out. Executives who have switched to consulting emphasize that their lives have become much less stressful and still filled with meaning. They recommend taking this step in good time. Instead of treading water and being overtaken more and more often by younger ones, rather make a clean handover in time and take on new responsible functions.

Training new generation of managers, imparting leadership skills is a great challenge and important task in professional and personal terms. It requires experience, personal skills, methodical knowledge and good communication skills. So when advancing one’s career becomes increasingly difficult, one simply has to change perspective and change the direction of personal development. Be ready for new challenges and switch from leadership to consulting.


While an older age does not automatically mean a career stop, the chances of further promotions decrease significantly over time. At the same time, after long and hard years of work, more emphasis is placed on a work-life balance. Adapting to changing circumstances in good time and redefining one’s professional role is enormously important. Specialists and managers over 50 bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise and can find new professional fulfillment in training and advising young managers. By understanding a company as a complex organism, generational change can be compared to healthy cycles. Becoming an interface between the generations and taking on the promotion and training of young managers is an honorable task for older employees. I will see what I will be doing in 20 years. I, too, will be 50 then – perhaps I will become a consultant or use my part-time commitment at the university and educate students. The time will bring new horizons!


Image: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/frau-silhouette-sonnenuntergang-570883/


I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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