Maximum age to change your job

40 posts in this topic

Posted

I've heard it said that 45 is the maximum age for changing your job in Germany. After that, companies just aren't interested. Is this really the case? I'm 43 and work in IT. While I'm happy enough working now with a very small IT consultancy firm, I don't see myself staying here until retirement and am looking into moving to a larger, more financially solid, "safer" company.

 

Right now I'm earning good money and work on interesting projects but don't want to leave it too late before moving.

 

Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated!

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Posted

It gets harder as you get older so don't quit unless you have something else lined up.

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Posted

Can your skills and know-how be transfered easily or do you work in some kind of niche market? Another option could be to become self-employed, earn good money and retire early :).

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Posted

 

It gets harder as you get older so don't quit unless you have something else lined up.

 

Ha Ha. I just did that, in my mid 40s. The company that's now offered me a new job wants me to go permanent instead of contracting. So I might find myself unemployed after all. I don't see how I can "go permie" again. Early retirement for me then if HR won't back down.

 

 

Another option could be to become self-employed, earn good money and retire early .

 

Unless you're contracting long term (with a long contract) for a company you really trust, it can be stressful (people tell me). In the old days (early 90s) contractors generally only worked via an agency who both got the job for you and handle payments. They act as a buffer, paying your monthly invoice to you whilst they wait several months for the company to pay up (with an inflated invoice so they can get their cut). I stopped using agencies in 1993 and went direct to employers. I made it part of my contract that they had to pay up in 30 days. It allows you to earn more, somewhere between what you earned via an agency, and what the agency themselves would charge. More risky though, you need a strong balance to handle delayed payments. I had a year where the last 3 months never got paid, so my next year's quarterly tax was based on a 9-month income, so I was underpaying, then the next year once the invoices all caught up, I eventually was pre-paying tax on a 15-month income. It was only the third year where it got back to normal. It's the 5-figure unexpected tax demands from Finanzamt that can screw you if you're not operating a buffer fund. Wow, that was a ramble and a half.

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Posted

I changed jobs in IT at 46. However, the company I moved to had known me for years as I had been working with their hardware & OS at the previous employer for 10+ years - also they were just about looking for anyone who could spell U N I X.

 

In the meantime things have changed - having been taken over a few years ago those of us who are left and over 40 are hanging on like grim death...

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Posted

That's a key part of switching in our 40s, our contacts from the past. It's way easier getting a job with a company when you worked in the trenches with the person who's now an IT director. As is happening with me right now. The VP of engineering at my old company is the guy with whom the two of us built a system from the ground up, after which it expanded to a 20 person department. Those kind of contacts you gotta hold onto, via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or whatever. Those birthday wishes and funny pictures in their feed keep you in their minds.

 

As for hanging on like grim death, yep, that's most of us in our 40s. I shudder to think what it'll be like in 10 years when we're in our 50s. You're supposed to be very high up the chain by then. Those of us who wanted to earn more but keep our hands dirty followed the equally well paying contractor path. I earn more than the VP of engineering who's hiring me back, and my title is only senior/lead software engineer. His job title is more age appropriate though and probably feels safer applying for another such job being in his 40s than I do.

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Posted

 

Can your skills and know-how be transfered easily or do you work in some kind of niche market? Another option could be to become self-employed, earn good money and retire early .

 

it is a bit of a niche market, which means Inhave very good chances when a job does turn up. there some options out there at the moment, in smaller german banks.

 

not everone can move up the corporate ladder, i'm wondering how older it workers are viewed in germany.

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Posted

From my experience hiring and that of friends I have in the industry Id say that Dereks point about age appropriate titles is the key. It isnt hard to get or change jobs in the late 40s as long as the career makes sense.

 

A 50 year old with 5 years experience is odd (what did you do all this time?) as is someone saying they want to be a junior web designer at that age. Its not impossible, but its a hard sale to make. On the other hand a senior developer or someone looking to move from dev to project management probably wouldnt cause anyone to bat an eyelid.

 

Generally I think its the same as most other countries. If you are still a junior after 30 years experience people tend to think you arent very good, but if you have a solid cv lots of experience and sell yourself well then age is a benefit.

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Posted

 

As for hanging on like grim death, yep, that's most of us in our 40s. I shudder to think what it'll be like in 10 years when we're in our 50s.

 

I turned 60 mid-year & am what they call an individual contributor post-10876-13559482898482.gif

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Posted

I would think its easier to change jobs in the same industry, or something industry-adjacent than it would be to make a total change in industry/career direction - at any age.

 

A colleague of mine was in their early forties when they sadly left us and made the switch. But then again, they had been with the company for a very long time, and there was probably a little bit of "If I don't make the change now while I'm relatively young, I might miss the boat altogether." I'm not sure what they do now in their new job, but I have a feeling it is industry-adjacent and they were very much in demand at their age.

 

I'm not that many years far behind them, and so come the big 4-0, I will no doubt be thinking more about whether, when and how to make one final big career jump - then that's me done.

 

Given the low birth rate and the age of the new workforce when they finally leave education, I don't get the feeling Germany is the worst place in the world to be changing jobs when you're no longer a thirtysomething. Germany is finally waking up to the concept of "lifelong learning" as it gets hurriedly added as a buzzword to PowerPoints all across the land... So to put it crudely, there is at last recognition, that yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

 

One thing which is odd, is that despite all the focus on Diversity over the last years, or the slick boasts on corporate websites, why is it that whenever we outsource to consulting/auditing companies, guess who they send us as Reps? The same cookie-cutter demographic time and time again... Attack of the clones all neatly falling into a very narrow age range. Its so spookily sci-fi :-)

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Posted

I am a Quereinsteiger, same age as OP and at 38 I changed careers; I made a hobby (programming) into my occupation and I am quite sure that having that (self-taught) skill and 10+ years as a systems analyst/project manager at a blue chip IT company on top of that stood me in good stead; compared to some unproven IT student.

 

That said, 5 years on, I'm not sure if I'd manage another career change like that (for one, I ran out of hobbies, unless forum trolling can be done for 50 grand a year). So yeah, your experience and generally different outlook on life compared to that of a 20-year-old may get you employoed, even if you'll be a bit more expensive

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Posted

German age limits

 

Age to filter between loser, blue collar and white collar: 10

Age to choose your field: 18-20

Age to change field you chose: 25 or less

Age to join a corporation: 30 or less

Age you are tired of the corporation and try to join a less stressful company: 40 or less. Changing aftet that mostly implies a downgrade.

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If you are still a junior after 30 years experience people tend to think you arent very good, but if you have a solid cv lots of experience and sell yourself well then age is a benefit.

 

True dat. I think if you're still something like a senior software engineer in your 40s as a permie it also looks a little unusual, but if you're at that level still as a contractor, it's fairly normal. I rose through the ranks to SSE as a permie by about 26 or 27, kept getting asked if I wanted to be lead engineer and during my yearly reviews where I saw myself in 5 years. It seemed that if you didn't see yourself as a manager you were strange. That's where becoming a contractor lets you keep the job you like doing but still let your salary level continue it's rise. Best of both worlds if you don't want to be a manager. I studied CS because I wanted to program/design, not because I want to manage a bunch of people and all their problems.

 

I compare being a manager of a software department as being the manager of a sausage making line. You're so far away from the actual nitty gritty of what's being done, it doesn't really matter what the workers are doing. You're in budget and planning meetings, interviewing, reviewing, firing, resolving disputes, looking at boxes in something like Microsoft project. It's so far away from software it might as well be a sausage factory. Yes you're still talking tech but it's at a high (and boring) level.

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Posted

Just remembered some people's stories, don't know why I didn't think of it earlier.

 

Dude #1 - at about 28 he quit being a software engineer and went to Madagascar to become a marine biologist. Two years later, back in Scotland software engineering.

 

Dude #2 - at about 38 he quit being a software engineer and became an estate agent (like his wife). Two years later, back in software engineering.

 

Dudette #1 - at about 35 she quit being a software QA engineer and went off to be a travel writer. Went all around the world doing it. Three years later, back in Seattle doing QA for Microsoft.

 

That's pretty unusual. The only three people I've encountered who quit their computing jobs and were all tempted back by a good reliable income.

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Posted

I changed jobs at the ripe age of 54 (albeit not in the IT branch). Actually found the job on TT!!

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Posted

Life is never so black and white. You dont have to be a manager of a 400 man dev department. A team lead with 5-10 reports is perfectly respectable at 45 and leaves a huge potential for hands on.

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Yeah, you should be able to be hands on with only 5-10 reports.

 

On the other hand, if you're in the wrong company, a team lead with only 5 reports like my current team lead, can get nothing done. Here's a snapshot of the calendar of the team lead in the department I'm leaving at the end of this month. This is a normal week.

 

post-8795-13559527698903.png

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Posted

I'll admit that being a software developer at 43 wasn't what I imagined I'd be when I was a wee nipper, or even when I got out of university. And yes, as a permie there's a very visible glass ceiling in actual hands-on coding, unless you're one of those guru type guys. Or extremely lucky. On the other hand, if you want to do a job you enjoy and money isn't important...

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Life is never so black and white. You dont have to be a manager of a 400 man dev department. A team lead with 5-10 reports is perfectly respectable at 45 and leaves a huge potential for hands on.

 

Absolutely - people change their minds, paths or go off on sabbaticals and sometimes start afresh years later. Besides, age-appropriate doesn't always have to be:

 

older + experience + skills + career progression = (more) people management responsibility

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Posted

Most depressing thread of the day.

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