Let’s face it. It is not easy to look for a job when you’re in your 50s or ’60s. You have 20 or 30 years of experience. Your compensation is in the top 10%. You are expensive.
I have been doing career coaching for a long time. I can tell you that age discrimination in high tech is real. However, there’s also tremendous amount of opportunities for folks in their 50s and 60s.
One of the biggest breakthrough in the last 5 years is the normalization of remote work due to COVID. I believe we’re entering the golden age for folks or in their 50s, 60s, 70s or even 80s to continue to make meaningful contribution and earned good compensation in the tech industry. There is a shortage of high quality, experienced tech workers and executives. You have tons to contribute.
However you need consider a different career model. It is what I called a portfolio career model.
In the last 5 years I have gotten to know more and more folks in their 50s and 60s becoming fractional CMO, fractional CFO, fractional director of product management, fractional VP of sales, fractional product manager, fractional head of operations, etc. They either work for themselves or join one of the fractional consulting form. At any given time they will hold two or three contracts.
This model provide them a lot of flexibility but at the same time a more fulfilling, lucrative, and secure career. As they often have two or three contracts at the same time, they are able to earn more than what they will have made at one full-time job.
They don’t need to deal with corporate politics because they are outside consultants.
The downside of this model are twofold. First, the income is not as steady as a regular job. They need to constantly look for the next contract. So there’s a sales pressure of landing the next gig. But, once you build up a small portfolio of clients, it becomes a lot easier. Second, they have to take care of their own medical insurance, which can be expensive. But, with 2 or 3 contracts, the medical insurance cost is only a small fraction of what they’re making. The upsides is way better than the extra insurance cost.
As you navigate your career in your 50s, 60s and beyond, you should seriously consider a portfolio career that give you flexibility, earning power, and continued career fulfillment without the politics and the stress of a full-time career.
If you need guidance on how to start and grow a portfolio career, fill out the coaching form on my coaching page for a free consultation.