Does social status still matter when you reach a certain age?

Lucy Kellaway:

Jonathan Shaw, a former marketing executive, says the reason is all about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — at the top of which sits some sort of self-actualisation.

“I think lots of us as we get older start to question whether our lives have been well spent,” he says. “Teaching brings a different status and one that’s more relevant to a 50-year-old me than a 25-year-old me.”

Lara Agnew, a former documentary maker who now teaches English, thinks age had changed her idea of what status means.

“I think when we are young we imagine status comes from the outside. The approval, the promotion, the competition — all account for a ‘rise’, as it were, as viewed from the outside.

“Now I am ancient, I realise that my ideas about status come much more from the inside. My own ideas about my contribution, my worth, are what count as status.”