Why are developers so often unhappy when they become managers?

Why do many developers become unhappy and unsuccessful as managers?

There was an interesting conversation on Twitter yesterday around this.

My buddy referenced the Peter Principle that in most organization hierarchies, every person rises through promotion until they reach a level of incompetence. Once they reach that level they're done rising.

I think there's obviously some truth to that. In fact, given that the dominant organization hierarchy is Developer => Senior Developer => Manager (of some flavor), you can say this is objectively true.

I think though that there is a flaw in the hierarchy itself.

I feel like maybe roughly 20% of developers will thrive as managers - as non-developers - but I think that 80% will thrive as developers with minimal management components.

I think that the primary career track for developers should be that you become more and more productive as a developer, increasing the value that you provide, and move up a career ladder where you're earning more income, becoming more productive, and more valuable without getting into management.

What do you think?