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I've had a client for over 2.5 years, and the relationship has had its ups and downs. While I've learned a lot, I'm looking for new challenges and importantly, I feel I'm not being utilized to the fullest (or even 50%) extent.

I'm not going to quit overnight, but I am looking for an exit strategy that will work, without closing any doors or damning me amongst her network. The pay is good and in the future, I wouldn't mind for signing on to something again (perhaps a shorter contract!)

I had already started an MSc (last September), because the project was supposed to gear down, and then it didn't, and now I'm double shifting. I don't mean to sound rude, but I think she's purposefully extending it, perhaps because she enjoys the thrill of rushed deadlines, stress, etc. I don't. By ~May, I'll be done my course req's and will be moving on to research and writing - staying will be slowing me down considerably and costing me significant money (an extra semester could ding me for a couple month's wages easily, for instance). To make things more complicated, I'm worried that if I leave, most of the key staff will follow shortly thereafter (this has been mentioned to me a few times, and I think it's realistic). If this happens, my client is basically toast.

If I wanted out by say, May or September, what are the key steps I should take to exit gracefully and without malice? I should also be considering the team and the project itself, and how to plan for secession (there is no clear successor on the team).

migrated from pm.stackexchange.com Mar 2 '18 at 12:10

This question came from our site for project managers.

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    Truck factor = 1 – trashpanda Mar 2 '18 at 12:28
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    You shouldn't worry about what other people will do when you leave. – Donald Mar 2 '18 at 20:12
  • @Ramhound normally I'd say this is true but the logical connection will be obvious, and I am the PM (this is why I had posted in PM SE earlier). – Gryph Mar 2 '18 at 20:23
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Be honest about it and indicate that you really want to continue with your MSc.

Talk to your manager and be upfront about it and state that this is important for you personally and for your future and that you don't want to postpone it any more (imply that you may not get the chance again). As an addition, try to indicate how long this will take and imply that you might want to continue with this client afterwards.

Being upfront with the manager will allow her to plan for the future and maintain your good relationship (since you're not simply walking out).

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    Straight forward and honest is usually the best approach. – Mister Positive Mar 2 '18 at 12:28

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