So, my work history is winding. I have worked at 1 job for 3 years as an entry level position. Last year I graduated college and moved into the field I got a degree in. I kept my job at the company in a part time fashion, usually 1-2 days a week. I didn't see it as a big woop di doo as I'd gotten used to being very busy. I also aquirred another job in my field as a developer.

Last august I was offered a promotion at my first job in order to entice me back however the salary didn't compare to my full time job so I declined, but have continued to work there. At the same time my full time job was providing shakily steady work and I feared being laid off so I quit and got another full time job as a developer for a second company.

In the end I see I made the right choice as after I left there was no more work for the rest of the year and I doubt my boss would have paid me to twiddle my thumbs, though he's never outright said he'd have let me go.

In January my 1st developer job called me stating that they'd landed a huge client and wanted me to spear head the project elevating me from a junior to senior developer and placing another junior dev under me. I jumped at the opportunity and we are now months into the project that I have sole control over. Here's the kicker, my part time job that I've kept all this time has now had a very senior position open and they are offering me the job. It comes with amazing pay, great benefits, and is much closer to home. I'd also be working with people I've known for years and doing something I truly love. Any other time I'd jump on this like a shark.

Now the catch, my current dev job is not something I can leave without lasting consequences. Not only am I the lead dev, but none of the other devs write in the language I use. The junior dev under me is in no way ready to take on a project like this. He is constantly in need of help writing even beginner code. If I leave I could end up costing my employer this client contract as I doubt he'll be able to deliver on time, even if he manages to replace me within the month, the dead line is literally a couple months away.

If I do decide to take the new job how should I approach my current boss?


5 Answers 5


The company you develop for were standing long before you, and will likely be standing after you too. Unfortunately (for them), this is business and you have to do what's right for yourself.

If you decide to take the new job, your approach should be professional and with a resignation letter. Offer to help in the transition and interviews in order to make it as smooth as possible for them - even if they decline your help, it would likely be appreciated.

Try your best to exit cleanly and they'll remember all the good things you did for them - write some handover documentation, aim to finish any key features, tidy up your code, etc. If they throw their toys out and see your resignation as you burning bridges, then it should reaffirm your decision to leave.


Decisions like this are tough, and very much a judgment call. Given that your question is more around how to discuss it with your current boss than whether you should take the job (which we couldn't answer for you anyway), I'd say it depends how good a relationship you have with them.

As far as them not being upset/disappointed/angry, you may have to accept that this is inevitable and nothing you can do will make them okay with it. That said, I think the following could help:

  1. Give as much notice as you can

Depending on how soon your old part-time job needs you to start, consider if you can give a longer notice period to your current full-time role to give your boss the best chance of replacing you without jeopardizing his contract. It's not your responsibility to do this, but if you can then it would go a long way to smoothing the transition, which should make your boss more comfortable.

You can also reassure your boss that you will help to find the right replacement and ensure a smooth handover to minimize disruption.

  1. Be appreciative of the opportunity

To some extent this is just paying lip service to your current boss, but if you emphasize how grateful you are for the opportunity they gave you, and try to make them understand why you need to take this new position (don't focus on the salary, maybe more on the location and it being something you're passionate about, since these are things your old boss can't compete with so they won't be tempted to counter-offer).

  1. Be firm

I'm sure some answers will stress that the business world is tough and if the situation were reversed, your boss probably wouldn't hesitate to let you go if he needed to, therefore you absolutely need to focus on your own career goals here and be a bit brutal if necessary. Don't let your boss try to talk you around if your mind is made up, but at the same time, there's no reason to be harsh on them. You may indeed burn your bridges, but if you handle the situation professionally and tactfully then I'm sure in the long-term they will respect your decision.


Tech jobs make you feel indispensable. It's fairly common for people in the industry to say things like, "If I leave, it ALL falls apart. This project heavily relies on me and they can't do it without me!" Especially with a first job that you got and got your first promotion in that makes you feel like you're accomplished, which you are, but not at the indispensable level.

That is a false statement. It's a management technique to make employees feel powerful and in control of the product. Once you leave, the project will carry on and complete on time with or without you.

With that said, turn in your notice. What if after this project, your company decides you're not so indispensable anymore and decide to part with you for someone cheaper? They wouldn't give you the same benefit of a doubt as you give them. So think of your career and let them worry about their projects.


We can't tell you what to do - only you can decide the tradeoffs between enjoying what you do, working with great people, salary differences, loyalty to existing jobs and so on. However:

Not only am I the lead dev, but none of the other devs write in the language I use. The junior dev under me is in no way ready to take on a project like this. He is constantly in need of help writing even beginner code.

unless you actually engineered the situation where you're the only person who has the skillset required to do the job, it's not your problem. Yes, you will very likely burn a bridge, but ultimately it's your employer's job to make sure he has sufficient staff with appropriate skills to fulfil his contracts. To be honest, a company that takes on a big contract with one junior (just because you get the title "lead", it doesn't magic up extra years of experience) and a complete beginner is asking for trouble. You could try to negotiate with both that you move once the deadline has passed at the current company, but then you also need to take into account what happens should the deadline not be met.

My personal opinion is that doing what you truly love is worth an awful lot and you need a very good reason to turn it down. Not wanting to leave a short-staffed employer in the lurch is not that good reason.


Depending on how many months away you are, I suggest you help finish this project on the side (weekends, afternoons) and ask to be employed as a contractor.

Ask for 1.5x your normal rate and that should cover it. It'll be cheaper for them and you'll be in their good books for helping them complete this project.

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