My employer (company B) is a consulting firm that provides subcontractors like myself to other companies in the aerospace and automotive sectors. I have been already two years in this company and have been considering taking a 4 month sabbatical for over a year now.

One of my complaints so far had been the short duration of the projects. Finally, a few months ago they assigned me to a new project for company A with a longer duration than previous ones: around a year. This would be great had it come much earlier, but at this moment all I want is to leave the company, have 3-4 months to devote to my family, friends, personal projects and (dare I say it) my own enjoyment. After that I plan on going back to work for a company other than B, as their remuneration is too low.

So I'm in the middle of the project, which upon completion would involve training employees from company B with the knowledge acquired from company A, with no motivation or intention to stay any longer. I have decided to hand in my resignation letter. Staying for a longer time is not something I'm considering.

The question is:

How can I do this without burning bridges and minimising damage to my relationship with company A?

I am not as concerned about my employer (company B) although I understand any advice will likely apply to both.


2 Answers 2


This very much depends on how company A sees you.

As a consultant developer myself, there are vast differences in how a client treats me. Either they treat me like one of their employees, or they treat me as a faceless "company B developer" consultant.

How they will respond to your leaving depends massively on both their general attitude towards employees and what they consider you to be.

Among the range of possibilities are:

  • They take personal offense that anyone working for them would want to leave, employee and consultant alike.
  • They take offense that you'd leave midway into a project as a consultant who signed up for the project specifically (as opposed to an indefinitely hired employee).
  • They understand that no employee (or consultant, who is still someone's employee) should be morally forced to stay employed any longer than they want to be.
  • They never expected you personally to stick around and are happy to trade you in for the next faceless consultant from company B

There is no universal answer for this. With some companies, you cannot minimize the impact whatsoever. With other companies, there is no impact to minimize. With other companies you may be able to minimize the impact but how you do so depends on how they see you.

Additionally, company B may restrict exactly how much you communicate to company A (e.g. not being allowed to tell them you are leaving company B), which further throws a wrench in your plan to mitigate the impact on company A.


You can't decide what will be the Company A's reaction. If they decide to blame you, so be it, there is nothing you can do.

However, what you can do is respect the strict rules of the procedure. Usually, the first person to talk to is your direct superior from Company B. Do it as soon as possible so both companies have time to work it out. He will then talk to Company A.

You still might have some time at Company A to get your stuff, share the knowledge so they keep on working with your work, to say goodbye and that there is no hard feelings from you.

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