I am currently employed by a small market research firm (7 employees) and the firm is a really close-knit community. I like my co-workers, including my boss. Especially my boss is a very nice person - giving good advice and when my father died last year he was very tolerant about unscheduled days off etc.

Unfortunately, I feel the need to move on because I cannot improve myself at this job - there are too few customers to warrant new / different projects. Also, my girlfriend is stuck at a really bad workplace - but the chance that she gets a job in this region is bad.

But I am feeling intensely disloyal when considering quitting and I am really uncertain how to tell it to my boss.

Also, I am doing a very special job which cannot be done by anyone else in the company - so my boss needs to find a replacement fast. To clarify this: I am a statistician and the only one in my firm. Worse, my work is a very important step and all people are need me to finish my work, before they can start. Other people know bits and pieces of my work - but they don't have the kind of training I have. Even when I am ill or on vacation I am remoting in and doing some work, because I don't want the whole firm to wait for me.

I am living in Germany, so I have 3 months’ notice period.

  • 1
    Hi Christian, welcome to The Workplace. While I sympathize with your situation it's not clear to me, what kind of help you're actually looking for. What, besides quitting, are you trying to accomplish by talking to your boss?
    – CMW
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:28
  • @CMW: I would like to get some advice an how to raise the question without causing bad feelings and also some advice on the "unique position" problem. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:35
  • Both common problems that a lot of people face. I'm not sure we can tell you how to not cause bad feelings from your colleagues, because we really don't know them and how they react to what. But to the issue of vacating a 'unique position', I bet there are people here who know exactly what to do in that situation. Mind clarifying the question in your post via an edit and maybe break up the text into paragraphs so it's a bit easier to read?
    – CMW
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 17:39
  • @CMW, sure will do. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 18:17

4 Answers 4


I guess you answered your one part of own question on how to explain to your co-workers/boss.

You have to keep moving in your life and do things which you enjoy.

" If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much. " - Steve Jobs

I am doing a very special job which cannot be done by anyone else in the company - so my boss needs to find a replacement fast.

You can't magically become a recruiter, but you can put out a good word. Email your friends who need work and might have the experience necessary to do your work. You may not always succeed in replacing yourself, but if you can tell your boss about your efforts, she or he will know you at least attempted to help.

The Office Will Still Exist Without You

The business will survive and the damage your departure may seem to cause will suddenly appear minor once you leave. So don't consider it the end of the world.

Don't feel disloyal, Always remember," love your job but don't love your company, because you may not know when your company stops loving you. " - Abdul Kalam.

  • Thanks for yor comment! The Idea about putting out the word is a good idea - I have still good relations to a nearby university, so there might be a solution. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 18:22
  • 4
    +1 : Don't feel illoyal, Always remember... Excellent advice - take it from one who knows this, first hand.
    – Vector
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 0:46
  • Can you work remotely? I was in the same position (I moved continents) and they kept employing me remotely Commented May 9, 2015 at 19:48

tl;dr: You seem to take too much of the company's problems onto yourself. You should be concentrating on your new opportunity.

Are you positive the outcome you mention is actually accurate? You might be surprised to see people there won't feel that much of a hard hit after your departure.

Leaving that aside, work is work and leaving a job for better opportunities is part of your work indeed. Feelings should be spent sparingly during work, otherwise the outcome will be sloppy. I am sure your boss and coworkers understand this, and won't try to stop you from reaching out for a better opportunity. If they don't, be sure to point them towards this site, and we'll answer their How do I recover from having an important colleague leave the job? question :-)

Regarding your important job in your company: if your boss does indeed need to find a replacement fast, he will. This is not a matter for you to worry about, after all. If you do have contacts that would be able to fill in the gap you leave, a recommendation won't be badly received. Just don't let those feelings get in the way and somehow start a recruitment campaign on your own.

  • 2
    Not sure I agree with this position: It's always good to try and leave a job on the best possible terms. Bad partings often come back to haunt you in surprising ways, not to mention that for the next job you're going to need references.
    – Vector
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 0:52
  • I'm in no way recommending him to leave a bad impression. What I'm recommending him is to not exaggerate.
    – user11026
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 0:59
  • Agreed - it is easy to exaggerate your own importance, etc. When you die, the world will still go on, just not for you... :) (I mean the collective "you", not you in particular)
    – Vector
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 1:03
  • @comeAndGo Death is a extraordinal circumstance... My job is quite specialized and you need to train people for it - so leaving after 1.5 years is annoying, because you reach peak efficiency only after a year or so, Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 8:06

The other answers here are excellent, I just wanted to add another perspective that they don't seem to have covered.

In my experience, when you are working in a group that is close-knit, they are likely to care about you and be supportive when your life goals no longer line up with the opportunities the company can give you.

When I left a job I had been at for a year and a half (not that long I know, but a large portion of my relatively short career), when I told my manager that I was moving away and would have to resign at the end of the month he was disappointed, but was happy for me to pursue my life goals and move onto something that was a better fit for me. The product managers were sad to lose me from the team that worked on their products, but both volunteered to give me a good recommendation for any future jobs. As far as I am aware there were no hard feelings about me leaving and overall they were very kind and supportive of my decision.

tl;dr: I think you may be feeling more guilt than is necessary and your colleagues may be supportive of you and your decisions.


Quitting a job is really hard, especially if you care about the people you work with. A few things that other commenters here haven't touched on:

  1. If you feel you are stagnating in the role, then by staying you are doing a disservice to the company. They could and should find someone who loves the job and cares about it (the way you used to) and will look to grow in it

  2. Although it may be hard to find a similar statistician in Germany, there are now excellent tools to outsource / allow people to work remotely increasing the pool of candidates for your employer. With three months notice, you can help find them a suitable candidate and transition the role adequately

  3. The best way to quit is to be honest with them. Positive, concise but honest about what you want in your career and why its best you moved on. In my experience watching a lot peoples careers evolve, many people have felt indispensable and overly loyal but then regret leaving afterwards

  4. Prepare a detailed transition plan including a list of attributes they will need in a candidate to replace you. That will help the company and allow you to leave on a good note.

I prepared a much more comprehensive quitting checklist here which you may find helpful: http://tapwage.com/cheatsheets/2015/05/07/7-things-to-do-before-you-resign

Hope that helps

  • I don't understand what you're trying to say with #3
    – zfrisch
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 20:03
  • I just meant that if OP was concerned about how to message this resignation to his employer, the best tack is to be honest about the reasons for leaving, and if he is, they will likely understand and not view it as being disloyal. Hope that clarifies Commented May 8, 2015 at 0:30

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