I'm trying to decide when the best time to move on from my current job is. I started two years ago, full-time. I moved to another city for this job to improve my skill-set and get an increase in pay. My skill-set is strongly improved.

The biggest problem for me is that the company is only a couple of people. The owner, myself, and a fairly new employee - only hired about a month and a half or so ago. We had another guy here, but he left about 3 months ago.

I feel that my skills have improved enough that I could easily find other employment (I get frequent offers from headhunters for a lot more money - I am paid at only about the 15th percentile for my field and the last starting offer an employer offered was about 1.5x what I'm making now, with three weeks of vacation), or easily branch off into my own business (I have a large chunk of money saved up and could live off of savings for months or even a year if I budgeted correctly). I feel the company culture doesn't encourage vacation days - I haven't taken more than one or two in the past two years. I certainly could, but it's such a tiny company that any time I took off would be damaging to the company I feel.

So I'm not in an optimal situation, but I don't have any animosity towards my employer at all. I just want to figure out the most tactful, helpful way to exit without totally screwing the owner over. Simply put, I don't see any more real growth at this company.

How do I exit in the best way possible? My current goal was spending a few months training the new guy before quitting.

Am I wrong in feeling like I'm abandoning the owner?

  • 17
    I feel compelled to point out that unless you're superhuman, any "damage" the company would suffer from you taking vacation days would pale in comparison to the productivity loss of not taking any vacation days in two years. One other point of advice: as a general rule, consider employment as a simple business transaction exchanging your time for the employer's money. Becoming emoitionally invested in a company is rarely a good idea.
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:50
  • 1
    I don't think this is a duplicate, because a company of just 3 people is a different situation.
    – DanMan
    Sep 27, 2016 at 17:05
  • If you're ready to leave, you could ask your boss for an salary increase, with 3 weeks of vacation. If he says "no", he'll know why you leave :) But he could say "yes" because he wants to keep you and knows how much you worth :P
    – user48138
    Sep 27, 2016 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


Short answer: Your career is exactly that. Your career.

While we often feel obligated to stay in a work environment because we are worried about "abandoning" them, you need to realise that you have to look after your own career and family. You are clearly underpaid for what you do, and this is NOT your current employer looking after you. While yes, they have constraints on how much they can spend on a resource, you are not responsible for that.

If you feel underpaid and that you need to move forward, you can do so. Simply say to your boss something like:

I have enjoyed my time here, but it is time for me to move on to other things. I feel that I cannot really advance my career here. I will ensure that I hand over everything as well as I can, so that everything can be picked up smoothly by any new resources.

Also do remember, your boss is in business. If he felt that he did not need to keep you on, rest assured that you would not have a job.

  • 12
    THIS. I will never understand why people feel that they are obligated to spend their lives slaving for the same company. If the situation was reversed would they think the same way?
    – bobbyalex
    Jun 8, 2015 at 8:43
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    The only thing to add is, if salary is an issue, mention it. Be open about what your reasons for wanting to move on are. If you're good, and they're offering higher wages to new hires, I'd be surprised if they don't make some offer to try to keep you (e.g. pay rise, maybe even more variety in projects if possible). If they don't or can't, no loss. Jun 8, 2015 at 10:03
  • 6
    @user568458 Something I have learned: when you decide to go, go. It's almost always a combination of factors that bring you to leaving. Also, if you had to fight for a raise this time, you will EVERY time. Just move on.
    – Jane S
    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:13
  • 1
    Agreed, its better to leave when you have decided. You will feel obligated to stay back for longer when you accept a raise.
    – GoodSp33d
    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:24
  • 2
    comments like "...if you don't understand such simple things..." are usually unproductive and unlikely to lead to someone "updating their models" :) Jun 8, 2015 at 12:40

You need to set a timeline. Set out to provide a certain number of hours training for the new person. Once that has been achieved then start the search for a new position. It must remain secret so as not to tip your hand. You need to make the goal a solid benchmark (100 hours of training, or after showing them how to do x number of job functions).

Don't make the goal something more squishy such as having the new person be able to be able to demonstrate they can do most of the job functions. If it is hard to measure, you may let your willingness to be fair make it impossible to leave.

Once that benchmark has been achieved start the search for a acceptable position. Only quit after returning a signed written offer. You have time on your side to make a good choice.

  • What if there is no new person? Or if the one they have is just a junior employee and not ready at all?
    – DanMan
    Sep 27, 2016 at 17:03
  • Not your responsibility. Every business must have a plan to recover from an employee leaving. Sep 27, 2016 at 17:21

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