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I worked in a company for more than a year and then my boss decided to shut down the company and found me a job before doing it. I thanked him and accepted the job that I was offered, but after a month, he came up with a freelance job offer to me and I felt like I owe him a favor and because of that, I accepted it. I have been working as a freelancer besides my full time job but it feels exhausting and I feel like I can't focus on my full time job because of thinking about my freelance job. I feel stressed because of deadlines and problems of it.

What should I do? Should I feel guilty if I decide not to continue working on my boss' project?

closed as off-topic by gnat, AndreiROM, Kent A., jcmeloni, Adam V Dec 31 '15 at 18:41

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    It was generous of him to get you a lead for a new job. The freelance gig was not an obligation, but you accepted it and started on it-- presumably without any expectations set on scope and time ? It should have been communicated earlier (before you even accepted it), but it is never too late to make clear how much time you're willing to spend on the freelance gig or even to start winding it down. It would not be sporting to quit abruptly if you can at all avoid it. – teego1967 Jan 1 '16 at 21:24
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I do believe you owe your ex-boss loyalty. Let's not talk about ethics though. From just a pragmatic side of things, this relationship is useful for future bridges. They were your boss once, they got you a job thrice, and they may have other connections for the future.

Just talk to the ex-boss. Explain your human weaknesses to them, how this is exhausting. Even God understands that one can be "Willing but the flesh is weak." A solution will be found. I found myself in a similar circumstance and the solution for use was to reduce the freelancing workload.

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    You can even help him find another freelancer. After all, you have the most thorough knowledge of the required skill sets. – Wesley Long Dec 30 '15 at 18:24
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First, consider what you want to do. Then go talk to your ex-boss one on one and face to face, and be honest with him.

Don't think of it so much as loyalty as it is maintaining, fostering, and growing a business relationship. This person thought enough of you that he found you a job before shutting down the company. This tells me that he sees something of value in you. He has the potential to be of value to you, so don't throw that away.

Start the conversation with something like this.

Thanks for taking some time to talk with me. I truly appreciate you finding me a job before the company was shut down. Also, thank you for the freelance work. However, between my full time job and the freelance work, I'm really feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

What you say next depends upon what you want to do. Do you want to continue doing the freelance work, but perhaps at a different pace or fewer hours spent on the work each week? Do you want to abandon the freelance work altogether, which has the potential of eliminating any future freelance work.

One of the unknowns, or at least not stated in your post, is how long do you expect the freelance work to continue. A few more weeks, a few more months, a few more years, something else. If you don't know, ask. Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the work he needs you to do will be ending soon.

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No, you don't need to owe your ex-boss loyalty. You may wish to be nice to him but that is another story.

Healthy boundaries would be a starting point as if he gave you another project to do what would you say? Consider what do you have time to do and what are the priorities in your life.

If you decide not to continue working on your former boss' project, guilt would come from having some beliefs that I'd highly consider whether or not they are worth keeping in light of your behaviour here.

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