Since I graduated college 5 years ago I have been working in a nice job doing software development. It is a good company and most to their credit, they let me spend one of those years working from home in a different city for 1 year for family reasons. It didn’t really cost them anything to let me do that, but my boss did consider it a big risk, and made me assure him that I would indeed come back after 1 year (which I did, 6 months ago).

However this job has very little to do with the career that I studied. I feel anxious that I am going to lose all connection to that career if I continue in this job. I also see little room for promotion or further career development in this job – I feel like I have learned all there is to learn. I know everyone in the company and don’t really see any other jobs here that I aspire to: my current job is the only one I find remotely interesting in this entire company of 150 employees.

Still, I haven’t been actively looking for a job. But I was recently offered one with a much smaller company (< 5 employees) from somebody that I’ve known for years. The company is fully related to what I studied (green building / environmental type industry). The pay is the same, plus a small amount of revenue sharing.

I feel excited by the risk of growing a smaller company, and of broadening my experience base. By the nature of the job I will be forced to wear many different hats and learn immeasurably more about so many interesting fields compared to my current job, where I’ve basically stopped learning. However I feel guilt for quitting my current company just 6 months after they let me work remotely and am worried that by quitting so soon (?) after, I will totally burn that bridge.

I have become a pretty vital employee in my current company and I think telling them that I’m considering another offer will come as a bit of a shock to them. I imagine they will offer me a raise to keep me, and I would seriously consider staying for a raise of 30% or so. Everyone has their price right? But what would even happen if I accepted more money to stay? They would think I was ready to jump ship any time, and this new company will certainly forget about me if I refuse this offer (they have plenty of other applicants waiting behind me). There is a 50/50 chance I will have to quit 6 months from now anyway because my wife may study in another city. I assume quitting again after threatening the first time will just make me look even more like a jerk. I'd have to quit the new company after 6 months as well, but at least this way I will have the experience in my career to be able to find a job more easily when I'm forced to move to a city where I don't know anyone.

Anyway sorry for all the words, a lot of factors here, I really appreciate anyone who can recognize any part of this and can tell me your experiences or just your common sense thoughts from what I’ve written.

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    One thing to bear in mind is that if you have spent five years in one job since graduating, you have already given this company much more dedication than anyone would expect from a fresh graduate. In my experience it is much more common to only spend a year or two in your first job. – Carson63000 Feb 17 '16 at 0:19
  • That is a really good point too. I remember when I started thinking to myself I need to at least put in 2 years in order to do 'the right thing', and thinking how scary just 2 years sounded. Now it's 5. I need to get out. – Marcus Lambeau Feb 17 '16 at 3:43

If you make the decision to move on to another job that suits your better, do it. Remember, your career is exactly that: your career. If the shoe was on the other foot and your current employer needed to shed staff, they would do so. This isn't callous, it's merely a part of doing business. Guilt doesn't pay the bills :)

So if you have found a job you like with a salary package you like, then don't be worried about feeling guilty about moving on.

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    Thank you for your answer, you are right I need to focus on my own career first. I think I will pull the trigger on this. – Marcus Lambeau Feb 17 '16 at 3:41

One must always follow their dreams and passion. This is where you will likely do the best and get internal satisfaction. It is the best time for you to quit and try this for a year or two. Worst case , you can always fall back on your previous field. Software industry always needs people and i am sure you will be able to land up a job even if you came back after 2-3 years.

You don't owe the company anything. They won't ask if you if they need to fire you. When you actually tell your manager that you are quitting to go to your preferred field ( if you tell ) , he would be able to understand. The feeling of guilt and attachment with company and colleagues are like a hangover. It is temporary and transient and it gets out of the system within a month or two. You should not worry about it , as it is natural for humans.

Your career is your responsibility and you should make sure that in future when you look back , there is no regret of missing an opportunity like this.

Best Wishes.

  • Thank you so much, that really helped and gave me the confidence that this is the right decision – Marcus Lambeau Feb 17 '16 at 3:41

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