The company I work for is a mid-sized multinational organisation in the engineering sector in Asia. This is my first job, and I've been working here close to 3 years. Without going into details, I have lost interest in the profession and cannot wait to leave the company.

I have been accepted to a graduate program in the US, one that I intend to leverage to change careers to something I will enjoy. My program starts mid August, and I want to hand in my resignation in mid June, so I may serve a 1 month notice (contract stipulation) and spend some time in my home country, before I go on to my grad studies.

The catch here is I got involved in a high stakes project a couple of months back, with little choice. This project is pretty much a do-or-die for my department's HOD, and hence my boss.I am pretty much the only person, apart from my boss, who knows the nuts and bolts of the project. I feel that this project will be significantly delayed (which means a fail) in my absence.

I am afraid that when I inform my boss about my resignation, the reaction will be negative and that I will lose all goodwill with this employer. For instance, I may be unable to get a good testimonial/referral. I feel that this may dent my future job search and that the period during my 1 month notice will be made difficult with pressure to wrap up before I leave.Will I be chastised for not informing them earlier? Should I shorten my vacation in my home country? I do not want to...


Obviously we don't know your boss or how they will take it but chances are yes it will hurt the relationship. That said however without trying to sound like an arse, it's not really your problem

Firstly you didn't sponsor this project, as you say yourself you were put on it without any real say in the matter. If you are so crucial that the project will fail without you then that's a classic case of the bus factor and it's your bosses job to account for that and take whatever reasonable steps they can to mitigate it.

Secondly, while references might be impacted by this I'd suggest the impact is likely to be minimal since you are moving on initially to study (which you've already been accepted to and academic institutions are unlikely to be seeking references from employers anyway) and then into a completely different profession so references from your old one are unlikely to be too significant a factor. Presumably your graduate program lasts at least a couple of years so it would be more likely that you'd be using references from that when applying for work after graduation and in any case once you've got a job in the new profession under your belt they will become your reference for the next one.

You're possibly correct in that even if they take the news about you leaving well there may be increased pressure to either complete the project or do a significant hand over in your notice period (I speak from experience there!) but you just have to remind yourself that it's only a month and in the grand scheme of your life and career a month is basically negligible so it's not worth getting overly worked up about it.


First, no one is indispensable. People and projects move on faster than you think. The effect of relationship with your bosses will depend on several other factors like how was it to begin with and not solely on the fact that you left.

Secondly, if you are pursuing graduate program in US, you will have ample of opportunity during your studies and your internships to build trust (and eventually references) for your future job opportunities.

For most people in Asia (just because of distance), spending time with family before they move to US for education/work is very important. Trips to home are very expensive and mostly unaffordable for grad students. Give lot of thought on these factors before deciding to giving up your vacation time at home!

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.