I'm a software developer for a company in Russia. For a couple of weeks I really fell out of schedule, and instead of the office's usual 10 sharp I arrive at about 12 for reasons that fall within things I have control over - long story short, I am a very untimely person in general, sadly.

Today, I failed to show up because, well, of a good reason. However, I did phone in and say I'll be at work, except late - which didn't live up due to the circumstances. I have no idea why wasn't I fired yet, honestly, and I do not like the way I behave myself. I have requested a 2-week vacation to sort life out, but have gotten no reply yet. Would it be a more reasonable idea to resign instead of waiting for the response not to burden the company?

Should I test everyone's patience by taking the vacation and hopefully sorting my timeliness then?

P. S. I think the reason such behaviour is tolerated is because I generally don't mind overtime, but still, I feel rather immoral acting the way I do.

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    Should you quit your job or not is not something we can answer. The ethics of the decision are off topic. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 10 '17 at 14:46
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    Well if you didn't even receive a warning, I would say they probably just don't mind you coming late as soon as the job is done... so why quit ? – Laurent S. Jul 10 '17 at 14:48
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    What makes you think that quitting this job will resolve the root issue? Work out your problem being late. Changing jobs will almost assuredly not change them if the root problem is you are a "very untimely person." – enderland Jul 10 '17 at 14:49
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    This isn't really a question of ethics, it is a question of professionalism. I don't think you should resign because of this IF you are actually trying to fix the issue. If you aren't in danger of being fired AND you actually want to resolve this issue, work with your management team to solve it! Look at it this way, if you do resign, you will have to use them as a reference. If you are consistently late, that will affect you being hire elsewhere. – SaggingRufus Jul 10 '17 at 14:49
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    From perception of time to family background, 'being late' is now more perceived as a pathology (suffering / desire / balance / fear). It seems that it's not a problem with your job (many good comments above say so), and resigning won't help much I guess. Unfortunately, I can't link to articles/studies exploring/explaining this behavior, as they're not in english... one here though -> WSJ : we know why you're always late. IMHO your problem has nothing to do with ethics, but with personnal problems... – OldPadawan Jul 10 '17 at 15:08

Is it unprofessional?


Should you resign?

Don't think so. You can resign, you don't need anyone's acceptance to do it for whatever reason. But you may be not so lucky to find one more company like that. If you eventually resign, don't tell your future employers the real reason behind it. It will damage your chances to get another job greatly.

Should you just sit and wait?

Totally No. Get up and tell your manager about your situation and make some proposals on how you think it can be solved beneficially to both of you. Ask if you can shift your schedule if it's temporal issue.

In many companies managers understand that anything can happen in life and they can help you. But they need to know about when you'll have your piece of work done to plan further. Keep them notified and most of them will be satisfied. BUT you MUST make them know.

It seems like your company puts up with it. Hang onto them.

If it's just your behavioral problems - your vacation won't change anything. Learn how to get over them. It may impede your carrier and life. Such situations may happen endless times. You'd better learn how to solve them on the fly.

P.S. I'm from Russia and a programmer too. FYI If your company has annual vacation plan, they have every right not to let you go on vacation.

  • I think the vacation is a good idea (it's always a good idea), but "changing jobs" will change absolutely nothing. So true. – Fattie Jul 10 '17 at 15:12

The only reason to resign is if you don't want your job anymore. If your job doesn't want you anymore, they will fire you.

If you are surprised with what kind of transgressions you can get away without any repercussions whatsoever, enjoy it. Obviously they seems to consider you worth your money despite your shortcomings. Or maybe they just don't notice it. Anyway, If they fail (or see no reason) to discipline you, that's their problem, not yours. There is absolutely no reason for you to resign. Nobody would be helped with that. You wouldn't (assuming you have no better job offer right now) and they wouldn't either, because they lose an employee they haven't given up on yet.

If you have noticed a personal problem or shortcoming which affects your work output negatively, then the ethical thing to do is to notify your manager and propose what could be done to help you improve. Possible improvement measures could be a vacation, a therapy or a course in effective time management (I heard many good things about such courses, but I've never been to one, because I'm too busy :)). It seems you have already done that.


There's no need to resign as a first resort, however, you should request a meeting with your manager.

In this meeting you should say that you're having issues in your personal life that are affecting your work-life and causing you to show up late and state that it's important to you to fix this problem.

Ask for this 2-week vacation as a time for you to fix your problems. If your manager does not allow it or does not give you a sufficient answer within a certain time period, do what you think is in your best interest. It might very well come down to them letting you go but until then don't jump the gun unless you've tried other options first.

You want to do what's in the best interest of the company, but one can argue that you're possibly going through a personal crisis that in many countries would count towards a sick-leave. I've worked with people in high-positions that have had to take time off due to stress becoming close to killing them, to name one example.

Discuss this problem with your manager, that way you can see their view on the problem and actually offer them a solution to the problem, by involving them in the issue. You can quit, sure, but if all you need is a vacation then it's possibly in the best interest for both parties to take the break and then come back fresh.

Note that taking a vacation on it own might not be enough, depending on what your issue is. If you're stressed out but not actually just lazy or not really giving a damn, then you should consider finding some professional help that can make sure you won't need such vacation again due to similar circumstances.

tl;dr talk to your manager, state the problem, ask if you can get a vacation, see if they have any other solutions or proposals. Let them decide if they want to give you the vacation or not, maybe they'll simply want to fire you, either way you can make a better decision upon whether to resign or not after having a proper discussion with your manager.

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    Seems like a great answer. – Fattie Jul 10 '17 at 15:25

Resigning is never unprofessional as long as you give adequate notice and follow the proper procedures.

I don't think by taking a vacation you are testing anyone's patience. If management is OK with it, they will approve the request. If they are not OK with it, they will deny the request. What would be unprofessional is not coming into work if they deny you the time off.

As someone who is generally unorganized, I can sympathise with you, but that is no excuse for being late. Before I started as a programmer, I had a bad habit of leaving with just barely enough time to get somewhere. One day I was late for an exam (in university) and was fortunate enough to be able to re-write it. That day I vowed to never be late if there was anything I could do about it.

My new routine is to wake up an hour before I even start getting ready to ensure that no matter what happens, I still have time. Then, I go into the office 20 minutes early and browse the web until my shift starts. It can be tough to get yourself in a place where this becomes habit, but until you start this will not resolve itself.

At the end of the day, it not unprofessional to resign, but I would not recommend it. It seems like the management crew is willing to help you sort this out. That is huge bonus for you. Work with them and get your life on track. This, IMO, is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get your life on track with no sacrifice. Don't waste it.


Firstly before anything else, you should go see a therapist.

(A psychiatrist, therapist, psychologist, software-therapy (like sports therapy) specialist - whatever is relevant in your region.)

As Old Padawan astutely mentions above, your behavior indicates that you need a therapist - it's great and you should go today.

You will be amazed at the specific, actual, techniques of today. It's not like "in the old days" or in a movie where you talk to some idiot about dreams, etc.

Almost certainly, your company will happily pay.

I suppose to answer your question...

Would it be unprofessional of me [as a software engineer] to resign because I am late?

I would actually say:

Yes. It would be unprofessional.


  1. You'd be leaving them in the lurch.

  2. It's extremely commonplace that programmers (much like authors and screenwriters) very often feel that "time is all over me" feeling. It is very much part of the life and you have to deal.

To make perhaps an analogy: say you said "would it be unprofessional to quit because I have bugs?" The answer would be "yes that would be unprofessional, slack, half-assed" because the whole nature of the job is dealing with bugs.

There are good reason to resign (grandmother passed away, you just got offered 2x more somewhere else, etc). Giving up because you're a little "under the gun" on time management, would be weak-assed.

Don't do it!

(As others instantly mentioned, changing jobs won't affect your psychology in any way.)

Note that this answer strictly applies to programmers and a handful of other professions. If you are a surgeon, CPA, etc the answer would be "quit now out of shame!" For programmers, "time problems" are just central to your life - everything you describe is normal.

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    I don't think condoning the lateness is the right answer. I am a programmer and the amount of times I have ever been late can be counted on one hand. Some of them were "out of my control" with things like freak storms and other were my own fault, but not for one second was I ever O.K with it. As soon as I knew I would be late, I texted my team leader and apologized to their face as soon as I made it into the office. All this to say, this should not be the norm under any circumstance no matter what the occupation. – SaggingRufus Jul 10 '17 at 15:03
  • I'm not sure if I can agree, old bean. Rather like the unusual endeavors of screenwriting and novelists and musicians/songwriters, programmers "make their own times" and "panic over time" as a habitual matter. – Fattie Jul 10 '17 at 15:10
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    I am a programmer on a team with people who are late regularly, it is not OK. – SaggingRufus Jul 10 '17 at 15:13
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    If you work alone and noone depends on you it MAY be ok. If you work in a team it may frustrate others. – Amberta Jul 10 '17 at 16:10
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    @Fattie I know it for sure, my teammates are all over the world. But we have schedules on who works when, with whom and etc. I work on big projects in big teams. Sometimes it essential to be in touch. P.S. And some people don't need reasons to downvote =) – Amberta Jul 10 '17 at 16:23

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