I've been working at my job for almost a month and a half.

Recently, I shipped a game that I've been working on part time for 4 months (with a few other people). It's selling very well. I'm not rich, but I'm making about 50% more than I'm making from my day job. I also have enough savings to last a year without any income.

Answering emails, doing press stuff, and fixing bugs is taking up the bulk of my free time. I also want to start working on another game, but between my dayjob and supporting the other game, I don't have time.

How do I quit my job tactfully when I've only been working for a very short time period?

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    Keep in mind this means you are planning on that game making that amount of money for the next several years if you are going to depend on the game for your entire livelihood. I'd seriously consider whether this is the case. – enderland Feb 25 '13 at 11:56
  • Are your still in your probation period? If yes, this is exactly why the probation period exists. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Aug 16 '13 at 8:19
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    Lemme draft the e-mail for you. “Hi boss, I’m afraid I can’t make it into work today — my money pile fell over and blocked my front door :( Also it kind of bums me out spending all day sitting next to paupers like you and the other guys in the office, so let’s call it a day.” – Paul D. Waite Jun 4 '14 at 13:51

Contractual Requirements

First off, check your contract (assuming you have one). It should list:

  1. Required notice before leaving
  2. Any other conditions involving signing bonuses, vacation days, etc.

This will give you the bare minimum for you to quit without being in violation of your contract. This will not make leaving tactful, but it will at least make it contractual. Which is a good start.

Ethical Requirements

The biggest issues for an employer when someone leaves are:

  1. Handing over work responsibilities
  2. Finding a replacement
  3. Training a replacement

Ethically you want to make those three steps as smooth as possible.

I don't know your position or importance to the company, but you've only been there for 6 weeks. I doubt you are a cornerstone of their entire business strategy. Also, only being there for 6 weeks means that you probably don't have that many work responsibilities that weren't recently handed over from someone else.

What I would suggest is that you share your notice (in agreement with your Contractual Responsibilities) above, and explain that while you will be leaving, you want to make sure to help make the transition as smooth as possible for the company. Depending on how difficult it is for the company to find a replacement, or how hard it is to transfer your duties, you may want to offer to stay on beyond your contractual responsibilities.

Ideally you could find a way to stop working full time at the conclusion of the notice period, but (if required) help with training/handing over of duties part time giving you time to work on your game while still being able to support the company (in a more limited role). Depending on the flexibility of the HR, the nature of the salary/benefits, and the size of the company, this may not be possible.

Personal Opinion

The sooner you tell them the better. If you were hired only 6 weeks ago, other candidates may still be hunting for a job and could be hired without having to start the process over (this is much cheaper/easier for the company). The longer you wait, the longer it will take to find someone to do your job. The more the company feels it depends on you (and the closer the deadline of your leaving looms), the less cordial the parting will be.

Good luck with the game, and make sure you repay any coworkers you lost bets to before you leave (or return any rounds of drinks that may have been bought for you when you joined).

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    I'd also recommend to check his contract on the rights his current company may have on the game. It is certainly possible they may claim the rights to the game or money if it is in the contract to do so. Especially if leaving is going to screw them over. – Simon O'Doherty Feb 25 '13 at 8:29
  • @Simon Are there really work contracts that say that the company acquires rights on IP you create during your free time? I would have thought/hoped that legislation in any reasonable place would declare such clauses null and void. – us2012 Feb 25 '13 at 9:12
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    Yes, it is quite common. They would own the IP rights on it. Normally if you aren't creating a competing product it's OK (with the companies OK). But people have been sued and lost for doing such a thing. Here is a good answer on it: answers.onstartups.com/questions/19422/… – Simon O'Doherty Feb 25 '13 at 9:25
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    I'm no lawyer, but it would be incredibly difficult for a company in most jurisdictions in the US to claim IP for a project created not using any work resources (computers, time), especially if said project was started prior to employment. And to be perfectly honest, why would the company even know about the game in the first place unless he told them? It would be a pretty shady company who tried to claim rights to an employees personal project. – jmac Feb 25 '13 at 22:54

The "successful project" aspect is not relevant to your situation. Your employer doesn't need to know why you're quitting, just that you're quitting. This is business, no reason to involve them in your life.

Thus, your question becomes "How do I quit a job that I only just started?", and that's already been answered on this site and many others.

For example,

  • I disagree. Many people in software development at one time wanted to be indy game developers, and they would probably be happy for you having 'hit the jackpot'. – Yozarian22 Jun 20 '13 at 17:44

Consider staying on as a part-time contract worker if you feel your leaving will hurt them. The worse thing that can happen is they say no. At least you tried. No reason to burn a bridge here.

The extra income could be redirected into your next venture. Maybe you could hire someone to do the marketing and allow you to concentrate on programming.

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