I hate my job but I feel guility about quitting

As mentioned before, I am planning to resign from my current position and move on to a new job (the new position is more or less secured). However, I am the only software developer on the project, and I feel guility about terminating the contract halfway.

The big boss has been nice and firm at the same time, but my direct supervisior … I guess he means well but he drives me crazy all the time. There are other factors involved which sometimes drive me up the wall.

However, when I consider the decision to tender, I feel myself feeling bad for the team, and that if I leave it would derail their plans. Yet when I am in the office I be going, “OMG this is the last straw! THIS IS IT” and when I get home I be “Crap, I feel guility over quitting”

I honestly think it’s not a case of ‘I’m so good that I am indispenable!’ but more of ‘I didn’t go through with my responsbilities’.

Any advice?

PS. I know every job has its problems. I know that I should be happy that if I have a job. Yada yada yada…

I can remember back when I was a pipefitter, and there was plenty of work, quitting a job that was east of where I lived to take a job west of where I lived so I wouldn’t have to drive into the sun.
Ahhhhh, those were the days.

Fuck 'em.

Guilt and ‘loyalty’ kept me on a sinking ship for years. Made me miserable the whole time, absolutely not worth it.

It’s your life and career, not theirs.

I’ll add one more thing here:

I once worked largely in a support role, helping nontechnical people get answers/data that they needed to do their jobs right. After a few years, these people were my friends, and they relied on me every day. When I started, I was on a team of smart and motivated developers. Dedicated to say the least, hard workers - all of them. By the time I left, all had gotten fed up and bailed. What I was stuck with was, with one exception (and he quit at the same time), a team of lazy morons.

On my last day, one of the most moronic of the lazy morons was holding a code review. She handed me a print out of the code and I skimmed it quickly while still standing in the doorway of the meeting room. The team continued chattering about the minutiae of some subroutine, and I had to interject.

The subroutine in question was unreachable. Her code did precisely nothing. The procedure returned null every single time, no matter the input. And we were standing around in a meeting acting like this was ready for production.

I felt a lot less guilty as I walked out of that room.

Where is my copy of Bone Dance when I need it…

Paraphrasing: “Work out of love and only out of love. If you wouldn’t do the task out of love, don’t do it because ‘who else will do it otherwise?’. If the task is worth doing, someone will do it. If nobody does it, it wasn’t worth doing.”

You’re not your old team’s mother. They’ll get a programmer and, if the work is worth doing, it will get done.

How you feel is part of their plan for exactly the situation you find yourself in.

Ah yes, been there, done that and have felt the same way often, but look at it this way: If the roles where reversed and your company didn’t need your services any more for any reason, they would kick you out without any second thoughts. They wouldn’t worry about whether or not this would suit your plans or mess up your entire life so why feel guilty when it’s the other way around?
As for your colleagues, yes, it might put some pressure on them. But if a nice and respected colleague told you they’d had found a job that they felt would make them happier than this one, your first impulse would be to be happy for them and wish them well, rather than worry about how it impacted your working day, wouldn’t it?
Bottom line: In most jobs it is tacitly expected that if you find something better, you leave. People understand and respect that.

What is this “guilt” and “loyalty” you speak of?

Your job on this side of capitalism is to worry about yourself and let them worry about the future of the project and the business itself. For all you know, they may be planning on canceling the whole project and/or laying you off next week. If you think that is impossible, you haven’t been around as long as I have. Don’t burn any bridges you don’t need to but don’t have any mercy either. The worst that could happen is that they will offer you a better raise or working conditions to keep you to stay and that decision would still be strictly up to you. Don’t try to think or have sympathy for the opponent and the employer is always the opponent at some level. They will get by.

What you are doing is best for you.

If they thought getting rid of you was best for the company, they would have no problem at all with the idea.

Look at it that way.


Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t carefully document things before you leave, try and train replacements, and offer to stay in touch for (very occasional) questions that come up after you leave. If you don’t do that, then you should feel guilty. But if they have plenty of notice, and you do everything you can (on paid time) to allow your replacement to take over, no guilt required.

If your services are no longer needed, your employment will last as long as it takes your boss to walk to your desk.
GTFO. Give notice, don’t be surprised if they walk you out once they give you notice, and good luck. Times are hard: plenty of hard-working skilled workers out of work out there ready to replace guys like you. They might even get better…

It’s what people feel when they have a one-sided, dependent relationship to a person or entity that would drop them in a heartbeat if the needle were a sliver into the red.

To the o.p.: believe me, I’ve been both a shooter and a planner, and while your absence may result in hard feelings by some, at the end of the day you are just a number in a ledger and should conduct your career accordingly. If you are so friggin’ important to the company they would be falling all over themselves to make certain you are healthy, happy, and well-fed in the position that you are currently at. If they’re not doing that for you, why should you make personal sacrifices for them?

I seriously had one manager (at my first professional job) compare my employment to them as a “marriage” while at the same time trying to screw me out on benefits and salary, and dump extra responsibility into my lap with no additional compensation or coverage. Upon reflection, it was, indeed, like a marriage…but a bad one.


It’s great that you are concerned about the impact that your leaving will have upon your coworkers. You should certainly do what you can to ease the transition.

But get the heck out of there ASAP.

Ultimately, your own needs should be your first priority. And you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.

Feel bad for the individuals your leaving may hurt, try to minimize the impact of your departure for them.

Feel nothing but joy for leaving the employer behind you. It cares not at all for you.

What sort of employment agreement do you have? Did the company contract you do to a job? Or are you an employee of a contracting company?

I would be very careful about burning bridges in software development. People move around. It is very likely that some of the people you’re working with now are going to be working for some other company in the future. And there’s no guarantee that your boss at the new job won’t be just as crazy. You’ll have crazy people in every workplace. People will always give vague requirements. People will always change what they wanted. Especially in software development.

It really helps to have a Zen-like attitude in software development. You’re paid to type stuff in the computer. So what if what they tell you to do today is completely different from what they told you yesterday. So what if the project managers don’t know how the product works. So what if the sales guys promise a lot of stuff that can’t be delivered. That’s just the way it is. Ommmm…

I would say to stick it out unless the other job offers a significant amount of money. Every workplace has a bunch of crap to deal with. You may not notice the crap right away, but it’s always there.

Yep…was just in this situation. It’s especially hard when you hate management but love your co-workers. I hung on far longer than I should have at my last job for fear my very awesome co-worker would get fired if I quit, and she was in a very bad financial situation at the time. The problem was two fold. If I quit, she would be expected to do my job as well as hers, which she couldn’t, and she would be treated as disloyal since we were sort of viewed as a ‘package deal’. That is, if I had been disloyal and left, she was presumably already looking (and she really wasn’t).

When you combine all this with your standard fear of the unknown going to a new job, I found myself trapped. Eventually though, an even better job popped up six months later, and I was even more pissed at management at the time, so I finally took the leap. I still feel very bad about leaving my co-worker high and dry, and I was even a bit depressed about it for the first few weeks at the new job, but I realized I couldn’t let her personal issues and our good working relationship keep me in a bad place and I had to be a little selfish and go when opportunity knocked that second time.

I can’t say anything that anyone else hasn’t already said.

I was in the situation where I hated every day. I guess I let the company make the decision for me. I got laid off. But I walked out with a nice severance check.

My new job pays a bit less than the last. The upside is certainly lower. But I don’t go home every night with a headache. I don’t wake up in the morning dreading the day. Every time I get an email from the boss, I don’t put my head in my hands in despair. I can’t quantify it, but there is definitely a value is working for someone that doesn’t drive you bananas.

The team will move on. The company was there before you and it will be there after you’re gone. If your colleagues are decent enough folks, you can always meet up for a beer from time to time. If things get worse for them, they may be calling you for a job.

If you pass this up, things probably won’t get better. Are you willing to take the chance that another job will be there when you really, really need it?

It’s a contract for one year for one project.

I always find myself going back and forth what you say and the 'screw ‘em’ approach. It’s a challenge for me to read email from my supervisor, who I have see as a pompous ass. (Is there really a need for three exclaimation marks to describe a crash? “It crash when I click this!!!”).

There might be a problem of me taking it in stride. It didn’t help that I percieve I didn’t sign on for this project (When I signed the contract, it was implied I will be working on one project, but when I get on board, it’s something else all together).

I’m still deciding. Being decisive is not one of my forte.

I was in that boat for a while. At my job, my boss is a bully and I can’t take working for her anymore. But I don’t want to leave the other tellers in the lurch because it’s a really busy office and they need all the help they can get.

I finally said to myself, “you know what? These people aren’t even your friends. You’re miserable and need to get out of there ASAP. Get over the guilt.”

I’m not looking for a new job. Not quitting this one until I find one, though. But I’m not afraid to quit when I have to.