Should I Walk Out on My Boss Who I Greatly Admire?

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I have been at the same financial advisory firm since I got my MBA, almost 11 years ago. I’ve moved into a COO role, but without the title. I am the right hand to the owner of the firm, and she depends on me for everything.

I was recently approached by a recruiter about a president position at another advisory firm. I have 25+ working years to go and want to make this career move before I consider winding down or retiring.

My dilemma is that I like the owner of this firm and we have a very good relationship. I would never have gone looking if I were not sought out by someone. I am hesitant to accept this other role and say I am leaving even though it is my dream job.

I don’t think my current boss will believe I wasn’t looking. She could smear me in the profession and become vindictive over my leaving. My wife says I am crazy, and I should not be worrying about this. She says I should graciously accept this exciting role, explain to my existing boss what happened and do my best to transfer my responsibilities. Am I insane to be considering how someone else would feel or what they might do when it is my career at stake? I am not weak, but I am loyal and committed and I take my relationships very seriously.