This research explores the question why IT consultants terminate their employment contracts in a labour market with job drought, downsizing and salary cuts when they were among those who kept their jobs during layoffs. A process model for the maintenance of a psychological contract between employees and employers is presented, which combines the concept of psychological contract with a theory of the relation between intrinsic motivation and management practices and with theories of identity, self-esteem, influence and power. The research verifies and specifies the model based on a revelatory case study. The model helps explaining IT consultants' behavior of voluntarily terminating their employment contracts beyond the crisis situation in the IT industry some years ago which motivated this research originally. It should assist managers in a more general context in avoiding practices, which might lead to their employees' loss of intrinsic motivation and as a consequence to the loss of valuable employees for the organization.