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I'm a computer science student and I work part-time at a local software company. Before even applying for this job, I was already in the process of applying for a summer internship at a major software company. I'm now down to the last interview and they're paying to fly me to their headquarters. I have a tentative date for this now and it conflicts with my work schedule.

Now I'm thinking that I could either tell my manager that I have the interview or make something up. In general, I think honesty is important, but my instinct is to lie here. The company's pretty paranoid about their IP. I have no intention to steal anything from them and the other company isn't even close to being a competitor (although they're so big, they would work on very similar things in some divisions).

Should I be honest about going to the interview or make something up?

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You're a part-time college student. No offense, but they shouldn't put trade secrets in your hands if they're that worried about it. –  JeffO Nov 1 '12 at 20:47

3 Answers 3

You should not lie, but you don't have to tell all the details -- just say you need the time off for personal reasons.

Lying is just going to create bad feelings when the truth comes out (as it will, certainly if you get the new position).

Your manager is going to think either "oh, his personal reason was he was interviewing with X" or he's going to think "when he said his pet goldfish died and he needed to mourn, he was lying to me and what he was really doing was sneaking off to interview somewhere else."

Which of those two things do you think he's more likely to remember it two years?

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+1. "Personal appointment" covers a wide range of activities. Plus, if your manager has a moderate amount of wit about him, he'll know what it means anyway. Even better, though, is to try and schedule the interview outside your working hours. –  pap Nov 1 '12 at 8:02

In the general case I agree with jmoreno's advice. However in your specific case, you're a part-timer and a student. The company must be well aware that when you graduate you are going to reconsider your employment options. Have you discussed whether or not they even have a place for you in the summer? A lot of companies assume that student employment will only last a few months.

The right way, as jmoreno says, is to ask for the day(s) off and not give any reason beyond 'personal matters'. The details are none of their business. If they press just politely decline. However if you think there is any reasonable expectation that you might want to work for your current company over the summer, enquire as to what plans they have for you, or what you might do.

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Ask for time off to take care of personal business. Actually, don't ask - Be assertive and TELL them that you NEED to take time off to take care of personal business. And that is true: you DO have personal business to take care of.

I am pretty sure that you signed an NDA with your current company. Make sure that you mention that NDA to your new employer, if it makes you an offer. Having said that, I'd be surprised that you'd know much of anything that your current employer is doing with its IP, considering how low - excuse me for saying it, you are on the totem pole. It's possible that at this point, I might more about your current employer's plans for world domination than you do :)

Get that interview date confirmed and the flying reservation locked in place - You don't want to be sticking your neck out for nothing :)

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