I am in the middle of my 1-year internship at the moment and I am quite satisfied. Although things are nice here, I have no interest in continuing here as full-time.

Considering that, I have been thinking where I will be working next, which means I have already started looking for work opportunities. I also marked my online profile as "open".

I have been offered with some really good positions at great companies.

Since my internship won't be ending any time sooner, I told the first recruiter, that I won't be available before the end date of my internship (5 months from now) and he was totally fine with it. So, we started scheduling our interviews.

A second recruiter has just approached me and he is not still aware that I am not currently available. This recruiter offers an outstanding position for which I am very interested in.

I am worried about whether my current unavailability will push away the second recruiter's opportunity.

The first opportunity is actually a program which is the reason it is time-flexible. The second one is a typical job opening which is certainly not going to be waiting 5 months for me.

If the second opportunity is indeed an asap position and I get selected, should I abandon/end my internship and go work for them?

The benefits of the second position comparing to my internship ones, are by far greater, so this makes me think: Why continue working for an internship salary when I can get a big full-time salary right now?

I know leaving my internship is not nice, but is it unprofessional or totally unacceptable? Is there a way to professionally quit my internship early?

Additional information:

Location is UK. Contract is for one year but through a recruitment organization which also provides the accommodation. So, if quitting the internship, I will have to resign both from the work company and the recruitment company as well.

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    @ChrisE While the answers are useful IMO in this situation, this question is different enough to me to not be a duplicate. – Neo Jan 11 '18 at 14:48
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    Are you doing an internship because it's part of your educational program, or are you interning to gain more experience? One of my nephews had to intern to gain experience because his field was very competitive. In such case, I would jump on the possibility to get a job rather than staying an intern. – Edwin Lambregts Jan 11 '18 at 15:17
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    The time to question / challenge the remaining 6 months was before you signed the contract. – paparazzo Jan 11 '18 at 16:48
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    Would you mind not using bold so much? It annoys at least one person considerably, and most people are perfectly able to zoom in on the important words in a sentence. ;) – AnoE Jan 11 '18 at 17:30
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    Not unacceptable. In fact, I bet your supervisor would tell you to go for it. Just give 2 weeks and do your best to ensure that your leaving won't break anything. But really, read the contract. Contrary to what paparazzi is suggesting, you CAN break contracts, you just have to be willing to accept the consequences. – John K Jan 11 '18 at 20:53

Why continue working for an internship salary when I can get a big full-time salary right now?

Only you can answer this question. If you have nothing left to gain, consider accepting full time work and getting your career in gear. If you have multiple job offers, weigh the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision.

I know leaving my internship is not nice, but is it unprofessional or totally unacceptable?

No it is not unprofessional, and it is not "mean" either. What would make it unprofessional is if you left without giving some sort of notice to allow them to find someone to do your part.

Is there a way to professionally quit my internship early?

Yes, give your manager a resignation letter which includes when your last day will be. (Sending an email with this content is fine too) The amount of notice will vary by location, in the US it is typically two or three weeks.

If you provide notice, and do you best to make the transition from you to the next person as seamless as possible, you will have done your part and can leave with your conscience clear.

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    One could say it is unprofessional to break a contract. If OP has an employment contract, which it seems is the case, then it could be considered unprofessional to break that contract. That said, the difference between a full time salary and internship salary are so substantial that it makes sense to do it. – corsiKa Jan 11 '18 at 18:48
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    All employment is a contract. They are not time- nor delivery-bound, so they will be "broken" at some point, because they have no natural end. They often have clauses to reflect this fact. (If this was a contractor situation with delivery-bounded contract, that's a different matter...) – jdmichal Jan 11 '18 at 20:55
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    I'd say its the very definition of professional. Give notice just like a full-time employee would, if you're worried about it. Seriously, "amateur" is donating your time for little or no monetary benefit. Professional is getting paid. – T.E.D. Jan 11 '18 at 22:26
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    @jdmichal Well, some employment contracts are time-bound, in the sense that the employee is expected to stay at the job for a certain amount of time. It's not uncommon in academia, at least; I'm not sure if there are other categories of jobs that commonly do this. – David Z Jan 11 '18 at 22:44
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    @corsiKa At least in my legislation, quitting a job with giving notice is not breaking the contract, because how to quit with notice is written down in and thus part of the contract. Breaking would be to quit without notice (except in a few rare cases allowed by the law), and that could in fact incur a fine for contract violation. – Jonas Schäfer Jan 12 '18 at 8:16

Other answers have covered this much better but quickly I'd like to reiterate that it's completely fine to move to a new position given you provide notice. Many people, particularly in the Software industry will take interviews while in employment and might hop between companies (especially start-ups).

What sticks out to me from your question is that no, you haven't been offered a position, to me it sounds like you've been offered an interview. Forgive me if I'm wrong about that but you should take the words of a recruiter with a pinch of salt - in my experience most recruiters aren't even worth that (a pinch of salt that is). I've known many budding developers that did all the right things coming out of education and had all the right qualifications (including industry experience like yourself), it still can take many interviews until an offer will stick.

I would have rather written this more concisely as a comment but I have no rep as I mostly lurk on SE.

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    Thanks for your answer. You are right, I am still at the interviews-level but the reason I asked is that I want to know what will happen if these interviews evolve into offers. – Nikiforos Jan 11 '18 at 18:03

You should only remain at any given job if it makes sense for you to do so.

Even if your internship were a full time position, you're being offered more money, benefits, etc. Why would you walk away from that?

If your employer deemed it advantageous to fire you, I can assure you that they would do so with no second thoughts. Why would you hesitate to act in your own self interest under these circumstances?

Unless this internship is somehow a graduation requirement, do yourself a favor and go for the better, full-time position instead of sticking around to a worse paid, temporary one.


An internship is not a real job.

Let that sink in for a second.

An internship is not a real job.

The reason you do an internship is to be more successful in obtaining a real job.

Leaving your internship for a real job then should be entirely ok. Because you're not doing a real job, the company shouldn't have any problems with it. You shouldn't even consider nice or not nice. Apparently the internship worked out so well that you got a real, better job before it was over.

Now I of-course know that many interns do real work. And that's companies being not-so-nice and hiring interns for real jobs and instead of paying them real salaries they pay intern salaries.

When you started your internship you signed a contract. There should be a notice period in your contract. Play by rules and stick to that notice period.


A paid internship always comes with a contract, which should specify the notice period you have to respect. If the notice period is not specified, statutory minimum notice periods apply, which AFAIK is one week if you're employed for less than 2 years in UK. Make sure you respect this obligation, and nobody will call you unprofessional for leaving for a better opportunity.

Of course, the situation is a little different if this internship is a requirement to get a degree (typical for final-year students): you still can leave your internship on the same terms as above, but if you do, you don't get your degree.

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