I have a career fair coming up and I will probably start graduate school next fall. I have two options at this career fair - tell people I can work full time and tell them halfway through that I got accepted to grad school and I am leaving, or be upfront about my situation and ask them for a sort of internship in the interim (which will be about 8 months).

Now, there have been plenty of posts in the past where people in my situation have asked this question and they have been told to explain their situation up front. However, my parents have told me many times that I owe nothing to a business, and that in their workplaces they have seen quite a few people come work for a much shorter period of time and leave to no hard feelings. Sometimes these people have even come back to higher salaries. Is this something specific to their industries (banking and a patent office) or their workplaces, or does this happen everywhere?

I also want to add that while it does feel wrong to omit that information (i.e. me going to grad school), it is much better than the alternative of not getting hired anywhere at all and doing nothing but biding my time for that 8 month period. And based on the information I can see right now, my chances of getting experience at the places I want to work are much higher if I hide that particular aspect of my life.

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    Why the downvote? A new contributor at least deserves a reason, else how can you expect him to learn? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Sep 19 '18 at 6:56
  • Unfortunately, there is a lot of this sort of thing, which is why they recently added "Tri is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct." (which you may not be able to see). It has helped a little, but this still happens. It is a great bunch of sites, though. Nowhere better to get help. Welcome aboard :-) – Mawg says reinstate Monica Sep 19 '18 at 14:48

I'm assuming two things here - firstly that companies in your general area take interns, and secondly that you've made your mind up that you're going to grad school (as oppose to still deciding if it's for the best.)

If that's the case, then be upfront and honest.

However, my parents have told me many times that I owe nothing to a business

They're correct in this - but I say this not because it's best for the company in this situation, but it's likely best for you as well. It has a number of advantages:

  • If you work well, you have a very good chance of walking straight into a job after your graduate studies are complete;
  • You get to talk with any co-workers and supervisors about what your future plans are, and any advice they may have (rather than having to keep it a secret for months on end);
  • Longer term, it looks better on your CV to have a 6 month planned internship, rather than a job that you just happened to leave after half a year.
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    "Longer term, it looks better on your CV to have a 6 month planned internship, rather than a job that you just happened to leave after half a year." -- This is on point. – Neo Sep 19 '18 at 13:16

I do "cattle call" career fair interviews. For us, not telling us puts you into the wrong "bin" as far as job prospects go.

If you're going to be a student next year then we can hire you as an intern (and we hire lots of interns). If you're not going to be a student next year then we have to consider you for full time only (much smaller bin and you're not competing against Sophomores and Juniors for positions).

We're also a big dog Fortune 500 and working for a few months before quitting because you weren't honest about your situation would definitely poison the well. If you weren't honest the first time you were employed by us then why should we think you're honest the second?

I suggest honesty and try to be an intern... but our interns are well paid.

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  • Pay isn't that big a deal to me, really I just want to get better at something and not have an awkward gap between undergrad and grad school. – Tri Sep 19 '18 at 14:47
  • Out of curiosity, does your company care if interns work for a period longer than a summer? One of my worries is that I'll miss out on an opportunity somewhere because a company doesn't want to hire interns for longer than a summer. – Tri Sep 19 '18 at 16:33
  • We have an intern or two still around. I'd thought they'd become "contractors" after the summer ended but apparently they're still here as interns. Mostly the issue is travel distance, i.e. we have a major college in town so interns from there can work as classes allow but most have to return to class. I worked with one this summer who openly intends to get her BS degree and then go for a major (I've seen one other like that), and we're kind of camping out on them. It's hard to find good people. @Tri – Dark Matter Sep 19 '18 at 19:43

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