I am currently employed as an intern at a company I worked for over the summer who encouraged me to stay on board. They extended my internship as a result and have continually asked me if I am planning on staying, which appears to be contingent on my extension.
I am interested in applying to other companies for an internship, as the current one is great but unsustainable. Other companies also ask in their applications if they may use my employer as a reference. While I do believe my company has lots of great things to say about me and would, I fear losing my position for the time being which I need to stay afloat, and they appear to be unhappy with the prospect of me not staying on board.
I don't think it's polite to use someone as a reference without notifying them, but due to the precarious nature of my position, I feel that showcasing entertainment for another position might result in the loss of my current one, and am afraid to notify my manager of this. I am also afraid of saying it is not okay to ask my manager for a reference, as it would likely be a very strong one or disqualify me entirely if omitted.
Would it behoove me to notify my manager that I am applying elsewhere? Should I leave them as a reference, and only notify them if the application process proceeds? Should I not tell them at all or omit the reference? I am unsure of how to proceed.