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I'm currently a Junior in College studying applied mathematics, and 4-5 months ago received an offer to intern as a data analyst at a medium sized company that I am very interested in. When they reached out I let them know that I had a few other offers that had a shorter commute or better pay, but I was specifically interested in the work and data they dealt with. Because I already had standing offers from other companies, they rushed me through the interview process so I could compare their offer to the others I had, and I ultimately accepted their offer.

Fast forward 2 months and I've started to experience pain in my hips, and after meeting with doctors have come to find that I have a hip deformity which may require surgery on both my hips. This would entail a week or so of bedrest, then 6-8 weeks of double crutches, and then even more time with physical therapy afterwards. My doctor has me doing physical therapy and taking certain medications to see if the condition could be treated non surgically, but the reality of surgery is looking more and more real as we have seen no real improvement.This job would require a daily commute on public transit of 75 minutes one way, which I don't think would be feasible after my surgery, and I would likely go home to another state to have the surgery done anyway.

I really appreciate the effort that this company put in to giving me an offer quickly, especially because I am so interested in the work that they do. I'd be on a small specialized 12 person team, 4 of which are interns. When is an appropriate time to mention to my future supervisor that I may have to quit my internship for medical reasons? Part of me wants to give them advance notice so that if I must quit, they could still have time to find a replacement. However another part of me doesn't want to say anything until it's absolutely certain I'd be having the surgery.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this, I'd just like to be professional and considerate to all parties. Thanks!

Edit: Thanks to everyone for your responses. As a few points of clarification, I could not work remotely, as this company values being in the office and expects that of all employees. Negotiating being able to clock in on the commute to and from work was as flexible as I will get from them, so remote work during my recovery is not an option. I appreciate everyone's feedback, as it seems like my initial hunch of just staying quiet about the matter until I definitely reach a conclusion with my surgeon is the best bet. Thanks you!

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    Can this work be done remotely? In other words do you have to quit? – Mister Positive Feb 22 at 15:33
  • Just to verify, is your current health coverage/insurance/compensation bind to the company you are working with now? – tweray Feb 22 at 15:51
  • This job would require a daily commute on public transit of 75 minutes one way, which I don't think would be feasible after my surgery => Can you consider moving closer to the work place? – Kepotx Feb 22 at 16:14
  • In almost all circumstances, a "75 minute" commute is infeasible, regardless of any health issues. One would have to move regardless. – Fattie Feb 22 at 16:24
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    @Fattie 75 minute commute isn't nearly as bad if it's on public transit. I can easily see someone commuting to the city by train daily and having it take >1 hr. – Adonalsium Feb 22 at 17:50
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"I'd just like to be professional and considerate to all parties ...

Let's say the company happened to be considering closing, sacking people, selling out, or totally changing their products.

Here is the chance that they would talk to you about this, in any way shape or form, in advance:

0.00%

Since you're a data scientist, let's be more accurate!

0.000000%

"I really appreciate the effort that this company ... etc"

"Interns" are fabulous free/cheap labour.

That's precisely how companies see interns.

"However another part of me doesn't want to say anything until it's absolutely certain I'd be having the surgery."

That part of you is correct!

An often-asked question on this site is "Should I tell early if I am leaving?" the answer is of course always "No". Your question is essentially similar.

The professional, businesslike approach is simply to be professional and businesslike.

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Do not create issues or drama before you need to. So wait until you know whether surgery is going to be the only option or not before you tell them.

Either it won't be an issue, or you will need to deal with it, but until then it's just a possibility, and best to stay optimistic anyway.

  • This is the exact answer. – Fattie Feb 22 at 16:19
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You should always notify your (potential or current) employer about medical conditions that may interfere with your ability to complete your work. Otherwise, you open up multiple parties including yourself to liability issues. For example, if you're injured on the job due to a pre-existing condition the employer didn't know about that you hid, your insurance and compensation claims will be made significantly more difficult to process.

The employer will have to work this special case out with you, but we can't know how that will go. The issue with not mentioning it is if the medical condition causes you issues at work, the employer will eventually find out. See what they have to say about your potential medical leave and whether they can accommodate you.

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To the question of when: as soon as you can!

As it stands, you are capable of the commute and are still the person they wanted to hire. You should tell them that you have this condition, but that's about it. No need to find a replacement for a capable employee.

If it is confirmed you need surgery, that is the time to tell them about the surgery. From there discussion will ensue of possible routes to take. Maybe you can work from home, maybe they have some other workaround to keep you on. Don't give up hope!

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