I started a 4-month internship in January and wanted some opinions on declining an extension. Back in November when I interviewed, my manager mentioned that they were wanting to hire for 8-months, even though the job posting said 4. At the time, I said that I think 8-months would be alright, but hadn't really thought too much about it. When I got the offer, they only offered 4-months and said that they may extend to 8-months depending on the project they were working on. I accepted the 4-month contract. They haven't offered to extend yet, but since that is a possibility, I wanted advice on how to go about declining if they do.

Although I enjoy working here, I wanted to take summer classes at my university, and since I have been gone from school for almost a year (I had another internship prior to this one), have begun missing my classes.

My concern is how to go about declining without burning bridges? I know they haven't offered yet, so this all might be premature, but I feel somewhat obligated to accept since I did mention during the job interview that an 8-month position would be something I could potentially do, and I fear they hired me with the assumption that I'd be ok with extending to 8-months.

  • thanks @gnat. The post was kind of relevant, but I was hoping for an answer that could be more specific to my situation... but I get the gist of it! I think my main concern with it is if people think I do have some moral obligation to stay since a few months ago I did give the impression I could, but since circumstances have changed, I am wondering if it's acceptable to decline and not burn bridges.
    – Alex
    Mar 15, 2020 at 20:43
  • 1
    If anything, you have less obligation than the OP at the duplicate. Both you and the company went into this knowing it might only be 4 months. You cannot be bound to an agreement that doesn't exist. Saying something might be possible is not a guarantee or a promise and you don't have to treat it that way.
    – BSMP
    Mar 16, 2020 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


Explain as you did to us. They gave you a 4month contract, this is a two way street. If you want to avoid burning bridges, tell them early. So they have time to adapt. Assuming you work in at will state, this could backfire. But if you tell at the last moment possible, this will likely ruffle some feathers. So it's up to you to decide priorities. And reasonable people should understand that you prioritize your study.

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