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I got myself into a somewhat tricky situation and I would appreciate any opinions on that matter.

A week ago company A offered me an internship position which I was happy about and I confirmed via Email that I would like to accept their offer.

One day after I have accepted the offer, company B wrote me and said that they would like to have an interview with me to discuss a potential internship.

I went through with the interview, because I thought that it couldn't hurt, and I have to say, that the internship company B offers is better in pretty much every single aspect. Company B said that they need up to 10 days to decide whether or not I get the internship (because there were of course other applicants).

The issue is, that company A already sent me a contract and they want me to sign in the next few days, so I can't wait for company B to respond. The contract that company A sent, clearly says that I can cancel the contract immediately within the first 4 weeks without a reason, so I am thinking of just signing the contract and if I get a positive responds from company B, I would simply quit. However, I feel like a total piece of shit for doing this, because company A probably already told other candidates that the position is taken and that they are no longer interested in them and they would have to interview new candidates...

I considered to tell company A about the position I am in, but if company B decides for someone else, and company A also says that they cant wait or won't wait that long, then I am stuck without an internship which I badly need.

Does anyone have an idea how to handle the situation better, or is it fair to put my own interests first like this?

Cheers!

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    So if I'm reading this accurately (and I may not be), you're asking for our permission so you can feel better about a choice you feel is morally selfish? Follow the contract according to its letter. Your career is about you not them. They would have no qualms canceling the contract if the project they're hiring for fell through or lost funding. Learn how to be ok with it later. Nov 11, 2021 at 22:18
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    @JoeStrazzere bit of a leap to link this to self respect; and I doubt OP would affect their reputation nearly as much as you indicate by rejecting the offer consistent with the offer letter. You don't work your entire student life and then just pray that company B recruiter calls you a couple of weeks before company A.
    – user121416
    Nov 12, 2021 at 0:46
  • @JoeStrazzere That feeling can come from a place of genuine morality or come from a place of insecurity/ being too naive/gentle, which is a character flaw. Depending on what it is I'd suggest to OP either your deduction or mine. I think it is probably coming from the latter.
    – user121416
    Nov 12, 2021 at 2:15

2 Answers 2

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A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

You have an actual offer from A. You have no offer from B. That makes A the obvious choice because there is no choice for B.

You can ask this question again when B actually gives you an offer. Right now, in this moment, the choice does not exist. You do not turn down an offer for a non-existent offer. You choose A.


If you get an actual offer from B, talk to your point-of-contact in A and rescind the application assuming you haven't started yet.

If you have started, that gets more complex because it's back to the original situation; you have actual, real information about A, but you only have a contract for B. You are still free to go with B, but there are no guarantees it is necessarily better.


Final note. You haven't stated what "better in pretty much every single aspect" really means, nor what field this is. Internships are there primarily for experience, and who you actually work with will heavily influence this. Engineers that are good mentors are exceedingly rare (I haven't met one in 15 years). If your experience in A is remotely reasonable, it is very likely that B may be worse despite what it looks on paper. This fact changes significantly in different fields due to the field attracting people with better social skills.

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If you get B, cancel the contract with A. I've seen hundreds of graduates with these scenarios and it is a no brainer for all of them.

Your relationship with a corporation is a business transaction. As long as you honour your contractual obligations, you're free to do what you want.

Morality and ethics are deeply personal - I can only offer you a taste of objective consequences - companies are big and it really doesn't matter if you cancel on A in a timely manner; and you're in all likelihood replacable by another candidate almost instantly, since this is an internship.

I would consider it naiveity for the company to expect that the candidate will not act in their self interest; any reasonable person understands you do not control your circumstances, you're simply doing what is best for yourself.

Furthermore, calling yourself a "piece of shit" is by no means a small judgement and I would reflect on why you're being so hard on yourself for acting in your self interest. I've seen some deeply altruistic people enter corporate world only to be left bitter and heartbroken with their appraisal cycles and office politics - keep your eyes open and know what you are getting into, and how you can improve yourself so as to maximize value out of your career.

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