1

I started an internship at the beginning of August and at the time, my supervisor and I did not determine and end date. I am not in school right now and the company I'm working for has funding for two full time interns. His thought process was, "we have funds for you for however long you want and since you're not sure when/if you are going to go back to school, let's not set an end date".

That worked perfectly for me, but now, I'm starting to think about the next steps in my life and those may not involve working here. I'm convinced he'd take me as an intern for many months, as they have the funding and the more familiar I get with the project, the more helpful I will be.

However, I would like to pursue other opportunities eventually. I am not ready to have a full time career. I have thought many times about approaching him but I'm not sure how "hey I want this internship to end in December" can come off in a professional and polite way without implying that I don't want to work here and without breaking any bridges or opportunities for future employment. It's like telling your girlfriend you want to break up in a month, but not right now.

I will never again start an internship without an end date, but for now, I need some advice getting out of this situation. It's getting close to when I might want to leave (within 2 months) and I want to make sure they have time to find another intern.

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Internships are expected to be a finite period of employment. You are leaving your position with adequate notice so no manager should take issue with that. If you are thinking of going back to school that would be a good thing to mention but you really don't have to say why you are ending it. Your girlfriend example is pretty far off of the mark in that there is feeling of failure if that relationship doesn't work out, whereas with employees it's generally accepted that the current work situation may not be what is best for the employee forever.

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You're leaving your internship for personal reasons - and leave it at that. Don't volunteer anything like one of the personal reasons is your personal preference that you no longer work at this particular internship. Anything that you further say amounts to testifying against yourself.

Make it clear, though, that you like them, that you like working with them and that your reasons for leaving have nothing to do with them and that if your circumstances were different, you'd still be working with them.

  • I like this answer and it's one that I've thought of, but my concern is that that type of closed off response is definitely closing the door for ever working here again. Do you think otherwise? EDIT and... You addressed my comment in your edit. That makes sense. Perhaps I'm overthinking a simple and expected interaction. – Brandon Sep 24 '14 at 17:00
  • @Brandon Read the second half of the answer :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 24 '14 at 17:01
  • @Brandon Overthinking it would raise suspicions. If you accept your rationale as legitimate, they'll have to accept it as legitimate and that would be the easy way out for them. It is simple, so make it simple and keep it simple and straightforward and sincere - Complication arouses suspicion and often enough, undue suspicion. – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 24 '14 at 17:07

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