8

I am a student currently in the last year of my degree course. So this year many internship opportunities approached me via my college. I had applied for many internship programs last semester and went ahead with company A, which I thought was the best. It is a part-time intership which spans 10 months, so I’m midway in it this semester.

Now another well known company B where I had applied before, has approached my college and they has offered a part-time internship. They have shortlisted 2 students on merit basis and I am one of them.

Now, my college wants me to do that internship too, as they want to have a good relationship with company B. My college says that I can manage both internships, as they are part-time i.e. they require me to work only two days a week.

I can guarantee that as an individual, I will do my best at both the places, irrespective of the fact that I am doing two internships at a time. But my question is whether this is ethical.

Neither in the contract of Company A nor B, is there a clause regarding this.

Edit

Thank You for such reasonable answers and comments. Sorry but I cannot select one as the best as each of them is equally informative. :-)

I have decided to work really hard and go for both the internships, but at first I will inform both Company A and B about it. And I will also ask my college to help me get both.

FYI :

  1. These internships are not a part of my course, so no grades involved.
  2. It's not a question of doing something for the benefit of the college. It's just hard to decide. I have this oppurtunity, and if I decline then maybe Company B won't come next year in my college. Then it's some other student's loss ( because of ME...!). Also it would be great, if I have 2 work experiences in my pocket.
  3. It won't hurt my course, cause as it is I go 4 days a week to Company A out of excitement. As both are part-time, now I'll go to company A and B 2 days each.
  4. The best part is that both of them have stipends. :-P

Edit 2

I got them both...! :-D

  • 2
    Possibly unrelated: "I can guarantee that as an individual, I will do my best at both the places". Can you guarantee that you will not burn out under the pressure of two jobs and a degree, and consequently disappoint both companies? I tried doing that once and I felt I would have done a much better job if I wasn't stretched so thin for months on end. – mbatchkarov Jan 13 '15 at 15:16
  • 1
    Instead of the ethical point of view, I would focus in the "doable" one: can you manage to do three intensive things at the time? It can be quite hard, specially when one of them (studying) needs extra work. Try to see what is best for you in the long term. – fedorqui Jan 13 '15 at 15:49
  • 1
    I only see an ethical concern if you aren't upfront with all parties involved about your current work/course load. – Mr. Mascaro Jan 13 '15 at 16:23
  • 3
    Are you considering the internship with company B for your own benefit, or for the college's benefit? Don't take a job because it's what they want you to do for their gain. Don't be a pawn in your college's attempt to build a better relationship with Company B – alroc Jan 13 '15 at 16:33
  • 4
    Make sure there aren't any regulations regarding total work hours as a student in your country. If you were to start two part time internships in germany, you would lose your "full-time student" status and would have to pay significantly more for health insurance. – kapex Jan 13 '15 at 19:43
30

I don't see any possible ethical concern. Both companies want to retain your services only part of the week, and you note that you will be able to balance the load. Both companies obviously know that you will be doing something else on the days you are not working for them. They won't care whether you will be studying, loafing or working another internship.

There might be an issue if both employers are direct competitors, but even then, they will likely not care in the case of a lowly intern (sorry!). Compare the case of someone who works part-time jobs in different restaurants on different days of the week.

If you really want to be sure, you can raise the point with your potential employers. I would not expect them to have an issue or rescind your offer just for asking. The "worst" they might do would be to condition their offer on your declining the other opportunity. But I would say that an employer who insists on your exclusive service but only employs you part-time is an employer to avoid.

  • I agree here. Since there is nothing in the contracts with either company regarding this, you should be in the clear. – Brian Jan 13 '15 at 14:39
  • 8
    I would only see an issue like you said if they were competitors. – Brian Jan 13 '15 at 16:37
  • Not to mention that since this is an internship at the college level, you probably aren't even being paid for this work (education is not money). You are under no obligation to be 'loyal' to a firm that you aren't on the payroll for, and unless these are competing companies, there's no conflict of interest. Now, when you do enter the workforce, there may be some conflict, but typically by then your internship will be over. – Zibbobz Jan 13 '15 at 20:43
  • 4
    Regarding "Compare the case of someone who works part-time jobs in different restaurants on different days of the week". I was actually in this situation a few years ago and both restaurants were very upset with me; I almost got fired from both jobs. – Dannnno Jan 13 '15 at 23:19
  • Again, though, as the commenters on your question have pointed out, be sure you truly do have the time for both internships and school! Only taking one internship is far preferable (and arguable more ethical) than burning out at both jobs if they end up being more than you can handle. – Kevin Jan 14 '15 at 3:02
5

This depends on what requirements the two companies have put on the internship. Some companies expect that you are getting college credit, others have no such requirement. Others expect that you will be a half time or full time student in addition to your internship. Working 32 hours on internships doesn't leave much time for school. These types of requirements are not unusual. They usually also require a specific grade point average, and a number of credits completed prior to the internship.

The two companies will need to be approached, and you might want the college to help with this. Their insistence that you try to do both is adding to the pressure of the situation. Also keep in mind that the second company may drop you from consideration once to approach them with your dilemma. They might actually be upset with the college if they pick you, then you have to refuse becasue you can't accept two college coordinated internships.

0

Unless the companies in question make not participating in a competitor's company a prerequisite, there is no issue here, and you are not obliged legally or ethically to disclose anything about one company to the other - its incumbent upon them to disclose these issues to you.

Any employer knows that if they aren't taking up your full work day, you will seek employment to fill your remaining time.

Don't talk yourself out of an opportunity! A lot of first time employees (interns or actual employees) sabotage themselves because of misplaced priorities and unrealistic expectations. Your specific goal coming out of college should be to build a portfolio of work experience that will benefit you in the long term. Therefore, select multiple internships if they are within the parameters of your (realistic) career goals.

0

I don't think there is much in terms of an ethical issue here, but there may be some legal repercussions depending on what types of non compete agreements you may have already signed or will have to sign (which I suppose creates ethical issues in that you should fulfill obligations that you willingly agree to).
I would check with the legal departments of both companies. Even if you don't think you signed something like that, it is probably better to get their legal department to agree in writing that you may take the other job, just to prevent any unpleasantness in the future.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.