I am currently a co-op at an organization where I really want to have a career. I did a temporary internship with them, fell in love, and got the more permanent co-op position in a different state.

The deal with my co-op is I work for a semester, go back to school, and then repeat until I graduate. I just finished my first work semester, but before I returned to school my supervisor asked if I would be willing to work maybe 10 hours a week remotely. Trying to make a good impression I agreed.

This was very bad judgement. I have a 14 hour course-load, as well as paid research. I have gotten to the point where this is affecting my health, both mentally and physically. Both coursework and research is required by my scholarship, and I would like to keep the research since it is in the field I am interested in and I have a good relationship with the professor. In contrast, my remote work doesn't really feel like I have enough to do but sit in front of my computer and make work for myself.

I would like to know if there is a respectful way to broach the topic of cutting my hours entirely until I get back to full time work.

  • You said its "remote work" but how easy is it to schedule one on one meeting with them, or do you do this already
    – Brandin
    Feb 25, 2015 at 6:57
  • You need to send an email..
    – amar
    Feb 25, 2015 at 7:41
  • Brandin: I'm in a state halfway across the country from my office, so unfortunately not very. But I can talk to her though email and phone. Feb 25, 2015 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


Simply talk to your supervisor and explain the situation. There's no shame in admitting that you underestimated your workload. Your supervisor will most likely be pleased that you're flagging the problem rather than continuing until something breaks. You've got a strong case here: you've given it a go, but it's having a clear negative effect on you. You'll still be keeping to the original deal so there's no logical reason why your supervisor would be upset or anything.

If possible, I would try having this conversation in person or over the phone, since it is clearly a sensitive issue for you and you'll want the additional clarity of communication that your tone of voice will bring.

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