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As a bit of background, I am currently still in school and will be graduating after my next semester. I am currently employed with a part time internship at Company A and have been working part time for 3 and a half semesters plus one summer internship for company A. I took one summer off working for them to intern with Company B and I will most likely intern somewhere else this summer as well (either at Company B or an entirely different company).

Company A wants me to work for them when I graduate and thus made me a formal offer with a start date a few weeks after I graduate. They would like me to reply to the offer fairly soon. It seems like a fair offer to me with a fairly good compensation package (they didn't let me negotiate the salary though and I was looking forward to that but owell).

I know Company B also would like me to work for them upon graduation (though nothing formal yet). I also am looking for jobs at other companies still, and since I am still so far from graduation, I have not applied to many other places.

So my question is, should I accept an offer if I am not sure I will show up to work on my first day, nine months from now?


For additional context, the offer I was given is an 'at-will' contract for a company in the United States in the software industry.

  • 2
    they didn't let me negotiate the salary though - Do you mean you tried to negotiate and they said no, or do you mean they didn't explicitly ask you what salary you wanted or if you were okay with their offer? There's a big difference between the two. – Zaenille Mar 25 '15 at 10:43
  • @zaenille. The former. – lightfires Mar 25 '15 at 15:25
  • @lightfires Potentially useful - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/10940/… – David K Mar 25 '15 at 15:26
  • Is there a clause in the contract that guarantees you will be hired in 9 months? It's possible the company will have budget cuts, a re-organization, management change, etc. and the position offered in good faith is no longer available. I know a few people who have had an offer retracted within a week or 2 before because of a hiring freeze. If there is a guarantee, then there should be penalty ($$$) if the position isn't available or it's a different role that originally agreed to, etc. e.g. offered a software developer but actually get hired for a software tester. – Adam Porad Dec 23 '15 at 19:26
29

Congratulations on having impressed multiple potential employers. You're in a good position, but be careful not to become a jerk about it. You could mention to Company B that you have a formal offer from another company, and ask if there is any opportunity for them to make you a formal offer as well. If Company B is unable to make a formal offer at that time, you might want to consider locking in a job with Company A, and working there for a time. Nothing is permanent.

You should not accept the offer from Company A if you do not intend to work there, or you think you might not work there. You can explain to them that it's a little too soon to be committing, since you still have a semester to go, and that one of your other internship employers has also mentioned a potential offer.

Remember, don't be a jerk about it. If either company gets upset and tells you to take off for the other company, consider yourself lucky to have dodged a bullet. You don't want to work for a place that flies off the handle in a very normal and common internship relationship.

  • I would also say that, if you decide to accept the offer from Company A but down the line get an amazing offer from someone else, there is absolutely nothing wrong with "quitting" before you even start work. – David K Mar 25 '15 at 12:24
  • @davidk that's exactly what i was wondering. I would like to work for Company A but I also have not explored all my options yet so I'm not sure how to approach the situation. – lightfires Mar 25 '15 at 15:24
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"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" - olde proverb.

If you really want to work at B, tell them that you have an offer from A, what the signing deadline is, and request an extension of the signing deadline from A if needed. If B really wants you they'll make you an offer. If not, accept the offer from A. If B makes you an offer, and it's better than A's, accept it and tell A. If you still want to work for A, you can accept their existing offer, or try to negotiate a better one.

Remember, your job is to secure employment for yourself, and not to make things convenient for A or B. If A or B runs out of money or decides that they don't like you, they'll terminate you on the spot without considering where you'll work next. As such, they shouldn't expect more from you.

The other thing is that you could get hit by a bus or win the lottery, causing you to not show up in nine months. Stuff happens...

I have hired new grads in the past, and seen other managers lose graduates to other employers. It's a minor inconvenience at worst in most situations. And if it's a major inconvenience, they are obviously not offering you enough money.

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