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Background:

I have been working in a Software Development Co-Op position for the last 3 1/2 months. I have really enjoyed my time here and I've had the opportunity to take on many important responsibilities, while at the same time being exposed to a variety of platforms and languages. The company culture is very laid back, the people are friendly, and my boss is awesome. In short, I love it here.

My Co-Op with this company ends in about 2 1/2 months, and I was planning on asking my boss if he would like me to come back next year and do another run, since my university usually prefers students do two 6 month runs.

My question is as follows:

If my boss says he would like me to come back again next year, would it be acceptable to inquire if it would be possible to do part-time work for the company between the end of my current run and the start of the next one?

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If my boss says he would like me to come back again next year, would it be acceptable to inquire if it would be possible to do part-time work for the company between the end of my current run and the start of the next one?

Absolutely!

This is a great way to grow your skills and make money during the school year. You already have domain knowledge and understanding of the company, so this can be a very mutually beneficial arrangement.

Keep in mind that smaller companies may have not ever done this before. It may take a bit for your manager to get this coordinated if so. You'll want to determine what your workload/time commitment looks like. You don't want to over-commit yourself and be unable to do school and work well!

You also may wish to check with your university career center.

My anecdotal experience is that I myself did exactly this. Between summer internships, I worked as a part-time student.

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If my boss says he would like me to come back again next year, would it be acceptable to inquire if it would be possible to do part-time work for the company between the end of my current run and the start of the next one?

Yes, that's perfectly acceptable.

Doing so sends two signals - you are eager to continue your working relationship with this company, and you are willing to go "above and beyond". Both are excellent traits.

In many companies, Co-Op positions are used as feeders for full-time employment. That may be the case at this company.

Even if not, there may be a need for part-time help that would be best served by someone who already knows the environment, and thus would need less ramp-up time.

I have been approached by Co-Op students in the past looking for continued (part-time) employment until the next Co-Op round, or until graduation. While it wasn't always possible, whenever I could I gave those students extra consideration, and made a position available.

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If you're interested in continuing work after you leave and think that you can balance your course load with part-time work, it's something that you can discuss with your manager. Having the discussion within the next month or so would probably be a good idea, so they can make the appropriate arrangements to support a remote worker. You should be prepared for an answer of "no", though - the company may not have the infrastructure or resources to support a remote worker, especially one that may need additional mentorship and guidance.

However, before you ask, you should consider the impact on your future career. You would need to be prepared to meet work deadlines and course deadlines, which may be in conflict with each other and neither may be flexible. Also, you should consider that you may not return to the company - they may not be able to support a full-time co-op next year or you may get a more enticing offer from another company that would give you a different set of experiences. Either way, taking a part-time job while still in school seems to be more constraining.

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