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Last year, my manager asked me to try to find one subject that could turn into an internship, which I successfully did. Unfortuantely, due to some problems with HR which resulted in a very late posting of the offer, we haven't been able to find anyone for the internship.

Some time has passed since then and the annual salary negotiation left me quite unhappy, which my manager is well aware of. He said that he will do everything he can to fix this next year, but considering the explanation I've got this year concerning my raise, I have some hope about this, but not that much. So I'm actually having a look at other positions, without considering me actively looking. He's not aware of that, as things may get better next year and I don't want to appear as threatening him with a potential resignation.

Problem is that in the past few days, he has been actively pushing me to take an intern on another subject (perfectly related to my area, spontaneous application) for around 6 months which is for me a period of time during which I may hand him over my resignation, leaving the intern with no tutor, which is something I wouldn't like to do to anybody. How to handle this the most professionally way ?

Edit : Thanks to the good answers. I think I'll take this opportunity as this is something I already wanted to do before this spontaneous application. I'll let my manager handle the consequences of my resignation if the situation arises, it's his job after all.

  • Possible duplicate workplace.stackexchange.com/q/62192/1437 – Amy Blankenship May 13 '16 at 18:00
  • Is it possible that your manager is challenging you to take on this added responsibility as a justification for your raise? This could be a test. – Jonathan Vanasco May 14 '16 at 1:28
  • @AmyBlankenship, I performed a quick search but did not find this one, but it also has some good answers (it confirms what is said here), so thank you. – user50505 May 14 '16 at 22:21
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When looking for a new job, you can't stop functioning "as normal" in your current position. So, if your boss asked you to do something, you should do it (as long as you don't have some other compelling reason to object). Yes, this will mean starting things that you know you are never going to finish, and sometimes this has quite a big impact on other people. But this is simply unavoidable.

Of course, you should not intentionally take on something you won't finish. You wouldn't volunteer to take a new responsibility or suggest the idea of bringing on this intern yourself. But your boss is your boss, and if he asks you to do something, what can you do? Refusing and being uncooperative is not a good idea, nor is telling him about your job search.

Do try to be prepared for your possible departure, to minimize the extent that your leaving will disrupt things. gvo gives good advice on this point. But ultimately the company will have to deal with this. It's just one of the realities of doing business.

  • Exactly. There is never a perfect time to leave and it's a normal cost of doing business. Really good employers solve this by encouraging open communication about employees' future plans and allowing notice periods of months rather than weeks. Absent that support, only C-level execs are typically expected to plan around their own departures. – Lilienthal May 13 '16 at 11:19
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leaving the intern with no tutor

Are you the only one in your team to be able to help/work with the intern? Unless your subject area is extremely specific even within your team, the intern will be part of the team, and it's not such a big deal if one of your colleagues (or you manager) take the responsibility of becoming its tutor.

Once the internship starts, if you still think about leaving, ensure that other colleagues are aware of what the intern is doing so that they can easily take over your role. In fact, I think that's something you should do anyway (you could be sick or hit by a bus any time after all), and it's more interesting for the intern to have interactions with multiple professionals rather than only the tutor.

So I'm actually having a look at other positions, without considering me actively looking.

Furthermore, you're not even sure to leave. Your company will not stop asking you doing some activities because "maybe you will decide to leave in six months but that's not sure"

How to handle this the most professionally way ?

Find the subject, and ensure other colleagues participate and adhere to it. In other words, continue to do your job, and ensure it can be taken over the day you'll leave (if you do)

  • 1
    First thanks for the answer. To answer you, I'm pretty much the only person capable of properly managing this intern on this subject. I'm part of a R&D team where all my colleagues focus on the R part, while I'm the D part. My colleagues have a very strong background in signal processing, while I'm the developper of the team : I build demonstrators of my colleagues algorithms with some hardware and most of the time real-time processing. The internship will be about this hardware and its limitations. – user50505 May 13 '16 at 13:03
  • May I ask what will happen to the "D" part the day you'll decide to leave? It makes me think that maybe your manager is also looking at an intern he might recruit later if things goes well. – gvo May 13 '16 at 15:08
  • You shouldn't worry about what will happen to the team, worry about what will get you to your career goals, I am not saying no throw people under the bus but don't avoid the opportunity of teaching another intern. I am sure you can learn something even if it's 60% Interns time there. (If the author was happy I would have other advice) – Donald May 13 '16 at 22:46
  • Well the "development" part of the team will lose some knowledge about real-time programming and using this specific hardware. I would like to have someone to work with (considering also the fact that may get hit by a bus) , but it's the classic "we don't have the budget for that" thing, which means we pretty much all work alone on our subjects. – user50505 May 14 '16 at 22:13
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It almost sounds like that your manager is only saving his own boat from sinking, as he is aware of your unhappy situation but is still actively pushing you to take an intern on another subject. You did your job by successfully finding a subject that could turn into an internship, and now it is your managers turn to do his.

Looking for other positions is threatening to a manager, but from your perspective it is quite normal that you are looking for other positions as you want to be safe for the future

You can take it into consideration that he may also be under pressure by his boss/manager, but since he said that he will do everything he can to fix it, it is a good moment to talk about the situation and explain how you feel about it.

If he is under pressure, I would communicate it like:

Hey X, before I take an intern for the subject, I wish to clear things up, We both know that we are under pressure, but can we consider Y..

You can also bring it like:

Hey X, about the annual salary negotiation, have you thought about how we can do this?

Goodluck!

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