I am currently employed as an intern at a start-up, and I really like the work I do. It is very relaxed, low stress, but I just got a paid job.

I am a programmer/web developer. My new job isn't as challenging as my internship, but it pas well. Whenever I work at my internship I always learn new things, and I only work there 1-2 days a week, tops.

Is it crazy to keep working as an intern if I have a paid job? Even if I like doing it, and I learn a lot in the process? And if I should quit, how should I go about doing that in such a way that,

A) They would want to hire me back when they have the funding
B) We would be on the best terms possible


The answer to whether you should quit your internship is up to you. Before I got my first internship, I wasn't sure what to learn exactly, and I wasn't sure exactly how things worked in the real world. Truth be told, I actually had nightmare scenarios of sitting at a desk doing Discrete Math proofs or studying formal logic like in my Computer Science undergrad.

But the internship showed me what to study and clarified what was important. For me, it wasn't the knowledge that was so important as much as it was the skill to learn new things. The internship also gave me a reason to learn these things. For instance, I probably wouldn't have learned Visual Basic if I didn't work at my internship.

Since graduating, the side projects I've done, both paid and volunteer, have given me that focus that I needed on what to learn, because honestly, there's so much out there to learn that just picking something randomly may not always be the best choice.

With that said, you should really think about whether or not it's really worth quitting the internship if you're learning a lot there. Also, take into consideration the duration of the internship. Is it really worth breaking a commitment if the internship ends in, for example, three weeks?

Assuming you've already made up your mind and do want to quit, here's how to approach this:

  • Give your internship notice that you're leaving. Two weeks should be enough.
  • Explain that you've enjoyed working there and have learned a lot, and make it clear that you're interested in a possible full time position should one become available.
  • Continue to show up to work and transfer any knowledge that you need to transfer over to your colleagues. Use that time to get to a stopping point on any of the projects that you're working on.

On your last day, your boss and colleagues should have everything they need from you so that there won't be any loose ends.

  • 1
    Also, be aware that quitting might mean that you lose the credit hours for the internship. – HLGEM Dec 10 '12 at 15:05

In addition to the comments from jmort253 I’d also add the following:

If the hours of the internship are not interfering with your new job, and / or the interning company isn't in competition with the new company I would suggest continuing it based on your comments and my thoughts below.

  1. The new things you are learning in the intern position may end up helping you and your new company in ways you don’t currently know.
  2. Learning new things is often fun and can keep a less challenging job albeit well-paying job more interesting as you try to find ways to help / improve based on the new things you’re learning, as well as helping you keep from getting burned out if the job is to mundane.
  3. I've noticed a lot of people that once they get a full time job getting into a technology rut, where their knowledge becomes stagnate because the company is using X technology and will be for several years.
  4. Keeping the intern position can allow you to stay current and have a broader variety of knowledge to choose from when mission critical issues arise at the new job.
  5. Lastly you could look at / use the internship as continuing education allowing you to get real world experience outside of your current employer without having to pay the exorbitant fees of your local colleges.

But again I reiterate my first comment, about making sure you have the time for the internship and that it doesn't in any way compete with your new employment.

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