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I accepted an offer for a 16-month internship with company A last May. I am not treated as an intern and the work assigned to me are similar to the new grads we just hired. The work is stable and it seems like they "will offer [me] a part-time position when [I] go back to school to finish my degree."

Suppose that I was given an offer by a non-competing company B, is it professionally acceptable for me to terminate my employment with company A early?

Could the early termination of my internship with company A reflect negatively on me later on in my career? How early is too early? Considering that the original length of my internship would appear on my resume, I am skeptical.

EDIT: Considering that the original length of my internship would not appear on my resume, I am skeptical.

  • If you want A to offer you that job, don't walk away. If you don't, it's like leaving any job: give them adequate notice so they can transfer your responsibilities, and if at all possible make sure you part on good terms so they'll give you good references. A year is not too early for an intern... But you did sorta promise them a full 16 months, and it would be preferable to serve out that term – keshlam Sep 16 '16 at 3:38
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    Why would the original length of the intern ship appear on your resume? You should only put what you worked. – FiringSquadWitness Sep 16 '16 at 4:32
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    Is a 16 month internship really a thing? Maybe it's part of a gap year or something? Personally, if I saw employment for 16 months I would question that more than 12 months. 12 months looks like a fixed term contract or an internship (as would 6 months). 16 is just a strange number of months to work IMO. I don't think it will effect you later on provided you leave on good terms. Let them know you appreciate what they've done for you, and come to an agreement on your notice period which makes them happy. – XtrmJosh Sep 16 '16 at 10:12
  • Sorry to double comment, but might also be useful to know when we take interviews for internships a lot of the people applying are in exactly your position, they've worked another internship for X months but are looking to move for whatever reason. We don't look down on this much if at all. We're more interested in what you can do, and how we can do better than your previous employer. – XtrmJosh Sep 16 '16 at 10:15
  • @FiringSquadWitness Sorry I meant to write the opposite - edited the post – user22651 Sep 16 '16 at 15:16
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Suppose that I was given an offer by a non-competing company B, is it professionally acceptable for me to terminate my employment with company A early?

No, only if you don't follow the defined process. So ask General qeustions about it and if they ask if you are leaving be honest that you don't want to burn bridges if you are to leave.

Could the early termination of my internship with company A reflect negatively on me later on in my career? How early is too early? Considering that the original length of my internship would appear on my resume, I am skeptical.

Depends on your School more than your Company. Termination of your internship is as far as I know as common as terminating a real Job.

It is an issue of doing so properly get Information about your Position. Ask if they need/want a part timer when you are at School.

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It is acceptable. You are not a slave.

Will the company like it? They won't. But that's a reason for you not to look for your own interests.

Now, if you are open to the possibility of staying for a better offer, then you might want to address this in a different way instead of just saying that you are leaving. You have nothing to lose if you ask them to give you a permanent role. If they say no, you leave.

Consider, however, that as long as the other offer is not given in form of a contract, you really have no option B. That's why I would recommend not to make a real move until having such offer in paper.

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