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cutiepi92's avatar

Should I stay in my internship or should I leave?

Asked by cutiepi92 (2226 points ) January 14th, 2014

So I really don’t know what to do right now. I know this is long, but please power through. I need outside opinions.
I interviewed for this job in December last year and was offered the internship. At the time, I had no other options even remotely possible and registration was the first week of January so I accepted. Two days before I started, I received an email from another company that I applied to (and for an internship position that is better suited to my chosen field). They said they were interested and wanted to interview me. A day after that I received another email from yet ANOTHER company; basically it seems like all these places want to choose their interns weeks after registration and the start of classes. Since it was only confirmation for an interview, I told them I would interview but didn’t tell my accepted internship. Yesterday I went for the first time. They are a small company and are really nice, but I found out that apparently I am required to work 15 hours a week. This wasn’t noted on their application, job posting, or in the interview. They didn’t specify I had a minimum number I needed. This is a problem because essentially this is my schedule as of now for Monday and Wednesday with school and the internship.
Mon:
8:30 – 12:30 work
1:30 – 3:00 class
3:30 – 5:00 work
Wed:
8:30 – 12:30 work
1:30 – 3:00 class
3:30 – 5:00 work
5:30 – 8:00 class
Friday is the same but I just don’t have to go back for the 3:30–5:00 block. I couldn’t put my hours on other days because literally I am in class from 9:35 to 7:30 all day with only an hour and a half gaps. I go to a very rigorous university and this doesn’t even factor in time for group assignments, readings, and studying. This is also a lot of extra driving for me. I may have felt different if I was getting paid, but they are only giving me $1,000 for the ENTIRE semester. That’s only a couple hundred dollars more than all the money it would cost me for gas to drive there and back multiple times a day (in a major city’s traffic, think like Chicago level big). I made more than that at my on campus job where I worked less hours and had time to do my homework at my job. By the time I got home last night, I was incredibly tired and stressed because I still had a bunch of readings to do, and it’s not even deep in the semester yet where I would have more work. My grandparents really want me to quit……..they said they would even try to give me money if they needed to……..I’m not sure what to do. I really don’t like the situation, but the people are nice and I need something on my resume. Also, if I don’t have this internship, I will be 1000% broke. I don’t like taking money from my grandparents and having the little bit from my job on campus gave me a level of independence that I no longer can enjoy. I feel guilty now for going and making it seem like I was ready to be there for long term. Going in, I was, and my first day wasn’t OVERLY busy….but I can see this schedule messing me up in the future. It is my last semester in school, and I have made all As for the past 4 semesters which is nearly unheard of at my school. I’ve been doing well and I feel like this might mess up my final GPA. I have other options, but they are far from guaranteed. They are nice people at this company, and it’s not directly related to my future career plans but it’s kinda sorta related…..I haven’t signed a contract or anything.

Should I stay or should I leave? And if I should leave, how do I do that without seeming like an asshat? I really feel bad about this….I don’t like going back on my word and they’ve already got me a parking pass and login and stuffs…..and I already started on some work…..

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9 Answers

janbb's avatar

Have you told them your dilemma? Maybe you can negotiate the hours down to around 10. If not, I would consider quitting with an offer of two weeks notice.

In the future, be clear about the expectations are before accepting an internship.

cutiepi92's avatar

I tried monday to negotiate to 10. They said I absolutely must do 15. It wasn’t ever specified at any other time until Monday as I was told beforehand that we would discuss my hours on my first day when I came in (because I only finalized my class schedule this past Friday).

snowberry's avatar

It looks like everyone made mistakes on this one. Doesn’t sound like anyone’s fault, either, but in my mind, your grades come first. Explain the problem to them and ask them if you could be able to negotiate an internship after you graduate, perhaps with this same company.

livelaughlove21's avatar

First of all… “they are only giving me $1,000 for the ENTIRE semester.”

Ha! I wish I got paid for my internships. Granted, they were in the summer when I did not have classes, but I worked 40 hours per week for free, and I didn’t even get school credit until the second summer. Be glad you’re getting paid anything at all. Yeah, it’s only about $4/hr, but many (if not most) internships don’t pay squat.

What about the other interviews? Have you gone on those? If you get an internship offer with less hours, you could always just do that and put it on your resume. If you don’t get an offer, could you get another on-campus job instead of the internship so you can avoid taking money from your grandparents?

I agree with @snowberry that your grades should come first. If you’re legitimately concerned that you won’t do well academically because of these extra 15 hours, don’t do it. It’s a shame to miss out on resume-building experience, even if it’s not closely related to your field of study, but you have to do what you have to do.

Just as an FYI…my internships were with the department of probation and parole, so working with criminal law, and my first post-graduation job is in education/employment law – not nearly as related as you might think. However, I’m convinced that I wouldn’t have gotten this job without that experience. Working at a bank doesn’t really qualify you to do what I do, and neither does a degree in Psychology. So, keep that in mind – even if it’s not all that related, the real-world job experience will probably be hugely beneficial once you get out of school.

Like I said, I did both of my internships in the summer, so I never had this problem. However, I couldn’t work during those summers, so my husband had to support me. I was/am very lucky to have him, but I understand you are not in the same situation. He wanted me to focus on my last semester of school, so I didn’t work at all those last few months and, once again, he had to support me. If all else fails, just accept the offer from your grandparents and try to pay them back once you get a job after college.

cutiepi92's avatar

@livelaughlove21 please don’t misunderstand. It’s not even the fact that it isn’t paying much, it’s that I’m under a ridiculous level of stress with the internship + school and that in itself I do not feel is worth $1000. I was willing to do an unpaid internship last summer along with my on campus job the only reason I didn’t was because I found out that I had to pay tuition in order to get any kind of credit for it and doing unpaid internship without course credit IS illegal.

40 hours a week is a fulltime job, but at least when a job is done you don’t have homework, group meetings, studying, and research papers to do. Plus I am in senior design which is a crap ton of work in itself. Trying to balance both is going to be hell…...

I mean, what you’re mentioning is the reason why I’ve been going back and forth between staying or not. I do think that it will definitely help my resume as it is really bare right now. I have work experience, but not any remotely applicable work experience. This is at least somewhat related. But it’s hard for me to figure out if feeling an extreme amount of stress my last semester in school is worth it. If I’ll be able to get a job even without the experience since my degree is from a top ranked school or if that actually doesn’t matter. I really don’t know right now.

I have yet to do the other interviews, we have to set them up (all of this has happened within the past week and a half). But as of right now, I’m not really trying to take those into account for this opinion. Right now I’m just trying to think this internship vs. no internship at all.

snowberry's avatar

You need to establish your priorities. Your priorities (as I see them) are grade point first and foremost. You don’t get to re-do that. You might apply for another job on-campus to give yourself a little cash, if you think you need it.

Once the semester is over, you can fix the problems (internships will never go away, and you can do one in addition to a regular job if need be), which will look twice good on a resume: “Look, boss, after she graduated, she worked an internship in addition to the job at Burger King!”

livelaughlove21's avatar

@cutiepi92 “doing unpaid internship without course credit IS illegal.”

No, it’s just called being a volunteer.

snowberry's avatar

@livelaughlove21, @cutiepi92 I’m not sure what they call them, but some hospitals do offer “internships” at a reduced pay rate for people who’ve graduated as RN’s, but don’t yet have that necessary “year of experience” to get a job working as a full fledged RN.

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds like you probably should quit the internship. Give them notice, maybe offer to work partial hours after the two weeks until they replace you to help them out if you want to offer.

If your grandparents have the money let them give it to you. If they are poor and barely make it check to check that is one thing, but, I am assuming if they offered they have the money. I worry about other people’s money too, but now that I am older I see that $1,000 wasn’t that much money for my parents or grandparents and can make a world of difference for a student. The few times I accepted large gifts like that, to me it is large, it made a significant difference in my situation and I see now the grown ups at the time understood better than me my situation. You can look for a new job in the future to earn some money again.

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