Should I quit my job?
January 13, 2010 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Should I quit my job?

I'm currently working as an intern at a certain organization. The work is not really what I want to be doing, but it pays well, and it's given me some good experience in my field. There are currently 3 students working at my job. The other two will be gone within the next 2 weeks. One of them graduated and got a job somewhere else, and the other one is apparently too busy with school to sustain the job. In light of knowing that the other two students are leaving, my supervisor asked me if I planned on staying for the upcoming semester. I said yes. Within the same week, I received a job offer for another internship at a company that I actually want to be working at (it's in a line of work that is more aligned with my interests). On top of that, the job pays more. I wasn't looking for another job. It was something that just kind of fell into my lap. Before they actually offered me a job, I told them I'd like to stay at my current job, but I would be interested in starting at the end of the semester. When I received the new job offer from the man who owns the firm, he told me it's likely they would still have room for me in the Summer, but he couldn't guarantee it, and said that they would love to have me now.

The new job seems like it would be really cool, and it makes my current job seem pretty dull. I'd like to take it now, but I don't want to risk being unprofessional or crass by turning around and quitting at my current job right after I said I would stay. Even if I don't like the line of work I'm in, I still have a lot of respect for my supervisors and colleagues. I also feel kind of guilty leaving them with zero interns. They're hoping to hire a new intern and that I will be the one to mentor the new one, but who knows how soon that will happen. On top of all this, I tried to call the new potential employer to tell him about the situation. He didn't pick up, and I ended up leaving a stupid-sounding, ambiguous voice mail. I still haven't heard from him.

I don't know what to do at this point! Should I just quit my job? Should I tell the new employer that I'll check in with him in a month or so and see if I can transition then?
posted by nel to Work & Money (17 answers total)
If you decide to leave and take the more appealing position, you need to do so in a diplomatic way that ensures that you will be able to get good recommendations from your current internship.
posted by The World Famous at 6:57 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

You have another job offer on the table in this economy, which pays more, and which you are more interested in than your current job, and you are asking if you should take it?


Of course.
posted by dfriedman at 6:58 PM on January 13, 2010 [9 favorites]

I received a job offer for another internship at a company that I actually want to be working at (it's in a line of work that is more aligned with my interests). On top of that, the job pays more.

Yes, you should quit your current job and move on to this new one. It's not even close. Quit professionally and apologetically. They will have forgotten about you within a couple weeks. Don't worry about it.
posted by Perplexity at 6:59 PM on January 13, 2010 [6 favorites]

You really have to look out for yourself. Your employer isn't going to have your best interests at heart and would probably be entirely willing to dump you if the need and opportunity presented itself. So go for the better job and don't do anything out of a desire to be loyal to either one of them.
posted by XMLicious at 7:03 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

To add to my previous answer: Yes, go to the better job. Look out for yourself. If there's not a graceful way to do it (there is), you should still do it.
posted by The World Famous at 7:04 PM on January 13, 2010

Don't worry about them; there're enough skilled, unemployed people to fill the gap that you will leave. Just try your damn hardest to quit in a manner that will give you a worthwhile reference.
posted by griphus at 7:12 PM on January 13, 2010

thank them, be polite, give as much notice as possible, move on to the more interesting position. period. do it now. for real.... go now...
posted by chasles at 7:22 PM on January 13, 2010

Just adding my voice, take the new job.. But leave the old one as cleanly and politely as possible.. Never burn bridges because you never know when you need to cross it again..

Make sure that the new job is a 100% done deal and then approach your current employer and explain to him your situation.. Thank them for their faith in you and the job they had provided to you, but its time to move on.. There are plenty of people out there wanting a job they won't be looking for very long..
posted by SteveG at 7:23 PM on January 13, 2010

You're an intern, this will not surprise anyone. If you want this job, you cannot involve the offeree in your drama. It isn't his business and he doesn't care. You can ask once about a lengthy start date - anything more endangers your candidacy.

Tell the guy who is offering the job that you can start in two weeks, so you can wrap up things at your current place. Leave a clear enthusiastic voice mail if you don't talk to him directly.

"Hi, NEWBOSS, this is X, and I'm calling to let you know I'd be pleased to accept the position ROLE at COMPANY. I would be available to start two weeks following receipt of a written offer. Please give me a call or have HR contact me so we can finalize this. I'm looking forward to it."

Once you have signed something (do not rely on purely verbal offer), tender your resignation at the old job with a standard two weeks notice. If you want to be generous, you could

"Bob, I have some news. I was offered a big career opportunity at another company, and I accepted it. I know that I originally said that I could stay through the summer, but that won't be possible now. I'm officially giving my two weeks notice. I've enjoyed working here at PLACE with COWORKERS under your direction. BLAH BLAH PERSONAL NOTE."

Exeunt Stage Left.
posted by canine epigram at 7:36 PM on January 13, 2010 [5 favorites]

(oops. If you want to be generous, say you can start in three weeks, so you can ensure a smooth transition for blah blah)
posted by canine epigram at 7:38 PM on January 13, 2010

What XMLicious said. It's business. You have to look out for you, because no one else will. I say this as someone who has been far too nice to too many employers, and has learned the hard way.
posted by fairywench at 8:02 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

To me, the only issue is how you leave your current internship, not if. Give them as much notice as you possibly can. Document a step by step "how-to" do your job. Offer to train a newbie. Offer to be available for calls. Explain the situation as succinctly as you have here. "I was not looking for another position. I was offered one that pays more and will give me more direct experience in my chosen field. I really like working here. I will be as helpful in training the next person as I can be. I would like to leave in two weeks, but am willing to stay on for another week (or whatever time you are) until a replacement can be hired and/or trained." I would also ask the person who is leaving because they have too much school work if they can help out part time in transitioning a new hire into place.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:06 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Take the new job. This happens in the real world all the time, your situation is no different. In the working world "business is business," and they'll probably still give you a good reference. Plus, you're an intern.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:08 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just take the other job and give fair notice, and explain why you're doing it. It's a business decision. Your boss will get over it. Offer to find a replacement. If they ask for help, give it, otherwise, don't lose any sleep over it... As long as you give fair notice.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:28 PM on January 13, 2010

Just echoing what everybody else is saying -- the thing you should be thinking about is negotiating your transition to the new gig, not whether or not to accept it.

Congrats on the new job, by the way...
posted by genehack at 3:25 AM on January 14, 2010

Offering to train a successor for a specified number of days, or a specified transition period while you come in a couple of days is how I managed something similar.

Since these are presumably student internships, you can also offer to help out by putting notices in your department, or even offering to be available to talk to potential applicants. All of this has to be with limits, of course, but appearing helpful and regretful that you have to do this is a great way of leaving on a high.
posted by tavegyl at 4:06 AM on January 14, 2010

It's all about notice. As an intern, if you give two week's notice, you are being generous. If they don't take it that way, then that's too bad.

There are some bosses who will try to emotionally blackmail employees into staying, and they are another reason to quit.
posted by bingo at 7:57 AM on January 14, 2010

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