Things To Remember When Quitting Your Internship

Posted by | May 22, 2014 | Tips for Interns

You got the internship you’ve applied for, and were delighted to start. It might have been a bit tough at the beginning but you got into the flow or things and are happy with it.

Or maybe that’s not how it went for you. You tried your hand at it, decided to stick with it for a while longer before realising that it’s definitely not for you. There’s no shame in quitting your internship if it turns out it’s not what you were hoping for. It’s better to pull back and regroup instead of wasting your – and the company’s! – time on something that won’t help.

You sat and thought about it long and hard and decided to quit. Be sure to remember those following few things to make life easier for you and the company.

1. Be Certain

Sometimes you can hit a slump in productivity or mood. That happens. I believe you know yourself well enough to differentiate between that and being certain that the internship isn’t working for you. Don’t quit just because you want to sleep in in the morning instead of catching the early bus. But at the same time, don’t put yourself through unnecessary mental anguish if you feel like your internship isn’t the right fit for you.

2. Put It On Paper

You’ve decided to hand in your notice – make sure you go through your contract to see how much of a notice period you have to give and adjust accordingly. Write your notice and print it out. Plus, a printed out version of your resignation letter will act as a binding document, in the unlikely case there are any legal repercussions in the future. Be smart, think of your security.

(If you have no idea how to write a resignation letter, Google is your friend! There are many templates out there, have a look around, copy one of them and adjust it according to your needs.)

3. Do It In Person

Sometimes it might be tempting to just email your boss to say you’re quitting, especially if your decision might not be anticipated by the higher ups. Don’t give in to that impulse and instead hand in your notice in person. It shows class and respect for the company and your position at it, something that your employer will definitely appreciate. Besides, that way you’ll be able to talk about the logistics of you leaving.

4. Talk It Out

Don’t just hand in your notice to your boss and walk away. Stay, wait for their reaction. They might need you to stay a little longer than your notice period, or they might tell you that you can leave earlier. They might ask you if there’s anything they can do to help or change your mind – if there is, this is a good moment to bring it up; if there isn’t, be firm in your stance. You might be asked to stay on until they find a replacement for you, or you might be asked to compile what you’ve done into a summary for your successor. Whatever it is, talk it out with your boss, so you aren’t left wondering how to approach the upcoming change.

4. Be Diplomatic

You might be quitting because your boss or coworkers are hard to work with. Or you might think that the company is a joke, or doing something that you personally don’t agree with. Whatever the reason, remember to be polite and diplomatic. It might seem like a good idea to tell your boss just how badly you think they’re screwing up but it’s really not. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You never know where you might run into your boss again, so better leave on cordial terms. If you’re leaving because of personal reasons, you don’t have to divulge them if you don’t want to. Use your common sense here.

5. Say Thank You

Even if the internship wasn’t what you’ve wanted, it’s only good manners to thank your boss and coworkers for the time you’ve spent with them. They chose you from all the applicants, they trained you, they included you in their work lives. You might think you haven’t learned anything useful, but you most likely did. So thank them for the chance they gave you and the time they spent with you. Be kind and courteous because as I said before, you never know where you could meet them in the future.

Have you ever quit your internship, or a job? Why? Is there something you wish you did differently?


— Author: Lena Zwolak

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