Posted August 27, 2013 by

Enough Is Enough: Walking Away from a Bad Internship

quit your internshipWalking away from a full-time professional job is serious business. True storm-outs are rare in the working world, and when they happen, they’re intense and occasionally awkward.

Walking away from an internship, however, is a different story. Although internships are a valuable way to get hands-on exposure to the professional working world—and potentially transition into a full-time job—these opportunities might become more illusion than reality.

Consider this unfortunate scenario: You’re a month into your internship, and pretty much dread it. You’re sticking it out mainly because you’re clinging onto that spiel your boss gave you about “growing, gaining experience, showcasing your skills, and working your way into an everyday position.” So far, though, you’ve been making cold call after cold call, and you’re itching to walk out the door and find a new opportunity that aligns with your career goals. Somehow, though, you feel committed to this company, and fear the notion of quitting.

First off, don’t worry: This sense of confusion and fear is normal. Secondly, if you catch yourself making any of the seven excuses below, it might be time to pull the trigger and walk away.

7 Excuses That Might Mean It’s Time to Pack Your Bags

You never want to give up too early. But if you’re constantly using the following excuses, quitting might be your best option.

1.    “I’m not a quitter!”

There’s a time to worry about whether someone might call you a “quitter,” and there’s a time to protect your future (not to mention your present). This is the time to protect your future. Time is precious, and you need to spend it in ways that can actually help you.

2.    “Things might get better!”

This position will be over by September. If things haven’t gotten better yet, they probably won’t get better between now and then.

3.    “This experience will toughen me up!”

On the long winding career path that lies ahead of you, there are lots and lots of things that are going to happen to you that will “toughen you up.” You don’t need to go looking for them. They’ll find you.

4.    “They ARE paying me….at least a little.”

If your employers are paying you, then they have a bit of leverage, and it’s okay for you to hesitate and consider what you’re getting in exchange for what you’re giving up. But if they aren’t paying you, off you go.

5.    “My (parents, mentor, ‘boss,’ internship coordinator) will be disappointed in me!”

If these people really care about you, they’ll be proud of you for taking the more difficult course, standing up for yourself, and doing what you need to do. If they don’t, they may be disappointed for about five minutes. Then, like you, they’ll move on.

6.    “It was really hard to get this internship. What if I don’t find anything better?”

Then you’ll spend the rest of the summer looking. And the search itself will teach you more and will be a more valuable experience than whatever you’re doing right now.

7.    “I don’t think I have the guts.”

Yes you do. You have the guts to face a difficult conversation, the strength to maintain control over your destiny, the words to articulate your feelings, and the faith to leave a bad situation and head into the unknown. And if you aren’t sure you really have these things, now is the time to find out.

LiveCareer (, home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Find LiveCareer on Youtube and visit LiveCareer’s Google+ page for even more tips and advice on all things career and resume-related.

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