Q: I recently graduated college and have been interning at a large metro in the meantime while I look for jobs. I went to a job interview in another state for a couple of days and told my editors and the internship recruiter that I was doing so.
When I returned from the job interview, I told my editor that if I am offered the job then I might have to start immediately and leave within a week (that was a week ago). Yesterday I was offered the job. I accepted and told my internship coordinator and editor that I would have to leave after the end of this week.
They both congratulated me and said that it would be fine. However, at the end of the day the internship recruiter called me into the office and said that I should put in a two weeks notice because I am putting them in a bind if I leave after this week.
I honestly understand the need for a two-week notice, but if I wait for two weeks then I might not be able to do the job (they need someone to start immediately because of beat changes). Also, for financial reasons, a job is the best logical step for me to take right now. The internship is supposed to last another month and a half. Also, I'm really not getting much work to do here; the editor is struggling to find stories for me to do. Some people have told me that I need to do what is best financially and what is best for my career.. and also what will make me the happiest. If I do what is best financially, career-wise and for emotional happiness - all answers are leaning toward leaving at the end of the week for the job.
What would you advise me to do? I completely understand the professional two-week notice, but if I'm not working on many stories anyway and it seems more of a trouble for the editor to find something for me to do, and if I'm stuck eating Ramen noodles all day, then wouldn't a job seem logical? Shouldn't the internship recruiter be happy that I am going to take a job?
Betwixt and Between
A: You are in a mild bind that does not appear to be of your own making.
As you describe things, you first told the editor you might have to leave suddenly, and there was no objection. You then told two editors you would be leaving right away and there was no objection. By the time the internship recruiter told you that a two-week notice would be better, you had already committed to the new paper.
I would meet with the recruiting editor and explain that you understand a two-week notice is standard, but that you had asked for some leeway and met no objection -- until later.
I should think that your present editors do want to see you succeed and that you want to maintain good relations with them. Limit your discussion to this sequence of events. Telling them that they have you on Ramen wages or that they can't keep you busy enough will not help your cause and could ultimately turn a graceful departure into an ugly one.
Hang your whole story on the change in signals, be gracious and go to that new job.