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Shawna Scott - 4/14/2021

Life happens. Especially during a pandemic.

Hopefully, you’ll never run into a serious health, financial or family issue that forces you to put your internship on the back burner. However, if you do, you can still take a few simple steps to salvage the experience and maintain a good relationship with the company without burning any bridges.

  1. Do NOT ghost your employer. Zoom or call your supervisor and explain the situation.
    1. Explain the situation to the degree you feel comfortable. No need to go into all the private details, but make the general reason for your exit clear.
    2. Express your regret for not being able to fulfill your commitment.
    3. Thank them for the internship opportunity and for understanding.


  1. Depending on your situation, you may be able to arrange a way to return to your internship, even if you need an extended break to take care of some things. If applicable, offer this option to your employer and see if they’re willing to arrange it.


  1. If your reason for leaving is directly related to your internship workplace, don’t leave without notifying someone at the company’s HR department about the issue so they are aware of it and can work to address it.
  2. Glean what you can from your partial internship. If you’ve been there for a couple of weeks or more, or if you completed any projects, you can still ask your supervisor(s) for a letter of recommendation. Even within that fairly short timeframe, by then they should have a fairly solid impression of your work ethic and skills.

We hope you don’t encounter a situation that requires you to leave an internship before it’s completed, but in the case of an emergency, remember to communicate clearly and wrap things up as best you can. Your employer deserves the courtesy, and you will avoid losing valuable business connections!