News: Employees in Japan pay agencies to quit on their behalf, deets inside

Employment Landscape

Employees in Japan pay agencies to quit on their behalf, deets inside

Exit and similar companies take on the responsibility of resignations on behalf of Japanese employees who feel too anxious to directly face their superiors.
Employees in Japan pay agencies to quit on their behalf, deets inside

Toshiyuki Niino, having been dissatisfied with a previous job, experienced difficulty mustering the courage to directly approach his boss when he decided to quit. Having prior experience working in various Japanese workplaces, Niino was well aware that his choice would likely encounter opposition.

According to Niino, residing in Kamakura, a coastal city approximately 65km south of Tokyo, when attempting to resign, employers often employ guilt-tripping tactics. “They try to make you ashamed and guilty that you quit your job in less than three years, and I had a very difficult time,” he told Al Jazeera. 

Niino's personal encounter sparked an idea for him and his childhood friend, Yuichiro Okazaki. They pondered the possibility of sparing individuals the ordeal of personally resigning from their jobs by delegating the task to someone else. 

This led to the inception of Exit, a startup that takes on the uncomfortable responsibility of submitting resignation notices on behalf of Japanese employees who feel ashamed or embarrassed to handle it themselves.

In exchange for a fee of 20,000 yen ($144), Exit offers to communicate the client's intention to resign directly to their employer. This service enables the employee to bypass any anxiety-inducing face-to-face encounters with their superiors.

According to the Al Jazeera report, Exit's business model, established in 2017, has been embraced by approximately two dozen other companies, giving rise to a niche industry focused on outsourcing resignations in Japan.

According to Niino, the majority of his clients, who reach out for his services, are men in their 20s. He further mentioned that his business receives around 10,000 inquiries annually, although not all of the individuals who make contact ultimately proceed to utilise the service.

“The two major reasons I see are they are scared of their boss so they cannot say that they want to quit, and also the guilty feeling they have for wanting to quit,” he said.

Niino holds the belief that the service's popularity may be attributed to certain elements of Japanese culture that discourage disharmony and emphasise the notion that success is attained through long-term dedication. “It seems like if you quit or you don’t complete it, it’s like a sin,” he said. “It’s like you made some sort of bad mistake.”

Throughout most of the 20th century, Japan was recognized for its prevalent practice of lifetime employment, which fostered a demanding work culture characterized by extensive working hours and extended periods of service.

Although experiencing a decline, the percentage of workers in Japan who labour for more than 60 hours per week, amounting to approximately 6 per cent, remains one of the highest among OECD countries.

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Topics: Employment Landscape, #HRTech, #HRCommunity, #ResetWork

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