For workers who dream of quitting but dread the thought of having to confront their boss, Japanese company Exit offers a solution: It will resign on their behalf.
The six-year-old company fills a niche exclusive to Japan’s unique labor market, where job-hopping is much less common than in other developed nations and overt social conflict is frowned upon.
“When you try to quit, they give you a guilt trip,” Exit co-founder Toshiyuki Niino told Al Jazeera.
“It seems like if you quit or you don’t complete it, it’s like a sin,” he told the news outlet. “It’s like you made some sort of bad mistake.”
Niino started the company in 2017 with his childhood friend in order to relieve people of the “soul-crushing hassle” of quitting, he told the The Japan Times.
Exit’s resignation services costs about $144 (20,000 yen) today, down from about $450 (50,000 yen) five years ago, according to media reports.
Exit did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS MoneyWatch.
As for how the service works, the procedure, outlined in a Financial Times article, is simple. On a designated day, Exit will call a worker’s boss to say that the employee is handing in their two weeks’ notice and will no longer be taking phone calls or emails. Most Japanese workers have enough paid leave saved up to cover the two-week period, the FT said, although some take the time off unpaid to prepare for new work.
The company seems to have struck a chord with some discontented employees in Japan. Some 10,000 workers, mostly male, inquire about Exit’s services every year, Niino told Al Jazeera, although not everyone ultimately signs up. The service has spawned several competitors, the FT and NPR reported.
Companies aren’t thrilled
Japan is famous for its grueling work culture, even creating a word — “karoshi” — for death from overwork. Until fairly recently, it was common for Japanese workers to spend their entire career at a single company. Some unhappy employees contacted Exit because the idea of quitting made them so stressed they even considered suicide, according to the FT.
Perhaps not surprisingly, employers aren’t thrilled with the service.
One manager on the receiving end of a quitting notice from Exit described his feelings to Al Jazeera as something akin to a hostage situation. The manager, Koji Takahashi, said he was so disturbed by the third-party resignation notice on behalf of a recent employee that he visited the young man’s family to verify what had happened.
“I told them that I would accept the resignation as he wished, but would like him to contact me first to confirm his safety,” he said.
Takahashi added that the interaction left him with a bad taste in his mouth. An employee who subcontracts the resignation process, he told the news outlet, is “an unfortunate personality who sees work as nothing more than a means to get money.”