Startup helps overworked Japanese employees quit their jobs
INQUIRER.net / 05:51 PM August 29, 2018
A startup company in Japan provides a service focused on helping exhausted Japanese workers to quit their unsatisfying jobs.
In a culture where overtime is “expected” of a proper employee, getting up the courage to quit an overly taxing job may prove challenging for many Japanese. It is for this reason that Toshiyuki Niino and childhood friend Yuichiro Okazaki co-founded Exit, under their company Senshi S LLC, to provide a helpful service to Japan’s troubled work force, according to a report by The Japan Times.
“Quitting jobs can be a soul-crushing hassle. We’re here to provide a sense of relief by taking on that burden,” said Niino.
Exit began operation in 2017. Its service generally acts as a middle man to relay an employee’s intention to resign to the employer. The fee for this service costs 50,000 yen (about P23,000) for regular employee and 40,000 yen (around P19,000) for part-timers. Repeat clients get a 10,000 yen (about P4,400) discount on their next case.
Exit’s prices may appear hefty, but it would depend on how badly the service is needed. Since the company went into operation, they have mediated resignations for around 700 to 800 clients all over the country.
Clients who avail themselves of Exit’s service will need to file an online request and deposit the required fee. Exit will then contact the employer and inform them of the employee’s desire to quit. This method helps to limit the contact between the employer and employee since the act tends to be very stressful for workers, as stated in the report.
However, Exit only acts as a messenger and will not handle legal matters such as negotiating severance packages. Everything else such as necessary paperwork, belongings to be returned, and such will be exchanged via mail.
“Quitting should be something positive,” said Niino who worked in three firms before putting up Exit with Okazaki, who previously worked in the nightlife industry after dropping out of the University of North Texas.
Niino’s words run in contrast to Japan’s increasingly scrutinized extreme work culture. The culture is so pervasive it even has a word for people who die of overwork, “karoshi.”
Workers who use Exit’s service usually don’t want to return to their old workplace, so paid leaves are used up in the process. In case they don’t have any, they settle for unpaid leaves. These people want to avoid the workplace as much as possible due to the extreme stress they experience. The stress is a combination of paperwork filing, bosses who try to dissuade them from resigning, and cultural pressure.
Niino and Okazaki’s company may soon become Exit Inc., thanks to interest from a venture capital firm that wants to invest in the business. The co-founders are considering taking the offer to boost visibility and establish their brand further. Thanks to Exit’s success, similar services have started popping up.
For the long term, the two entrepreneurs want to extend Exit’s service to also help workers who resign to find new jobs. Alfred Bayle /ra