In Japan, a unique startup named Exit has emerged, offering employees a way to resign from their jobs without facing their bosses directly. Exit, founded by Toshiyuki Niino and Yuichiro Okazaki, charges a fee of 20,000 yen (US$144) to inform a client’s employer about their decision to quit, eliminating the need for any uncomfortable confrontations.
Since its inception in 2017, Exit has inspired around two dozen other companies to adopt a similar business model, creating a niche industry of resignation outsourcing in Japan. The majority of Exit’s clients are men in their 20s, with the company receiving approximately 10,000 inquiries annually.
Niino believes that the popularity of such services could be linked to aspects of Japanese culture that discourage disharmony and promote the idea of long-term commitment as a sign of success. Japan has been known for its demanding work culture and long hours, with the concept of “karoshi” or death from overwork officially recognised as the cause of hundreds of deaths each year.
While some employers have been critical of the resignation outsourcing industry, others have appreciated the honest feedback provided by employees who use the service. Niino acknowledges that it would be ideal for Japanese people to feel more comfortable being their authentic selves in the workplace, but until that becomes a reality, businesses like Exit are providing a valuable service.
“Some of the clients have said they had suicidal thoughts about working for their company but they stopped thinking about that after being helped by us,” Niino said. “I have received a lot of appreciation.”
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