Boss such a tyrant you need a job quitting agent? It works in Japan

Here come the taishoku daiko to tell your boss to do one... in a polite but unequivocal way

Certain tech bosses are notoriously temperamental – so much so that conflict-averse folks have been known to put in their notice while the execs are on leave. But some Japanese employees have taken this a step further – actually employing an agent to quit their job for them.

The idea is to extricate themselves from delicate scenarios where they feel bullied to stay on board or are otherwise unwilling to leave for fear of being accused of "betraying" the corporation.

In a country renowned for its ultra conservative culture and hierarchical structure, those in the workforce who jump between jobs can be perceived as quitters, with all the shameful connotations attached to that branding.

Step forward the taishoku daiko – or “job-leaving agents” – that emerged in recent times to aid those who simply cannot tell their boss they’re off to pastures new.

“Imagine a messy divorce,” said Yoshihito Hasegawa, the boss of TRK, a business based in Tokyo that in 2023 showed 13,000 people how to depart from their employer with the least amount of upset.

He told Associated Press some Japanese workers are so constrained by cultural norms, they stick with an employer even when they're itching to leave, saying it is the “way things are done, the same way younger people are taught to honor older people… Quitting would be a betrayal.”

TRK’s Guardian service includes membership to a union for three months, which will represent the employee. This service costs $208.

Employees have the legal right to quit but a well engrained hierarchy in Japanese corporate culture means some bosses simply can’t stand by while underlings they trained head off to a new employer.

One customer that worked for a major tech client, Taku Yamazaki, used Guardian as he suspected quitting his organization was going to be complicated and time-consuming. “I felt a certain amount of gratitude toward the place I was leaving but wanted to switch gears mentally and move forward as fast as possible,” he said.

Moving jobs in Japan is a “major challenge,” according to lawyer Akiko Ozawa, who runs her own services for clients that are struggling to quit. Until this changes “the need for my job isn’t going away,” she said.

All of this is a world away for employees in other parts of the world, where the Great Resignation started in spring 2021 when people began resigning en masse in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest theme for workforce resignations is related to the work-from-office mandates being tossed around by many of the tech firms that, on the one hand, promote mobility as an option to keep staff productive, and on the other hand want to see bums on the official seats of work.

A recent study indicates that businesses lost more employees when they forced a change in WFH policy, paying the price for the change in set-up.

The age of quiet quitters also emerged as a term among younger professionals in the West last year as the soaring cost of living was compounded by stagnating wages.

According to research by recruitment agency Robert Walters, half of people it surveyed under 30 said they’d do the bare minimum if a pay rise or promotion was not forthcoming. The irony is that in taking this approach, the quiet quitters are unlikely to achieve the pay rises and promotions they so desire.

Have any of you ever needed to hire the services of someone to write your resignation letter or to represent you when merely moving on to pastures new? Has your boss ever told you that you live in Hotel California, where you can check out but never truly leave?

Relay your tales in the comments section below. ®

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