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Japanese Startup Looks To Make Quitting Easier For Everyone

Tokyo

The idea of offering a service to break up with girlfriends and boyfriends without all the emotional hassle is already a fairly booming business, but what you might not know is that it’s rather successfully extending into another area: resignations. 

“Quitting jobs can be a soul-crushing hassle. We’re here to provide a sense of relief by taking on that burden,” said Toshiyuki Niino, co-founder of Senshi S LLC, a startup that quits a job for its clients.

The company operates Exit, a service that mediates an employee’s plans to resign for a fixed fee of $450 for full-time employees and $360 for part-time workers. There’s also a great deal for frequent quitters: Returning clients get a $90 discount.

In the one year since Senshi (Warrior) launched, it has mediated the resignations of some 1,000 clients. It’s not a huge number, but the company says requests are now surging, perhaps in part because American job-hopping is becoming more prevalent in this favorable economy.

Senshi says it’s not just a messenger; rather, it’s a link between unsatisfied workers and employer. And there are no legal services involved. This is how it works, quite simply: Exit contacts the employer and notifies them of the client’s intention to resign and relays any other requests the client may have, including using up any paid leave or vacation time before heading out the door. In other words—they bring up all the issues everyone’s too uncomfortable to address.

Most of their clients, according to Exit, hired them because they were worried that when their intentions were made known, their employers might persuade them to stay on.    Related: Cannabis Stock Valuations Are Spiraling Out Of Control

Unlike in the U.S. and Western Europe, Japan's work culture for decades revolved around the idea that people should spend their entire careers working for the same company. In comparison, the U.S. doesn’t have the same sense of workplace loyalty: The average person changes jobs ten to 15 times during his or her career.

Japan also has a work a culture where overtime is expected of an employee. In fact, there is even a single word for the situation in which someone dies of overwork. It’s called “karoshi”.

In its first white paper on karoshi from 2016, the Japanese government said one in five employees were at risk of death from overwork.

In another report examining karoshi cases, researchers found that more than 20 percent of people in a survey of 10,000 Japanese workers said they worked at least 80 hours of overtime a month. In the US, 16.4 percent of people work an average of 49 hours or longer each week. Half of all Japanese respondents said they don't take paid vacations.

However, things are changing in Japan as well. Amid a tight job market and an improving economy, more workers are becoming emboldened to switch jobs, attracted by higher salaries and increasingly fewer hours.

According to the Japanese Labor Ministry, the number of people changing jobs rose for the seventh straight year in 2016 to 3.06 million.

According to data from earlier this year, there were 158 jobs for every 100 applicants, near a 44-year high, and unemployment is at a low 2.5 percent.

Related: What Does Capitalism Look Like In North Korea?

The average worker in Japan had been at one company for about 12 years, compared with an average 8.6 years in the United Kingdom.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—while reporting is different—the median figure for average employee tenure was 4 years in 2016, down from 4.6 years in January 2014.

As for Senshi S LLC, the startup is also looking beyond just helping workers quit. It’s about exit—and entry. It hopes to help them find new jobs, too and close the circle. Eventually, the startup plans to use data collected from clients to launch a staffing service. So what they take away from an employer, they might be able to give back in the end.

So far, so good. There is reportedly some interest in Exit from a venture capital firm, so we might be looking at Exit, Inc. in the near future if all goes well.

By Michael Scott for Safehaven.com

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