This article is adapted from Ghosting at Work, an episode of Business Daily from the BBC World Service presented by Ed Butler and produced by Elizabeth Hotson. Adapted for BBC Capital by Philippa Fogarty.
Yuichiro Okazaki and Toshiyuki Niino are great at quitting. In the last 18 months, they’ve resigned from at least 1,500 jobs.
But the Tokyo-based pair aren’t leaving their own positions. They’re the co-founders of a start-up that offers a bespoke service to employees who are dying to resign but need a bit of help.
“Most of them are scared of their bosses,” says Okazaki. “They know their bosses are going to say: ‘No, you cannot quit’. I think it’s because of the culture of Japan – to quit something is bad. When they want to quit, they feel like they are a bad person.”
That’s where Senshi S and its quitting service, Exit, comes in. For a fee of 50,000 yen ($457, £353), Exit will call a client’s boss and deliver a resignation by proxy. Sometimes it takes several calls. Other times companies don’t want to deal with Exit and say the employee must come in to deliver the message themselves.
But when it’s done, the relief from clients can be immense. “There was one client who told us, ‘you are a Messiah’,” says Okazaki. The man had been wanting to leave for 10 years and “was really suffering from that job”.