There are invariably times when you need to quit your job for good. The way you communicate your desire to quit the job and the timing is crucial. It is key that you leave the company you previously work for in good terms. In Japan, every one of your action and words are scrutinized, so here are some guidelines you can follow in order to quit your job without offending anyone.
1. Never tell your boss that you’re quitting via LINE or email
While this may seem like the easiest way to quit due to the lack of verbal communication, the fact that you are not communicating it verbally is the reason why you should never quit via LINE or email. LINE is mostly used to convey conversations, questions, or discussions on when the next party is gonna be. Conveying very important information through LINE is generally seen as breaking the rules in manners. In addition, since the boss is usually busy, looking through LINE messages may be a bit low on his/her priority list and in the worst case scenario, it might even be ignored.
So the first rule is to never use LINE/email when you want to tell your boss that you’re quitting. What other options are available then?
Verbal communication is a necessity. If your boss seems to be busy, look for opportunities before or after the shop opens or closes. If those opportunities do not arise, then you may use your phone. The opener should be like this:
Which, you would then proceed to discuss quitting your job and when you could finally leave.
2. When citing your reasons for quitting your job, don’t state any of the negatives of the job
When quitting your work, often times, you need to cite the reason why you have to quit your job. In some scenarios, you are obligated to quit because of the sub-optimal work condition. Perhaps the job is not the right one for you. However, even if that is the case, it is not recommended that you state an aspect of the job that you don’t like. Japanese manners don’t exactly permit to that.
Instead, you should cite other reasons that are more impersonal to your job. For example, you need time to write down your graduation thesis, or you need to dedicate more time to something else. If you are a student, stating the fact that you need more time for studies may be a good reason to quit.
However, if you don’t sound too convincing, then stating the truth may be better than to risk being seen as a liar.
3. Maintain a feeling of gratefulness through 挨拶 and gifts
First of all, when you meet your boss for more formal procedures as part of the quitting process, be sure to polish your 挨拶 (greeting) and thank all your coworkers. An example phrase would be:
In addition, bringing some traditional Japanese gifts to give to your coworkers (such as Japanese confectionery) is also recommended. If you decide to buy traditional Japanese confectionery, then it is recommended that you buy ones that cost ¥1000-3000 (you don’t have to go for overly expensive candy) and with small, individual packaging inside that can be shared with fellow coworkers. However, if you happen to work at a confectionery store, then do NOT buy other stores’ products.
Remember to do your 挨拶 when bringing in the confectionery. Here are some examples on what to say:
4. Pay attention to the timing!
Sometimes, the timing is more important than having a good excuse to quit. For example, it would be troublesome to the company and to your boss if you choose to quit during a labor shortage (which is actually not uncommon). In this scenario, look for a good reason to quit (such as if your full time work is decided already) and tell that to your boss as soon as possible so that there will be time to look for a replacement.
The best timing to tell your boss that you’re quitting is actually 3 months prior, though you can quit with a month of headroom. This is in order to give time for them to find replacements, and to assure that you leave as smoothly as possible. If you can’t plan that far ahead, then tell your boss you’re quitting before you decide your next shift. Shifts are usually decided a month prior, so plan ahead!