What to consider before quitting your job in Japan

By Robert Half on 9 January 2021

Feeling dissatisfied or unfulfilled in a job is a common experience.

During such periods, it's natural to contemplate resigning or quitting your job in search of greener pastures.

However, quitting too soon without considering the consequences can lead to unforeseen risks, especially within the unique dynamics of the Japanese workplace.

In this blog post, we will explore the potential risks of resigning too early in the Japanese context and provide advice on what employees should consider doing instead to make informed decisions about their career paths.

What to consider before quitting too soon

Cultural Considerations for Quitting your Job

In Japan, there is a strong emphasis on loyalty, commitment, and long-term employment.

Resigning a job too early may be seen as a breach of this cultural expectation, potentially affecting your reputation and future job prospects.

It's important to consider how your decision to quit will be perceived within the Japanese workplace culture and the impact it may have on your professional relationships.

Hierarchy and Seniority

The Japanese workplace often places significant importance on hierarchy and seniority.

Resigning too early without proper consideration may be viewed as disrespectful or disregarding the authority and experience of senior colleagues.

It's essential to navigate the hierarchical structure respectfully and communicate your intentions thoughtfully to maintain positive relationships.

Networking and References

Networking and maintaining professional relationships are crucial in the Japanese workplace.

Quitting your job too early without considering the consequences can harm your network and potential references.

In Japan, personal connections and recommendations hold substantial weight in job applications.

It's important to leave on good terms, ensuring positive references from your current employer and colleagues for future opportunities.

Job Stability and Progression

The Japanese job market often values stability and tenure.

Resigning a job too early may raise concerns about your ability to commit and adapt within a new workplace.

Employers may prioritize candidates with longer tenures and consistent career progression.


Instead of quitting your job too early without considering the consequences, consider the following steps:

1. Reflect on Your Situation

Evaluate your job dissatisfaction within the context of the Japanese workplace culture. Consider specific aspects of your role and work environment that contribute to your discontent.

Reflect on whether there are opportunities for improvement or resolution within your current organization before making a hasty decision.

2. Seek Communication and Support

Engage in open and respectful communication with your supervisor or mentor. Express your concerns and explore potential solutions together.

In the Japanese workplace, maintaining harmonious relationships and finding collective resolutions are highly valued. Seeking guidance and support can help alleviate job dissatisfaction and improve your work experience.

3. Develop New Skills and Expertise

Invest in professional development opportunities to enhance your skills and expertise.

In Japan, continuous learning and self-improvement are highly regarded. Identify areas for growth and consider attending workshops, courses, or certifications that align with your career goals. Developing new skills can expand your job prospects and increase job satisfaction.

4. Explore Internal Opportunities

Investigate internal opportunities within your current organization that align with your interests and aspirations.

In the Japanese workplace, loyalty is valued, and employers may appreciate your commitment to staying within the company.

Explore possibilities for career progression, lateral moves, or transfers to different departments to find a more fulfilling role.

5. Network Strategically

Cultivate and expand your professional network within the Japanese workplace.

Attend industry events, seminars, and conferences to connect with professionals in your field. Nurturing relationships can lead to new opportunities, career guidance, and potential job leads.

In the Japanese context, building a strong network is instrumental in career advancement.


Summary

Quitting your job too early without considering the consequences can have significant risks and implications for your career.

It's crucial to evaluate your situation carefully, considering the cultural dynamics, hierarchical structures, and societal expectations.

By reflecting on your situation, seeking communication and support, developing new skills, exploring internal opportunities, and networking strategically, you can navigate job dissatisfaction effectively while honoring the unique context of the Japanese workplace.

Thoughtful consideration and strategic decision-making will contribute to a successful career transition and long-term professional growth.

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