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'Yame-hara' - pressuring resigning workers not to quit

16 Comments

According to data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, about one out of three of the class of new company freshmen who entered companies in April 2015 have left their place of employment.

But going through with quitting a job, it seems, isn't all that easy.

To explore this phenomena further, Weekly Playboy (Feb 25) conducted a survey of 100 salaried workers in their 20s and 30s.

"When I submitted my resignation request form to the company, it wasn't accepted for such reasons given as 'The size of the characters you wrote was too large,' or 'The positions of the carriage returns at the ends of lines were strange,' and all sorts of reasons," as a 27-year-old employed in public relations put it.

"Two weeks before I planned to quit, I was assigned to a team for a project scheduled to commence six months later," said a 35-year-old employed by a consulting firm.

A 29-year-old worker in a real estate firm was lectured, "The company spent quite a bit of money to treat you to meals and drinks. Is this how you show your gratitude?"

It used to be that pawaa hara (power harassment) was applied to pressure undesired workers to leave. But now with the labor shortage in full swing, more companies are fighting tenaciously to thwart some workers from leaving -- an activity referred to as yame-hara (quit harassment), i.e., the pressuring of workers not to leave their jobs.

In addition to psychological warfare, in worst cases the activities have been known to turn violent.

At a party, a 30-year-old trading firm was informed, "You should demonstrate your recollections of gratitude to Mr So-and-so, who did such a good job of looking after you, by downing a lot of booze." Recalling the experience, he commented, "Getting plied with drinks until I was on the verge of collapse was sheer hell." 

In an even worse case, a 24-year-old employed by a construction firm was criticized by a superior who said, "Well! You're leaving the construction business, even though you know we're facing a worker shortage.

"At my last work site," he related, "I got hurt when I slipped while walking on a steel beam 20 meters above the ground, and was left unattended for one hour." 

"Yame-hara is an act of retribution against bosses at work who feel the worker's quitting causes them to lose face," says Soichiro Ishihara, author of a work titled "Assessing Adult Power." "Before submitting one's request to resign, it can be effective to first engage in a consultation. By maintaining confidence in one's self and requesting a consultation will help the superior save face, and may prevent getting subjected to yame-hara.

"One point to keep in mind is to definitely avoid making it seem as if the company is at fault, by making self-effacing statements to the effect that, 'It will be better for the company if I were to depart,'" Ishihara added.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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Just send in your resignation on Line, if it's that bad, and stop showing up to work.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

This is asinine;

"When I submitted my resignation request form to the company, it wasn't accepted for such reasons given as 'The size of the characters you wrote was too large,' or 'The positions of the carriage returns at the ends of lines were strange,' and all sorts of reasons,"

@Joe; That is a very good idea. E-mail could work however in some cases I think the company has to accept the resignation for certain benefits to be received, change insurance, or other reasons.

Anyone who harasses their employees in this way for merely wanting to resign is pathetic.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Just ghost the bad employer.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190118-how-people-are-ghosting-their-employers

Use a quitting service.

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.

...

In the US, if you have the right skills, it is easy to leave a job for another without the messy paperwork, but in some skill circles, it is a very small world.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think the people here needs to grow some balls. Just put the damn paper on the boss’es desk, and tell him 1 month from now, or 2 weeks, if you take remaining holiday days, you are out and that’s the end of the story. If the boss starts with drama just secretly record him with your phone, and you can sue him later for this harresement.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

This article does not even begin to delve into the devious array of psy-ops used by the authoritarian 'managers' of would-be empires which are short of human capital.

Think of the evil child killer in the Tom Hanks movie, 'The Green Mile' ... where the perpetrator uses the the sister's love for each other as divide and conquer hostage blackmail.

For example, many a dedicated educator has found themself trapped in for-profit 'schools' that cynically use 'education' as a marketing ploy. The pay difference and hierarchical position between teacher and manager alone are added proof that such 'schools' place a higher value on predatory management than education. Such a school knowingly exploits idealistic teachers by seeing how much profit the business can wring from the teacher beyond the spirit and law of the contract — late or missing salary, unhealthy working hours, demanding personal expenditures from the teacher, etc). Pushed to the brink of failing health or sanity, the teacher expresses a desire to quit, and on cue ... the manager is crying crocodile tears of 'what about those poor students?' The idealist educator into a moral dilemma, where the manager has none.

A similar strategy is used against part-time student workers. When they are 'promoted' to faux-manager and pushed beyond what should be expected of a student, classes suffer to the point where studies become secondary to work or health. The exploitive cart is now leading the horse, and at break neck speed. Predictably, the student reaches a limit, wants to quit, and the predator manager, like the above example, pushes the student worker into a moral dilemma with ... 'and if you quit, think of the even worse conditions you will suddenly leave your co-workers to face'. Again, any youngster with a heart is emotionally black-mailed into working under exploitive and often illegal working conditions ... all for the benefit of those whose only priority is immediate profits.

This, and other 'tricks of the trade' have become so bad, that some high school students in Japan have even formed work unions to try and expose and avoid such grifts. But with the impending arrival of loads of cheap, foreign labor — all without the benefit of either that experience or the unions, I have little doubt that Japan Inc. will be again reduced to a two-tier human trafficking country, and probably worse than that in the boom-era economy.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The cultural factors are work here are impressive. In quitting, by definition, the employer no longer has any leverage over you. You should be free to do whatever your want. Yet the social obligations in Japan are so strong that people feel pressure even when they are going to leave the company completely. Remarkable.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

About 12 years ago, one of the women at my company decided to quit. The management told her they were short on people so she couldn't quit. She said OK. She was hating life for a long time. Care to venture a guess as to where she is still working? I don't work in the same office with her anymore but maybe she's happy now. However, I seriously doubt it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At a party, a 30-year-old trading firm was informed, "You should demonstrate your recollections of gratitude to Mr So-and-so, who did such a good job of looking after you, by downing a lot of booze." Recalling the experience, he commented, "Getting plied with drinks until I was on the verge of collapse was sheer hell."

Ridiculous. When will people learn to say no here?

He's leaving. He doesn't owe them anything, other than the courtesy of an advance notice.

And, if they're gonna pull crap like that, he doesn't owe them anything at all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Harassment of one sort or another underpins most workplace relationships in Japan. It'S essentially a para-military atmosphere in many companies, where divsions are set up to compete with one anothe and everyone in the hierarchy sensitive to the point of paranoia aboout a rival getting a leg up. Maybe we're finally seeing a generation of people smart enough to realize that there is more to life than kiling yourself at work, and who have the guts to speak truth to power. Management doesn't want to hear it because it is an indictment of their own unexamined, wasted lives.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It seems that Japanese companies haven't quite got their collective heads around the idea of positive reinforcement and attractive incentives.

FWIW, here's a hint:

If you want people to stay at your company, make it attractive for them to be there! It's fairly simple, really.

*Bonus hint: bullying and guilt no longer qualify as positive reinforcement.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Ask for a raise! Lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Give socialism a try - it beats the austerity that everyone under 20 has had to grow up with, auterity that has already curtailed their life prospects and lowered their expectations:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/24/world/europe/britain-austerity-socialism.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

 one out of three of the class of new company freshmen who entered companies in April 2015 have left their place of employment

Dang, I didn't know it was that bad.

"At my last work site," he related, "I got hurt when I slipped while walking on a steel beam 20 meters above the ground, and was left unattended for one hour." 

Safety #1!

Give socialism a try

Let's not, since socialism doesn't create jobs, but capitalism does.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I just don't get it, if my boss gave me that kind of crap I'd just say my last day is today plus two weeks and after that simply stop showing up to work, or just take all of my paid holidays from that day and not show up again. What can they do, force me to stay as an employee? Hell, if they want to keep me on payroll while not showing up then that's fine with! Total Stockholm Syndrome.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A 29-year-old worker in a real estate firm was lectured, "The company spent quite a bit of money to treat you to meals and drinks. Is this how you show your gratitude?"

Ok I laughed out loud at that one!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

'The size of the characters you wrote was too large,'  What part of ‘I quit’ do they not get?

Absolutely brilliant. Completely off the planet. Not of this world these ‘bosses’.

It’s the perfect storm. The listless, unambitious and mollycoddled millennial in the red corner VS the factory worker mentality old school Stalinist style boss in the blue corner.

Kapow!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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