One of the first things to navigate when planning your departure is when to hand in your resignation to your direct supervisor.

There are a few main things you’ll need to consider when preparing to leave.

Why is timing important?

The business community in Japan can be relatively small so the last thing you want to do when moving on to something new is to burn any bridges you may have. You never know when you’ll be working alongside your colleagues again.

One way you can leave on a positive note is to provide ample notice to your colleagues. It is customary here in Japan to give at least a month’s notice, and sometimes as much as two or three. This will give enough time for your boss to find a good replacement, and you enough time to help train your successor, as well as wrap up any projects and tasks you are responsible for.

Some people advise that the best timing is when you have already secured a new position and signed the new work contract, or guaranteed your admission to university. Ultimately, the perfect timing will depend on you and your situation, and your intentions once you have left the company.

There are many reasons why you may want to leave, ensure that you have set yourself up in such a way that you are going to be financially secure, and that you are not leaving yourself without options.

When should you hand in your resignation?

So you’ve planned your resignation with the appropriate notice period. When should you actually have a meeting with your boss to tell him you’re leaving?

Something to consider is whether you are planning to leave during a particularly stressful period. Of course, while the best time is when things are calm and without many deadlines, sometimes this cannot be helped. If you are moving on to a new job, or going back to study, you will have deadlines that you will need to keep.

Should this be unavoidable in your situation, consider at least the best timing to deliver the news to your manager. Try to organise a private meeting with them on a Friday afternoon if you can, in a meeting room, or a private office, to discuss your resignation confidentially. This will give them the weekend, should they not respond favourably to your notice.

Keep in mind that in Japan, there can be more than one step to resigning your position; in some cases, it is a multi-step process that will require specific documentation. Be sure to confirm these details with your boss during your meeting to ensure you have provided adequate time to do so.

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