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Legends created by leap into abyss

RESIGNATIONS come in two varieties; from those who jump and from those who are pushed.

The political world is awash with pushed resignations a la Maria Miller, the sixth of Cameron's cabinet to bow out disgracefully.

Similarly the corporate realm is full of brass necks who outstay their welcome, but it's the jumpers who interest me. Those individuals who, having suffered silently for years, decide to throw themselves, kamikaze style, into the abyss rather than endure another day. Their departures can become legendary.

In a previous job, I remember one particularly disgruntled colleague's departure. As those of us left behind gazed enviously as she flounced out the door to freedom, one hawk eye noticed her parting memento. Stuck to the door of the boss's office was a Polaroid photograph of her grinning broadly whilst sitting in his seat, feet up on his desk, making a call on his phone and executing a particularly rude hand gesture. While we erupted into laughter, said boss whipped it down and bellowed, with slightly compromised authority: "She must have had help to do this. One of you is in serious trouble." None of us spilled the beans, of course, and it's a memory which still raises a smirk.

Another tale which went viral recently was that of a long-serving member of cabin crew - surely a job to test the limits of human patience - who snapped after an emotional flight. After ranting at a particularly trying passenger, he announced his resignation on the intercom before grabbing a couple of beers from the trolley and exiting via the emergency chute.

My own resignations have been non-events, except one. I'd been working as a bus driver for a hostel in Australia (the true hilarity of that statement only becomes clear if you've witnessed my driving). I worked 12 hours a day in exchange for a bed (a shared bunk in the broom cupboard) and 30 Aussie dollars (a tenner) a week in my hot paw.

My life of drudgery was made worse by the stream of carefree back-packers who passed through the doors with only fun on their mind. One night, in a premeditated moment of defiance, I opted for an all-night beach party. My boss caught me sneaking in at dawn, dripping with sea water. Awkward. I was given a rollicking and sent to my cupboard for the day. Having weighed up my options for a nanosecond, I packed my bag, called a cab, flung the bus keys on the desk and marched out for good with all the dignity my flip flops and wet frock would allow. Delicious.

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