RESIGNATION. It’s been the buzzword of the summer, hasn’t it? I don’t mean Matt Hancock slinking into the sunset with the hot girl on his arm like some poor-taste, knock-off version of a 1980s John Hughes’ teen comedy.

Nor do I mean Willie Rennie bidding farewell to a dizzying whirl of publicity stunts involving oversized deckchairs, cute penguin selfies and interviews conducted against a backdrop of amorous pigs as he sought to win the hearts and minds of Scottish voters.

I mean ordinary folk declaring enough is enough and jacking in unfulfilling and gruelling jobs. People deciding that they are worth more than working 60-hour weeks with little or no appreciation.

Like the fed-up staff of a Burger King in Nebraska who resigned en masse last week. The departing employees informed customers with a sign that read “we all quit” and “sorry for the inconvenience”.

Months of being short-staffed, coupled with managerial turnover and a lack of air conditioning that it is claimed led to one worker being hospitalised through dehydration, have been cited among the reasons for their walkout.

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They aren’t the only ones. Since the pandemic began, employees have been leaving the workforce or switching jobs in droves. It is a phenomenon being dubbed the “Great Resignation”.

Four million Americans quit their jobs in April – the biggest spike ever. In the UK, meanwhile, a recent survey found more than a third of workers said they planned to quit in the next six to 12 months.

With traditional working norms shaken up by the pandemic, it has prompted much soul-searching about quality of life and happiness.

But it is not only about work. Many of us are quitting myriad things that no longer make us happy: ill-fitting hobbies, energy vampire friends (or should that be frenemies?) and a slew of draining commitments endured due to a misplaced sense of duty.

People are calling time on relationships that have limped on far too long. They are departing cities for greener spaces (although the countryside may not be a utopia either: a report out last week highlighted the copious hidden costs overlooked by some swapping urban life for rural retreats).

Quitting doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. It can be as low-key as ditching the dye and choosing not to cover up grey hairs. Or refusing to wear “I’m so busy” as a badge of honour.

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The disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong – yes, he of stripped Tour de France titles and Oprah Winfrey interview notoriety – famously lived by the mantra “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever”. But what if it is actually the other way around?

Pain is forever – unless you quit. Sure, quitting can be painful in the short-term, but it is a bit like ripping off a plaster. It hurts like hell and then comes exquisite relief. We should all try it.

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