Having one bad day, then telling everybody off and going out in a blaze of glory looks great on TV, but in real life, this probably isn't the best way to go about things. First things first is the make sure that you are absolutely ready to leave an organization that you have invested your time, energy and hours on and vice versa. If you're sure staying isn't a viable option, then it's time to plan your escape. Save up money, find other job options, know what you're going to be doing with your time. This will make your transition period way smoother. Having a plan will also make enduring those last few days that much more pleasant as you'll already know the bright future that lie ahead of you.
Best practice is to deliver a letter of resignation two weeks in advance and deliver it hand to hand. This can be both a terrifying and exhilarating experience. If circumstances do not permit for a face to face, email is your next best option. This is a delicate phase, but as long as you express gratitude for your tenure with the company, and that you are simply moving on, usually everyone remains amicable and very positive. You're not obligated to say much here, and you shouldn't. Avoid gloating about your new endeavor and going on negative rants about the current company. You're moving on, so let's leave on a high note.
At this point, you've mentally moved on, you've laid foundation for your new beginnings and you've given your notice. No matter how professional you are, you never know how your soon to be ex boss will handle this. Sometimes people take it very personally when an employee wants to leave. They may yell or attempt to belittle, stand your ground, remember why you're moving on. Sometimes however you may be hit with a counteroffer - more money, more perks, better treatment. You have to decide for yourself if any of these incentives are reason for you to stay somewhere you've just made up your mind to leave. Sometimes an employer may request that you stay longer to help with your transition. Remember that while you have no obligation to stay any longer than you've given notice for, it can be good practice to see any projects you're working on all the way through. This is a good indicator to your new employer that you are team player who is aware of the bigger picture.
After a great conversation and presenting your well written letter, now is the ideal time to ask for a letter of recommendation and/or a reference. Don't give too much time for this to linger, but capitalize while the feelings are high and in good favor. This will go a long ways down the line and it's a really easy request at the end of your resignation meeting.
Clear your desk, your computer, your hard drives, etc. Everything that is yours that you have built that you are not under contract to leave with your company, you take. Contacts, resources, info, all of it, you worked to earn it, so don't rush out the door empty handed. Conversely if you agreed that certain things remain property of the company than leave those things - no need for lawsuits and pursuits against you down the line. Also make sure you check for any paid sick days, vacation time, bonuses owed, 401K and retirement savings. Often times there's some extra money and perks waiting for you upon your exit, but if you don't ask, don't expect your former employer to go out of their way at all to get any of it to you.
2016 saw job turnover rates hit 17.8% - which is the highest it has been since the Great Recession. Machines are automating many jobs, companies are using the independent contractor route to avoid liability and higher compensation. Which means employees are less and less satisfied with what the workplace has to offer. Are you ready for an upgrade? Finally going out on your own, taking a raise at another place, taking time for yourself, or whatever other reasoning you can have for leaving a job - there's a classy way to do it. Sure we'd all love to mimc Dave Chappelle's classic "I quit" sketch, kicking over trash cans, flipping off supervisors and co-workers, and leaving a big fart in the room right before we leave - but burning bridges never helped anyone, and you never know when you may need a reference, or just to not have being an asshole as a stain on your reputation.