Breaking up is hard to do. Whether you are ending a personal relationship or a work relationship it is important to do it with dignity and openness. Expect feelings to be hurt, but if you have a plan, you can feel good when the break up is over.
Do it in person. Writing, “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” on a Post-It note to your boss will pretty much ensure that you’ve burned a bridge. No phones, no email. When you decide to leave a job, the initial message must be delivered in person.
Keep it real and short. The cleanest breakups are the ones that are brief. Don’t get trapped in a long exit-interview process where you say things you will regret later. Try to contain your emotions and keep the conversation factual.
Provide closure. Make a conscious effort to tie up all loose ends. Be sure that whoever fills your position has the tools and resources they need to succeed. Return all company property; there should be no reason for the employer to have to track you down after your last day.