I guess I'll add my "epiphany" moment.
3 years ago, I was working in I.T. for a small-ish branch of a local manufacturer. I'd been working for about 15 years as a contract desktop support guy, and after all that, I was capped out around $28K a year, if that. Through those 15 years, my wife and I managed to go completely debt-free except our mortgage while raising 4 kids.
So at that time I was working as a contractor in Louisiana. My "manager" was a slacktard in North Carolina who oversaw a half dozen units, mostly small remote ones, like ours. I worked at that factory for 5 years, and he never once came to visit, but somehow our unit was always at the bottom of the performance scorecards. Didn't matter what I did, it was never enough. He would randomly IM me during the day and ask me why I hadn't gotten on certain tickets. Usually it was because our local factory guys couldn't drop what they were doing to wait an hour for us to fix something, so we had to wait till they were available. Over and over, our "manager" would berate our performance, demand action, throttle our internet access, change our process every other month, generally make things as difficult as possible.
A lot of other units had figured out how to "game" the system and were making ridiculous numbers doing nothing at all, but I refused to cheat the system. I documented everything and kept trying to make our customers happy. I spent those 5 years making really good relationships with the managers in the factory, and from being generally helpful and nice, I had a lot of pull with people. One manager pulled me aside and said "Jeff, I like you. If you ever want to leave the I.T. department and come work for me, I'd love to have you." She was cool, but I was stoic and loyal to my "manager."
Then I got seriously hurt, was off of work for 2 months. I had come to my senses... I realized I was never going to make more than $15/hr fixing computers. I was going home hating my job every day.
One day, I asked the HR person off-hand what a starting tractor assembler made, with no experience. They said "$16.50. Why?"
I went straight back to my desk, called my manager, and told him in no uncertain terms that I was quitting.
Him: "You're quitting?"
Me: "Yes. I can make more money assembling tractors in the factory, with no experience, than fixing printers and replacing laptop motherboards all day with 15 years' experience. Think about that for a minute."
Him: "You do know if you quit, you can't come back?"
Me: "Don't worry, that won't happen."
I'm now working for that woman that asked me to join her department... only built tractors for about 6 months before I got promoted. And now I'm a full company employee, not a contractor. Making almost $50K, and I love my job. Now I'm able to stash 25% of my income towards FI.
If I wasn't debt-free, I never would have had the guts to quit my job. We had 6 months income in the bank.
About a year into the new job, both of my upper managers were replaced... so now my managers are corporate yes-men. One of them only got the position because his old job was eliminated, so they created a management place for him. Yay.
I told them in no uncertain terms that I love my job, I had enough money to not care about working overtime, I did *not* wish to get promoted or go on salary, and I was *not* okay with all the stupidity that went with being a corporate whore. Every week or so I get the "you should have a development plan" speech, and I just tell them I'm not interested in advancement, as I will be retired before either of them.