So over a period of days I have read every. single. post. on this thread. This is the greatest thread of all time.
I too have a kind-of FU story, though at no point did I burn bridges or say FU.
About 1.2 years ago I was 1.5 years into my first job and hating it. We were working 10-12 hour days and once a quarter we'd spend a weekend in the office. It's software so spending that long coding does something to your mind. This is not to say my boss was an asshole, or even his boss's boss, I love and still love all the people that worked at this company, and consider my former boss one of my best friends and mentors. It was just that the upper management demanded unreasonable things from us in unreasonable time so we all had to put in the effort.
Well, 1.2 years ago, I was standing in the shower after having worked the last 12 days in a row, 10-12 hours each, and suddenly I had a nervous break down. It felt terrible and such a release at the same time. I resolved then and there that I'd begin looking for work elsewhere. I'd done my time.
Right after that, as if the company sensed I was pissed(I had been doing some interviews), the hours lessened, the deadlines became more reasonable, and we graduated to 9-10 hour days and weekends were a virtual guarantee. There was one 34 hour stint in the office overnight to get a product launched but I wore that as a badge of honor. I decided to stay, but also I started posting for jobs on Elance.
I took a job making <5$/hr for 20 hrs to beat out the Indians and built a Ruby gem wrapper for some company's API. It was crappy work. The next job I got a month later paid 20$/hr, and eventually I got that client up to 60$/hr. By the end of last year(about 8 months after said break down), I was charging 80$/hr for 10-15hrs/week on the side of my real job running a private consulting firm.
By January of this year I was making 1$ for every 1$ I made at work, working only 10-15hrs a week, making 100$/hr. I had hired on my co-workers to do part-time work for me and was making 50% margins on their hours as well. In one two week period, I brought in 5,000$, outside of my normal paycheck.
Life was good. I was stashing hard. Then my main client offered me the CTO position at his company, for 2x my current salary, with similar equity. I thought about it hard for three weeks, and then informed my boss. My boss didn't even try to counter me, though if he had matched the price, or even come close, I would have certainly stayed - by this point the hours had gotten much more palatable.
I gave them 6 weeks notice, and during those 6 weeks the company offered me to keep working out of my office there since my new job was completely remote. They wanted to keep an eye on me and basically would let me have my job back whenever I want. In return, whenever they have a question about the software I wrote I'm right there to ask, and I still get to hang out with my co-workers every day(though they're in a different part of the building now.) They're good friends, so it works out.
The new company I work for is a startup and while they DO have money it is a risk. My previous company is worth 500mm. The stashing I did during the last year made sure I had at least 4 months expenses saved up before I dropped the bomb, and this is not even counting the years of coverage I have stashed in my retirement accounts if the worse came to worst.
FU money is a powerful thing. And now I'm freer than I've ever been.