Great stories! Here's mine:
I had been working for 5.5 years at a giant multinational telecommunication company, in the last 2 years as a senior accountant. The salary was a joke. New junior accountants started to get higher salaries than the seniors, because the annual raise was so low. My teammates were awesome, the managers... not so awesome. The workload was huge, and it was bigger and bigger each year, each month. They were always happy with my work, but I got a new manager right after I became a senior accountant, and things got different.
I got many new tasks, including SAP testing (at night on weekends), coordinating others' work, etc. One of my idea saved countless of hours of work and saved us from making big mistakes, so it was a big contribution. I had voluntary overtimes, and I reached all my targets that were set at the beginning of the year. Then we got our usual annual review, and I got a very bad grade. I told my boss that I had reached all my targets. She replied that my targets had been defined by my previous manager, so she didn't know what my targets were. She added that the problem was my attitude. I mentioned her the (mostly voluntary) overtimes, the night shifts, the double (triple) workload that should be handled by two or three people, but she wasn't interested. She told me I should have obeyed her all the time (there was one time when I told that her idea is not viable - okay, the team was present, I made a mistake, it wasn't professional), and that (as a senior) I was responsible for a giant mistake of one of my co-workers. She added that I didn't hold any trainings (it was not my job, and I had sent many information emails instead), I wasn't proactive enough, and the best one: I should have been a role model (which was apparently the most important task of a senior accountant). I replied with a question: Shouldn't be the managers the role models? She remained silent for a few seconds (LOL), and told me that "yes, they should be". Anyway, I was so angry that I almost punched her in the face. I would never EVER hit a woman (I wouldn't hit anyone), but I was so close this time (I was literally blinded by anger, and totally lost control for a sec - it was quite frightening). Anyway, I remained silent, and supernaturally calm. My manager told me that this bad grade wouldn't affect me in any way, but she lied. I had to make humiliating home works and I didn't get a raise that year.
I told myself: why would I work so much if there's no benefit? So I decreased my 8 hour workday to 4-5. I heavily concentrated solely on my targets, and didn't give a crap about anything else. I was always smiling and showed a positive, proactive, friendly attitude (while I was thinking FU all). The outcome: I got a reward of excellence, and next year suddenly my work was "exceptional". My boss almost fell in love with me, and I slowly became indispensable.
Then I sent my CV to an ever bigger company, and they hired me instantly (+40% raise, the workplace was 10 minutes away (instead of 35 minutes)). Of course I quit. My boss was astonished and became a nervous wreck. When I told her I quit, she immediately started calling the big bosses to find a way to make me stay. I told her: "I would stay if you offered a 15% raise" She told me it's impossible. Then I signed the paper and gave it to her. I gave 1 month notice (it's the minimum in Hungary). I was in a middle of a project, they had to cancel it, because there was no-one who could have proceed with it. My teammeates and I were devastated, because we were all friends, but I had to make this move. I was happy to leave this terrible job, but I was also sad that I because of leaving my friends behind.
And the funny thing is that the new job was horrible, 6 months later I quit :) It's even funnier that I returned to the previous company, but to a different department. I'm only an accountant now, but I get more money than as a senior accountant :) I mostly enjoy what I do now, and I have plenty of free time to learn new things (Excel, VBA, etc.) during the day. The best thing is that my bosses (finally!) appreciate my skills and innovative ideas. I'm planning to work here until FIRE :)
So the process was:
Decent job, low salary and stupid/mean bosses --> "Hey, I have FU money!" --> Terrible job, excellent salary --> "Hey, I have FU money!" --> Excellent job with excellent bosses