I started working at Apple during the dot-com boom in 1998, and I left the company in 2007. As much as I loved working at Apple, by 2007 I determined that I now had the financial freedom and opportunity to leave the company and begin working on my own projects.
That was because Apple had been very good to me via the stock market. In the time I worked there, the stock price had gone from less than $10 per share (adjusted for splits) in 1998, to $100-plus per share when I left in 2007 -- and it now hovers around $300 per share. And since I still own shares that I bought for less than $10 per share, my investments in Apple have paid off handsomely.