When I started working at BoldTech back in the boom days of 1999, I got stock options. When I left almost 5 years later, I exercised some of those options, and it finally paid off. BoldTech was acquired by Perficient a few weeks ago, and I earned nice return on my investment. Not enough to retire early or buy that 40 foot yacht, but a nice bit of cash nonetheless.
Since Amy and I are close to buying an investment property, that money go right into our down payment. What an exciting way to spend my unexpected bonus. ;-)