Seven years ago I was an Art Director at Targetbase, a direct-marketing company here in Dallas, working under a woman named Kimberly Walsh as the first interactive hire in a what was still very much a print shop. As is usually the case with cube farms meetings were abundant, and one particular morning I was double-booked, and had to make a quick decision about which meeting to attend.
I chose poorly.
I was reprimanded by Miss Walsh, told to go home and not to attend my first ever annual Christmas Party. When I asked if I was being fired I got the snarky response of "Did I say you were fired? Go home, don't' come to the Party, and we'll see you Monday."
I came back that Monday to the news that everyone had gotten a $2,000 Christmas Bonus for having such a great year. When I inquired about my own bonus I was told in no uncertain terms that I didn't deserve it, and would not be getting one. After years of long meetings, unfulfilling projects and frustrating corporate-politics it was the straw that broke the camel's back. That was the day I decided I needed to work for myself.
Six months later I had stashed away 6 months worth of bills and rent into my savings account and wrote my first ever letter of resignation. Two weeks after that I was officially self-employed. I've never looked back.
I also never got to thank Kimberly for the unintended inspiration. If not for her I may have remained under that illusion they sell to new creatives at large companies. What I am thankful for is all the great people I met and the contacts I collected, many of which I still keep in touch with today.
So if you're an artist/creative don't be afraid to take action. Don't let fear of the unknown paralyze you. There is no such thing as job security. And in the end it's the relationships you create that matter most.