Hacker News Re-Imagined

Success in Canada means moving to America

  • 180 points
  • 8 days ago

  • @andrewl
  • Created a post

Success in Canada means moving to America


@UweSchmidt 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

"You’re taught to value art that expresses a distinctly Canadian point of view. You’re taught that such a thing as a Canadian point of view exists at all and that there’s a whole set of aesthetic shorthand to convey it."

Anyone got any examples for that the author might mean with that?

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@WalterBright 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

In any profession, if you want to be very successful, America is your best shot.

But you can't have both cradle to grave security, and the opportunity for success. You can see that in the endless Progressive proposals to erase American billionaires in exchange for more security.

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@lotsofpulp 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Because a market of 38M people has fewer and smaller opportunities than a market of 334M people, assuming same relative levels of wealth.

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@DoreenMichele 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Working in Canadian journalism, I’d often hear other editors reference the mythical former colleagues who had moved to New York—America, in this context, is always New York.

Lots of Americans dream of either LA or New York, depending on their industry. I imagine in Europe, it's probably Paris and London that draws both French/British and foreigners.

Frank Sinatra had a song called New York, New York and one of the lines is "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."

It's sort of inevitable that the largest city in the region draws talent and ambition and this gravity pool does not respect international borders. Though I wish we did a better job of fostering diversity of views from other places even within the US.

It's something I've lamented before: Even Americans get kind of brainwashed that their local culture is inferior and everything is better in New York (and California) because that's where so much of our popular media originates and is set.

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@carlmr 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

I'm not sure if this is true. Looking at 30 million vs 330 million in population, you'd expect cultural output to come out in a ratio of 11:1.

The arts are hyper-competitive. In the US you might think you have more of a chance because you see more successes, but I doubt the ratios are that different if you also account for more failures.

Also Canada has Québec, producing your works in French will naturally decrease the possible target audience.

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@ramesh31 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Americans respect the Canadian aesthetic. Stan Rogers embodied this perfectly [0]. Be Canadian and share your authentic Canadianess with us. Don't try to be American.

[0] https://youtu.be/vdaaPl_kZpw?t=1728

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@causality0 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

It's easy to become irritated at Canadians for their never-ending holier-than-thou attitude toward America and Americans, to wish they'd piss off and find a culture that isn't based around not being you, but if you think a little more about it you'll find that anger is misguided. Canadians are in an uncomfortable position. Existing comfortably requires a certain degree of ignoring your own flaws. Canadians, possibly more than anyone else in the world, are not afforded that luxury. They have a giant mirror next door that shows them a people just like them with their own naked flaws without the ability to gloss over them. This kind of constant unconsensual reminder is stressful and must breed tremendous resentment. So the next time you're annoyed at being talked down to by a Canadian, remember that it's us who deprived them of the ability to lie to themselves about everything but the ways in which they differ from Americans.

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@jacques_chester 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

It's the same for Australians.

For other Australians reading this and thinking you can't get into the US, you absolutely can. Look up the E3 visa. It's easy to get because it's reserved entirely for Australian citizens.

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@dagmx 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Covid has changed this quite a bit, though even pre covid this wasn't exactly true depending on your profession.

Pre-covid, Canada was the place to be for working in film/tv , visual effects and animation in terms of jobs. I skimmed it but the author didn't mention exactly what creative vocation they were in but given they said Nashville, it's unlikely to be in these fields.

Post Covid, success as a developer can mean working remote for a US company, and that is a huge tide change recently.

You're suddenly getting US rates, minus the currency conversion, in Canada. Better yet, you can get silicon valley rates.

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@spoonjim 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

America still does “larger than life” better than anyone. If you want to be the biggest the baddest the richest the quickest the Sun God above mere mortals — this is the country to be in.

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@mrkramer 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

More ambitious people always move to more developed countries in a search of better life whether it means better education, better job opportunities(greater salary), better career path etc.

Btw when somebody compares Canada to US I always remember the Canada rant from Shameless:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJOO9I9kvwo

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@gdilla 6 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

I live in Canada so I can worry less about school shootings and white supremacist terrorism. Yes it exists in Canada but the risk is much less.

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@francisperron 2 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Stop saying America for "United Stated of America", America is the continent... dumbass.

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@Mikeb85 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

There is no future in Canada. Our GDP per capita in USD has gone down 20% in the last decade [1]. We're one of the most expensive places to live and real earnings have gone down in the last decade.

Almost everyone I know is already gone, either to the US or Europe. If you're educated, the sheer amount of money you'll make in the US makes up for things like lack of socialized healthcare. In Europe, you get all the same socialized benefits (better actually), a similar to better income but housing and various day to day items cost much, much less.

We're basically a petro-state that only incidentally has other industries because we're a low-cost alternative to American labour.

[1] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?location...

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@lewisl9029 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Canadian tech employers have been completely myopic for decades, only willing to compete in salary against other local tech employers, while anyone who's actually any good can make 2x+ within a 3 hour drive south. This resulted in a ton of brain drain in the form of people physically moving out of Canada and into the US. (I was one of those people who were brain drained away.)

Now people can make 2x+ within the comfort of their own homes, making it even easier for US tech companies to brain drain talent away from Canadian companies. Will that finally force them to change their ways or are they going to keep scraping the bottom of the ever depleting barrel?

I honestly don't have a very positive outlook given the history here, but would love to be proven wrong.

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@mariuslandon 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Canada

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@fguerraz 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

[European who only read the title]

Isn't Canada already in America?

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@3qz 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Canadians can’t afford to live anywhere that has decent jobs if they have to pay current prices. Moving to the states is the only choice most young Canadians have.

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@tonetheman 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

I want to do the opposite. Get away from America. Someone give me a job. I am an ubernerd!

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@strictfp 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Why move to America when Canada's already in America? ;P

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@cardy31 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

This is definitely true for the creative industry.

I used to be a professional musician, and now work at a well known tech company doing Production Engineering. I work remotely in Canada. I watched lots of creative friends move to New York and LA because that is where you have to go to really make it in almost cases.

I don’t think success in tech means moving to the US though. Lots of US companies will pay good salaries to remote Canadians. I live in Canada not because I don’t have the option to go work in the US but because the trade offs of living in the USA aren’t worth the increased salary to me.

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@coastflow 8 days

Replying to @andrewl 🎙

Note that the article focuses on the ability to find work in the creative and media industry, versus the technology industry.

In addition, though it captures a feeling that many Canadians have, I wish it were backed by statistics and data to support the assertion in the headline.

I also thought that the following passage was not strongly supported:

>”WHEN I GOT BACK to Toronto, I understood in a new, tactile way that I might one day leave it. Toronto’s energy flows endlessly toward the impulse to win, to never stop working until you hit your head on the visible ceiling. Then you work some more. New York has that vibe too, maybe even more so, but I feel like everyone’s more self-aware about it. And, more importantly, there’s no ceiling. You can try to dominate the world and touch the clouds, as foolish as it would be.”

I believe the “impulse to win” is more of a function of who you associate with and your own attitudes, versus the city you happen to be located in.

There is a grain of truth (people who move to New York City are often self-selected to be ambitious), but it wasn’t convincing to assert that the people of Toronto are chasing promotions as part of a corporate ladder until they hit a ceiling.

Counter-examples are abound in Toronto. Some people start their own companies, others find enjoyment outside of work (e.g. family and friends), and others are comfortable with their position in life (e.g. small business owner of a bakery).

People in Toronto also come from vastly different cultural backgrounds as the city is one of the most culturally diverse (over half as part of an ethnic minority as of 2016) in the world [0], so it is a leap to assert that everyone shares similar beliefs about work just because they live in the city.

The author’s assertion is an example of the “false-consensus effect,” where people mistakenly believe that others in a particular context must share their beliefs [1]. This is why studies with statistical analyses are important.

>”But, in practice, that inevitability now felt freeing. I guess I got tired of repressing my sense of possibility.”

You don’t need to move to New York City to feel a sense of possibility and work toward your goals.

[0] (PDF): https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/99b4-TOHea...

[1] https://www.nngroup.com/articles/false-consensus/

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