Becoming an Employee Or Launching a Start-Up

Lots of people want their own start-ups, and it isn’t too hard to see why. People think that having a start-up of their own is going to give them the sort of freedom that they never would have been able to enjoy when they were still employees, and that is at least partly true. People who work on their own businesses can at least set their hours a little more. They can also take their businesses in the direction that they actually want, instead of fulfilling the mission of their bosses. That’s going to make all the difference for a lot of people, especially if they want to feel like they’re in charge of their own proverbial destinies in a whole new way.

If you’re in software, you’re probably going to feel like a start-up is one of those things that you have to cross off of your master to-do list. It will probably be the thing that you remind yourself that you were supposed to do each and every New Year’s Eve until you finally decide to sit down and do it. Many people go into software in the first place with the intention of starting their own businesses, usually after learning about all of the people who did that and went on to become millionaires.

If you love both software and money, this is going to feel like a natural step. Some people will probably tell you that if you know a lot about coding, you’re basically just slacking off if you’re still an employee and you haven’t started your own exciting new business yet. Believe me, I know: I have friends who will remind me of this every now and again, and I’ll have to give them variations on the same speech when I justify my decision to stay an employee for the time being.

All I can say is that I like stability. I like knowing how much money I’m going to make from one year to the next. It’s actually one reason why I got into software in the first place. I wanted a career in a lucrative field. If I was going to take the kind of risk that a start-up represents, I would have become an actor or musician. I probably would have had more fun, and the risk would have been only slightly lower. My dream was for a stable and lucrative job. I didn’t want to chase fame and fortune I probably wouldn’t get.

 

The Worst of Toronto

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As much as I genuinely love Toronto, I’m not going to say that Toronto is perfect. If you’re not a fan of cold winters, for instance, Toronto may not be the place for you. Toronto also manages to balance out its harrowing cold winters with seemingly endless hot, humid summers. When it comes to weather, Toronto is definitely going to give you the worst of both worlds. If you’re from New England or the Northern parts of the Midwest in the States, you probably think you’re ready for anything. You should know that Toronto is even further North, so it is like those areas, only even worse. If you’re from elsewhere in Canada, Toronto may be even worse than the places that you’re used to in terms of its normal weather patterns.

I should also mention that Toronto has literally the worst traffic I have ever encountered on any continent, and I’m more well-traveled than you might think. Granted, I do have more experience with Toronto traffic compared to my experience with the traffic in a lot of other cities. Really though, this means that I should have seen the full range of Toronto traffic, and I should be able to give you something of a nuanced opinion on the subject. Near as I can tell, Toronto traffic ranges from ‘bad’ to ‘horrible.’ I have driven at the pace of one mile per hour in Toronto traffic, and there were points where I wondered if running to work would have been better, especially since running gives you better exercise than yelling at the traffic.

If you want a job in Toronto, I recommend picking one that isn’t going to necessitate an especially long commute. My work is pretty close to my house, and a lot of software companies practically expect that you’re going to be a little late sometimes. If it takes you a long time to get to work and you’re putting yourself at the mercy of Toronto traffic, I guarantee that there are some days where you just won’t plan ahead enough and you’ll be forced to tell your boss it was Toronto traffic’s fault yet again.

One of the saving graces with regards to the truly terrible Toronto traffic is the simple fact that the public transportation in Toronto is definitely above average, so you’re not going to be getting around town in your car all the time anyway. You’re not going to spend half of your life in this city stuck in traffic, so that should make you feel better at least. However, it is still important to keep in mind that the little things like this can still affect your quality of life in any location, and it’s always better to know about them before you relocate anywhere.

Toronto is a great place for the people who are environmentally conscious in some ways. They can save some energy by taking advantage of the great public transportation system in Toronto, for one thing. However, the air pollution in Toronto is nothing to be proud of for anyone. People who are aware of environmental problems are going to be more aware of this problem than almost anyone else, and this might make the city a little off-putting for them. Really, it didn’t seem much worse than many of the cities in which I’ve lived before, but I have seen the facts and statistics and they don’t lie.

People who are concerned about overpopulation will probably feel like they’re being swarmed with evidence when they’re living in Toronto. The city is the victim of its own success in some ways. Word got out about the city being great, and more and more people want to join in the fun. That can make it less fun for the rest of us in some ways, and when they join the rest of us, it will be less fun for them as well. However, at least you know that meeting people is never going to be a problem for you. Even the best cities have problems, and Toronto isn’t immune.

Living and Working in Toronto

Living and Working in Toronto

A lot of people who want to move to Canada specifically want to move to Toronto. Canada is a huge country, and Toronto gets more attention than any ten other Canadian cities usually will. There’s something very satisfying about being able to say that you live in Toronto. I know that I’ve been happy whenever I described myself as a Toronto resident in the past, and I probably always will be. Toronto is one of the best places I’ve ever called home.

For one thing, I’ve always found that the people of Toronto were really friendly. Obviously, this isn’t going to apply to everyone, and it won’t be true all of the time. No one stuck in Toronto traffic is going to be particularly friendly, for instance. However, overall, I’d say that Toronto culture emphasizes being polite. It’s hard to judge the character of an entire city, but there are still going to be trends in the behavior of the residents of any city. New York City has the reputation of being full of people who are seething with hostility all the time. All I can say is, I’ve been there and that’s exactly the way that I remembered it. Toronto isn’t like that at all. Surprisingly enough, Toronto is where I hang my hat.

Of course, the main reason why I moved to Toronto in the first place was the promise of great jobs in the tech sector, and that’s what I was able to find immediately. I really recommend Toronto to my fellow software developers on that basis alone. The software industry changes really rapidly. If you’re a young, enterprising tech worker, you have to make sure that you have some sort of an escape route when your company decides that it’s time to move onto the next entry-level graduate. Toronto will have a wide range of positions available for you in the software industry.

I don’t have as much experience when it comes to manufacturing and the financial industry, but I have heard over the grapevine that Toronto is also great when it comes to those particular industries. Toronto in general tends to have great job opportunities. Plenty of people come here for work, and they stay for the rest of what Toronto has to offer. If you’re a person with a lot of documented education, you won’t have a problem finding a job in many cases. Toronto is a great place for the enterprising and the educated in more ways than one.

The fact that Toronto is a city for people who work hard and for people who play hard already means that it has a lot going for it. The fact that it has even more going for it than that almost makes it feel as if Toronto is showing off in front of the other cities. However, one of the great things for me was the fact that Toronto has a great transit system. If you’re like me and you’re used to the transit systems that you’ll usually find in the States, the public transportation in Toronto is going to come across as downright miraculous. Since Toronto traffic is miraculous in all of the worst ways, their excellent public transportation system is that much more important. Toronto is kind of like New York City in that regard: the traffic is awful, but it is possible to skip it altogether in favor of a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option.

I don’t have kids and my school days were long over by the time I actually moved here, so I can’t really speak from personal experience. I might go back to school for additional degrees at some point though, and I’d be more than happy to do it here given the quality of the colleges in Toronto. I have heard from friends and coworkers that do have kids that the schools in Toronto in general are very good, which should be encouraging for the parents who are thinking of relocating there for whatever reason. Toronto in general places a great deal of emphasis on education, and it definitely shows in more ways than one. It is easy to recognize an educated populace on first glance, and you will find that here.

Entertainment in Toronto

Entertainment in Toronto

Toronto has one of the best art scenes that I’ve ever seen in my life. Contrary to popular belief, some software developers actually do care about that sort of thing. Software isn’t our entire lives, and we can appreciate the stuff that artists bring to the table. I’ve really appreciated what I’ve seen in Toronto since I’ve been here. Toronto has a lot of intellectual entertainment in general. You’ll see some of the best of Canadian theater here, and plenty of great live music options. The movie theaters and sports stadiums didn’t disappear as a result, of course, and Toronto is pretty well-equipped in terms of entertainment options in general. If you really want to experience a little culture on the weekends or even weeknights, Toronto definitely has you covered.

Of course, a lot of the people who want to visit Toronto will usually start by going sightseeing. Toronto may not have as many famous landmarks as some cities, but it’s certainly no slouch when it comes to great things to see with one’s own eyes. Almost everyone visits the CN tower at some point or another. I don’t blame them. It really is awe-inspiring, especially when you see it for the first time. You definitely get used to it after a while, so I recommend seeing it firsthand just after you arrive in Toronto. If you visit it at any point afterwards, the magic is probably going to be gone.

If you’re a hockey fan, you’ll probably want to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame at some point or another. I’m not a hockey fan, and I’ve had to be quiet about that ever since I first moved to Toronto. Still though, even I wouldn’t mind going to see the Hockey Hall of Fame, soaking up everyone else’s boundless enthusiasm. If you’re a museum person like I am, you are pretty much going to have your pick of museums. Toronto may not have any museum that’s as famous as the Louvre, but the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will work well enough on a rainy day. Toronto is a great place to visit, and, in a stunning twist, you would want to live there.

The Start-Up Roulette

The Start-Up Roulette

Here’s the thing: when you launch a start-up, you’re basically gambling. Unless you’re doing this in your spare time, you just signed away your regular paychecks, your employee benefits, and everything else you get when you’re working with a good software company. You’re doing this in the hope that your business is actually going to take off, and you just don’t know whether it is or not when you’re really early in the game.

Some people won’t agree with the gambling analogy, pointing out that the odds at succeeding when it comes to gambling are so low that they barely even count in the first place. I’m not exactly sure how the odds of succeeding at a new start-up compare, but given the number of businesses that fail in their first year, the odds really don’t work in anyone’s favor. Starting a software business isn’t like going to Vegas, but it also won’t be like going back to college to get your new degree. You can put in four years, work hard, and be sure that there’s a certificate with fancy lettering waiting for you at the end of your college experience. You could put in four years trying to get a start-up off the ground with nothing to show for it other than the knowledge that you failed, which you always knew was possible anyway.

If you have a really revolutionary idea for a software start-up, it may be a good idea to just go with it. However, most people just don’t get those ideas. Naturally that’s the case, or the ideas wouldn’t be considered revolutionary in the first place. Most people who begin their start-ups aren’t trying to plug a hole in the system: they’re starting their businesses for the sake of starting businesses. The market doesn’t really need them, and they shouldn’t be surprised when the market more or less spits them back out when they try to add something back into it.