Unpopular Opinion

True story. Years ago, during the three year stint I ran my first recording studio, at Danforth and Greenwood, I met a young Sri Lankan restaurant owner who wanted me to create a sound design (with a funny moose character who talked about items on the menu) to be played on a loop from a a little sound system set up outside so that people walking by the restaurant would hear it. Fun gig.

During the course of this gig I got to talking to the restaurant owner and learned a few things about him that I will never forget. His story was fascinating. He escaped Sri Lanka during a time of conflict. He barely made it out alive. Even though that part of his story was fascinating, its not the part I want to talk about. Its what he did once he arrived in Canada that had me the most compelled.

So what did he do? Something Canadians rarely do. Basically he worked his ass off for two years straight, bought himself a house, a gas station (hired a small staff to run it), and a restaurant (which he had some partners to help him run). So what job did he work at for two years that provided him with the seed money to invest in real-estate and other businesses? You are probably thinking some high paid specialized skill type job right? Wrong. He worked at the Flat Iron and Firkin as a line cook from 10am to 2am, 7 days a week for 2 years straight. He had two days off per year and never called in sick once.

What Canadians usually due is spread out the misery off working over like 40 years, usually because we spend more than we make. The Sri Lankan cook rented a room in a friends house and saved all his money during that two year period. Think about it, pretty much all of his meals were at the restaurant. $350 a month for the room was his only bill. He saved thousands every month for 2 years.

A musician who wants to make a living off of music is an entrepreneur. Her product/service and brand is herself. To start that business she needs seed money. The more the better. Any young musicians can easily hook up any shitty restaurant job and work like a dog for 6 months to 2 years and earn enough money to properly seed their investment (in themselves). One of the comments that the cook made during my time working on the sound design for his restaurant was that the Canadian dudes working at the restaurant as servers were working less hours and making way more money (because of tips). But, when they had a night off they would go partying and spend it all on being entertained. By the time I met the cook it had been a few years since he had flipped his last burger at the Firken. It was interesting to see him shake his head in disbelief at the dumb asses still working there, still broke, still partying.

Work ethic and self discipline is what Canadians can learn from the most inspiring Sri Lankan cook I’ve ever met.

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