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Can money buy happiness? One South African’s dilemma in the face of a big job offer

Picture: Joel Muniz /Unsplash

Picture: Joel Muniz /Unsplash

Published Jun 9, 2023


As South Africa’s economy faces many challenges, many are faced with difficult choices like the one posed by this Reddit user. A high salary increase and a promotion in a new city begs the question of whether the quality of life is worth sacrificing for financial gain.

Particularly for those who are not extroverted, the prospect of moving away to a city where they have no friends and family can be daunting.

The user took to Reddit to ask about their dilemma: “I have been given the opportunity to transfer within my company and right now a large salary increase and decent promotion is on the table. The senior manager in Gauteng is leaving the country so I’ll be taking their position in a non-executive position but I will be the most senior person in the office.

“I was born in Pretoria but have no more ties to it as all my friends and family have since left so I’ll be on my face until I can hopefully make some friends.”

Adding to the challenge, the user adds that many are also moving out of Gauteng and toward the Western Cape.

Given South Africa’s unique geography and economic conditions, I can understand the allure of making more money and the varying landscape all around the city of Cape Town, but most importantly a place where you belong.

Being an introvert and having no kids, they are concerned about making friends in a new city. Noting they also have a great relationship with their current manager and co-workers in Cape Town and are worried about losing that dynamic.

“I’m also very close to my manager and co-workers in Cape Town. We get on very well and it’s like spending time with my mates whenever we meet up. I love my job and have 100% job satisfaction. I will not have the same dynamic in the Centurion office.

“With everyone seemingly moving to the western cape is this a good idea? I have a few solid friend groups in CT and which I’ll have to leave behind,” wrote the anonymous user.

They add: “Is this a bad idea?

“In a perfect world, I’d like to do it short term, save some cash and gain some experience and then move back to Cape Town and rejoin my current team. But I realise I can’t have my cake etc.”

Commenting on the post, Reddit users shared their opinions: @sacculentkarroo said: “As someone who moved from cape town to Pretoria a few months ago, I can say I miss my friends in Cape Town but actually met a lot of great people since I have been here. I think it’s mainly about managing your own personal stuff (I was sad to not have access to trails/mountains, but have since found nice little reserves and parks to run in for example, which don’t replace but provide something different).”

Another said: “Sounds to me if it were not for the monetary incentive, you would’ve never entertained the thought. Money is mostly not an issue until it’s no longer around. This seems like an opportunity to grow your nest.

“On top of an upward trajectory career-wise. Also, consider, the colleagues you value so much, given the chance would they jump on this?! I know, a little presumption but it can say a lot. Centurion may not be what it used to be but it's definitely not JHB.

“You're also a 2 hour flight away from your mates. What’s a little discomfort for a couple of years with something tangible in your pockets when all is said and done?”

“It depends on how important building your finances is to you. Personally, I wouldn’t leave a job with 100% job satisfaction, family, friends and the Cape Town lifestyle. However, I have friends who have made the move and are very happy in Gauteng. It’s just going to take some time and effort to make new friends”, said another user.