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Work in the big cities

I often have to give staff advice on careers.  I am actually very proud of the fact that a number of my staff, who never had ambitions to become attorneys, was encouraged by me to become attorneys.  That is because I spotted their potential and realised that they would do very well as attorneys, even though they came to me for secretarial or administrative jobs.  I have number of staff now who are still studying law and I have no doubt that some of them in particular will make successful attorneys.

The one word of advice that I gave a former staff member, which she did not listen to at the time, but now acknowledged that I was right, is also to make sure that you work in a big city.  To me, and remember our cities in South Africa are so small compared to some of the international cities around the world, I don’t want to work in a village.  The two cities where money is made are generally Johannesburg and Pretoria and I would not be looking to work anywhere else.  I’d take a job in Cape Town for the beauty of Cape Town or I would retire in Cape Town – and in fact I have spent some time looking at a holiday home there which I am planning to get – but you need to be where the money is. 

The bottom line is the leading advocates, medical specialists, neuro-surgeons, actuaries, attorneys, etc are not in Benoni, Roodepoort or Vereeniging.  That does not mean there cannot be some very good legal practices there, but it is too far away from the action.  Name me one top five law firms or top four accounting firms that are anywhere other than in Johannesburg?   Tell me about the massive advocates’ chambers they have in Benoni or in Roodepoort – the answer is they don’t.  The top specialists, top advocates, major courts and major companies are all based in either Pretoria or largely the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and so personally, even if it saved me money on petrol, I would never be working in the smaller town or a village.

I grew up in Durban and I am so happy we moved to Johannesburg, because to me, to be quite honest, Durban is a village where nothing goes on other than secret meetings about trying to put Jacob Zuma back into power!  There is more money, more action, more head offices of companies and more of everything in every other category in Johannesburg and the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and I cannot imagine anybody would want to grow their career in any other city.  Even if you do prefer another city, one cannot really make it big if you are practicing in the country and even if you are the best attorney in the country and you are living in a small town, you will always be hamstrung by the fact that you don’t have as many top experts, in whatever field you are in, in your town and you will forever have to travel to the big city either for the court case to be actually heard or to a big city to use the top experts and the experts who have the most experience in testifying before court.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 30-Nov-18 Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Post a Comment

Thabitha  said:
on Thursday 24-Jan-19 09:05 AM
I must say I don't like Johannesburg because of the crime and noise but I will never look for job in small cities, I am not far from Vereeniging but you will never find a job there or is something you don't like at all.

Bianca Taljaard  said:
on Thursday 17-Jan-19 07:47 AM
I recently had to make the decision as to whether i was going to keep working in a small town or make the move to a big city. It's hard for me not being close to my kids but all worth it at the same time. You just can not survive while working in a small town.

Ashleigh  said:
on Thursday 10-Jan-19 08:56 AM
Yes jobs are in big cities and the only problem is that there are how many people applying for 1 position.

Zandelee  said:
on Thursday 10-Jan-19 08:16 AM
I always wanted to relocate to a bigger city since I started University. To me living in a bigger city really pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you grow and develop as a human being a lot faster than when you live in a small town.

Natasha  said:
on Wednesday 12-Dec-18 08:45 AM
I think that the best jobs are in the big cities. If you work in Roodepoort for instance you will get a job but it wouldnt even be half of what you would earn in the big city. I would rather work in the big city sit in traffic everyday then. work close to home, and you dont earn a lot.

Mathilda Du Preez  said:
on Tuesday 11-Dec-18 01:59 PM
Cape Town is absolutely breathtaking and I personally will love to live there but there is not a lot of work opportunities.
This is why Johannesburg and Pretoria is the place to be if you want to earn more money and grow.

Michelle D  said:
on Tuesday 11-Dec-18 01:51 PM
Johannesburg is definitely where the action happens. Most extensive companies have head offices located in Johannesburg and it is indeed where the big bucks are made. Unfortunately, as Patrick says, Johannesburg is also a hub for crime and pollution and we need to really get our priorities in order to stop it from becoming the next Beijing.

Cornelie  said:
on Tuesday 11-Dec-18 10:18 AM
I can’t imagine working in Roodepoort or the Westrand although I’m from there. There is a lot of work opportunity but the salary is not as much as it is in the inner city.

patrick  said:
on Tuesday 11-Dec-18 08:31 AM
Big cities are the way to go but we really need to plan around pollution and transport. Very soon we will not be able to move anywhere or we will walk with masks covering our faces.

Zindy  said:
on Tuesday 11-Dec-18 07:42 AM
I come from a small town however the jobs in a small town are minimal and the salaries half of what you would get in a bigger city. I have always heard how people go on about Joburg pay. However living expenses closer to the city are also a lot higher.

Prishani  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 04:56 PM
When I visit smaller cities in our country I am often reminded of how blessed I am to stay in Johannesburg, we have some of the best entrainment like casinos and not to mention our malls, theatres and restaurants! In terms of business I think it would also depend on who your target market is and what the objectives of the business are, this is where location would be key!

Jadine Esterhuizen  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 04:51 PM
There are cities in SA that are a lovely sight....just for holidays/breaks but not as hot commodity for ensuring employment.

"Johannesburg and surrounds population had reached 9.4 million by 2015, and is projected to grow to over 11.5 million in 2030, making it the 34th biggest city in the world" - extracted from Businesstech.

We may argue over and over but when it comes to stats and research JHB is ranked amongst the most popular in terms of economy and job growth.

Tamaryn  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 04:39 PM
Johannesburg is certainly the business hub of South Africa. I couldn't imagine practicing law anywhere else.

Victoria  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 04:28 PM
I totally agree that working in big cities is where you can do very well for yourself. Also the money is definitely in the big cities.

Angelique Jurgens  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 12:27 PM
There is no doubt that Johannesburg is where the money is! It is also probably the most dangerous so if you are not interested in having a career or money driven and would rather start a family and stay in the countryside then its better to work in a small town. Personally, I can't see why one would study for so long to go and work in a smaller city - maybe as one gets older but not while you are younger and straight into the profession. It's great that you have given your staff a push and actually seen a potential in them!

Liz  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 10:34 AM
Johannesburg is where it all happens money-wise and although, I do think that there is space for improvement with regards to quality of life in Johannesburg it is definitely a very good career move and one that you will not regret. I grew up and studied in a small town in the North-West and career-wise it has been a very good move moving to Johannesburg with regards to the experience and exposure I have been able to get.

Jadine Richards  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 10:24 AM
Johannesburg is definitely the place to be if you want to make anything of yourself but living in this daily rat race is honestly exhausting. Logically I know that it is where one has to be to be able to make a decent living but I do ask myself whether its worth the toll it takes on a person.

Alexis  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 10:24 AM
To bwe honest, a simple lief would be great...but talks and unfortunately it does make the world go round in this day and age - the issue with most however is the lack of jobs out there....I am seeing a huge amount of beggers and homeeless people on the streets lately

Jolene   said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 09:37 AM
I agree, the money is in Johannesburg. I love Pretoria, it is not as busy as Johannesburg but still close enough to everything. Cape Town is beautiful, but the weather and salaries are not that great.

Henrietta  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 09:20 AM
Sad but very true. Johannesburg and Pretoria is where the money is. Constantly busy almost never sleeping city but to thrive it is the places to be in South Africa. My friend who moved to Cape Town about 6 years ago, took a drop in her salary for half of what she earned here and is still just trying to survive today. I love Cape Town but have to agree not a city I want to move to for work.

Daniella  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 08:39 AM
I don't really feel the chaos of Johannesburg because I've lived here my whole life- and that being said I've always wanted to move to a remote island or forest somewhere and growing up in a 'City' is probably why.

Melissa  said:
on Monday 10-Dec-18 08:34 AM
Cape town is a beautiful place to retire, but Johannesburg and Pretoria are the places to be if you want variety of jobs.

Shristi  said:
on Sunday 02-Dec-18 05:42 PM
I agree with you. I grew up in Durban and have lived there all my life. Moving to Johannesburg was the best decision I made.Durban is a beautiful city but the prospects of finding jobs there are very limited. In Johannesburg the labor market is vast and due to many big companies being here there are always job opportunities.

Joyce  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 04:57 PM
I also think big cities is the way to go for work and business

courtney  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 04:53 PM
I lived in Cape Town before I started working at The Broglio. Cape Town is a beautiful place but it is not a place for making money! The living costs is X10 more then here in Johannesburg. I'd rather retire there, even though the wind and sea is ice cold, but I'll never move back ever.

Sinead  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 04:37 PM
I really must agree with you! I love being in the big city... And that has a lot to do with the fast paced lifestyle we live.
Although, like many others, I would also love to retire to the beach somewhere. I know my mom's dream is to live in Knysna. It's so peaceful there. Definitely not a place to work though.

candice  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 04:28 PM
Durban and CPT are Beautiful cities to go to for Holiday or if you want to retire one day but like you said JHB is the place to be if you want to make money, That's why so many people struggle to find good paying jobs in DBN so they rather come back. Hopefully we all one day make enough money to buy a house on the beach .

Jessica A   said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 02:15 PM
Johannesburg - 'the City of Gold', a name derived for multiple reasons, one of which being that without a doubt JHB is where the business lies! Sure CBD is riddled with the problems of crime, traffic, litter etc but there is no denying that a career is best built in a City like JHB... Once I have established myself, I will consider heading out to Cape Town, but for now and a few years to come, I will be slaving away in Johannesburg!

Nikita  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 01:32 PM
Growing up on a farm in a rural area I was never really exposed to "the city" or as the farmers call it "Town". I feel very privilege to have been able to grow up on a farm - it is a beautiful life - but the sad part is that the money is in the big cities and you have to make the move to the chaos. The goal is to make as much money as you can and then retire in a small town or at the beach!

Megan  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 11:59 AM
Maybe because Johannesburg is where I've been raised, it doesn't feel so big. Even if an experiment was done where we're taken to a city the same size as this one, I think it would only feel different because of the type of people there and different work ethics etc.

Michelle Smillie  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 11:02 AM
There are many attorney firms that started in other cities in South Africa,Marais Basson for example, comes to mind. However, they have almost all branched out to Gauteng at some point because of the increased work-load in Gauteng. This is definitely the province to be in career-wise.

Nina  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 10:37 AM
I agree that the money is in Johannesburg and Pretoria, and although it is crazy busy in these cities, I enjoy working here. I would definitely consider moving to Cape Town one day, but it would have to be a great opportunity. For now I enjoy going to Cape Town for holiday and really appreciating the beauty of the City while being able to relax.

Fikile  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 10:21 AM
It's hard growing up in a small city because the is not much to learn or for one to become. it's also not easy moving to a big city because the is a lot of things one doesn't know about the big city, you can find a job in big cities but depending on the experience you have or highest level of education, but it's better to work in big cities because it gets you exposed to a lot of things you didn't know about.

clare  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 08:33 AM
Living in the city like New York looks like a movie I am sure that is a great city to live in. But good Jobs if you find a Job is in the city

Melissa van Tellingen   said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 08:00 AM
I've had first hand experience in working at a small firm in a small city and it's somewhat of a disaster if you are use to a big firm with structures in place. I much prefer working for a bigger firm in a bigger city. Like Brumilde said, the traffic is just something one has to get use to.

brumilde  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 07:45 AM
I concur with this, myself is form a small town in Gauteng named Heidelberg and it is better to work in the big city. The traffic is something to get used to but you adjust, i just wont live here, i prefer my small town

david  said:
on Friday 30-Nov-18 07:06 AM
CT and Durban are small fishing villages in comparison to JHB.
for a laugh you should go to Bloem/Kimberly/Polokwane (all provincial capital cities) to see how the country bumkins live...


Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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