Burj Khalifa Dubai Brett Magill

Why I moved to Dubai

Moving To Dubai

To answer the question of why I moved to Dubai, we’ve gotta go back a bit.

I had recently resigned from a toxic company, and I was looking for work. I made myself a coffee, sat down at my mother’s dining room table, and started writing about my career.

I wrote about what I was good at social media, where I wanted to go with that skill in a few years, and what I would do if I had to completely start over – a tattoo artist was first on the list.

Marketing Wasn’t Fun Anymore:

I decided that while I enjoyed marketing, specifically social media, the elite club of communications agencies in Johannesburg and Cape Town had filled me with apathy; they were too full of ego, half-truths and a general lack of significance.

I either needed to change careers or accept that this would be the way of things.

I’d give marketing one more go, with another company, or become a tattoo artist.

Moving To Pretoria:

I made a list of agencies I actually liked and had worked with in the past, names like Grey Africa or King James Digital were good exceptions to my experiences, and they had good people, I also made lists of industry contacts and job websites.

As I went down my lists, I found an opportunity for a role as Head of Social in Pretoria. Not expecting anything, I applied. Two weeks later, I packed my bags and made the move to MyBucks S.A, a South African fintech registered on the Luxembourg stock exchange, based out of Pretoria.

To cut a nearly two-year experience short; I had never been happier in my adult life than during my time in Pretoria. But as the company moved into liquidation, I began looking again.

Having conducted some interviews, I realised that there wasn’t anything higher than the position I held, nor did anyone pay the salary I felt met my standards. I wasn’t going to start a company again, a stagnating Cyril’ed-out economy wasn’t making business possible for anyone with little-to-no capital.

I resolved to look overseas again, not expecting to find anything. I always felt that the wider world didn’t think much of South Africans, but it turns out that we’re renowned for our work ethic.

Moving to Dubai:


Dubai 2020I ended up being presented with two opportunities; one in Munich and one in Dubai.

I would have loved Munich, but Dubai came through stronger.

Within one month, I sold everything I owned, tried saying goodbye to as many close friends and family as I could while keeping my tears back, and I left with three bags for what I hoped would be a better life on 1 August 2019, the day before my birthday.

I was the new Social Media Manager for Crowd, a boutique agency in Downtown Dubai. I’ve since lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates for seven months at the time of this post.

Why I moved at all:

My life is first and foremost my responsibility.

That morning at my mother’s dining room table, I realised that I become dissonant with my home country of South Africa. While I love her nature, her people and our culture, I couldn’t practically reach what I wanted to reach in life within South Africa’s economy.

Thus, a move away – to any place that would provide me with the economic and career prospects I needed to reach what I wanted to in life – would be the next logical step for me to move toward.

I don’t regret it, and there’s no sense of “#ImStaying” or I’m leaving, or cancer this or liberal that, a gun pointed here, a knife sheathed there; it was because I chose to make a better life for myself.

I do miss my friends and family, every day. I miss the green, the rain, the air, the music and the food. I miss all these things, but, one day when I return, I will do so as a tourist, a traveller in my homeland; it’s too expensive otherwise.

I moved for the opportunity and a better life. While I’m not an authority, I do recommend that everyone, when and if they can, travel to new places to discover for themselves if South Africa holds their future, or, if it lies elsewhere.

Dubai Kite Beach

What do you think?

24 points
Upvote Downvote

Written by Brett Magill


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *