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04 March 2014

The Time We Almost Moved to Africa... But Then Didn't ● by Jon

I don't write posts very often on our blog, but I promised Jess I'd write about how we recently almost moved to South Africa…. its a pretty exciting tale. 

One of the best things that has happened to me career-wise in London (and anywhere, for that matter) has been the opportunity to transition from Deloitte Audit to Transaction Services in Deloitte Corporate Finance. 

In the midst of interviews for the new position, suddenly I received this random message on Linkedin:

I would like to discuss career opp for you as intl financial analyst with NYSE listed U.S. foods/agribus corp in their Joburg offices, covering 12 Africa country subsidiaries. Lots of autonomy, position reports directly to VP of Finance in U.S.. Expat package value gross $150,000 equivalent.

Financial analyst? 150 G's??! I usually don’t go for this kind of thing, but I was intrigued. What followed was a whirlwind of emails, calls, interviews, research, stress, confidentiality, and excitement! Turns out that the offer was legitimate, and it was so high because housing, taxes, and car were all subsidized by the company as part of an expat deal. 

The ideal of moving from London was, at first, unfathomable, but the more we did our due diligence on the whole experience, the it was hard to NOT get excited. But Christmas came, Boxing Day came, New Year’s came, and they all went without word from the company or the recruiter. 

What was the deal?! 

Finally,  I made the executive decision to call up the VP of Finance (the guy making the decision) and ask what was happening. We discussed various positions in different African countries, and by the end of the call he seemed sure I was a good fit for their company. 

Still weeks continued to roll by as we waited for the next interview (as well as official word from Deloitte about the Transaction Services job-- seems like no one would give us an answer!). 

In the next interview, I learned things had slowed because they already had a top candidate. Fortunately for me the top candidate had dropped out (ironically enough, Deloitte South Africa had made him a better offer), and so I was still in the running. I was not initially considered because it was a controller position requiring about 6 years’ experience. I had three.

… And a half. 


However, they liked me, and that, combined with mobility meant that we all explored the idea of where I could fit. 

Poor Jess. She was being emotionally dragged through London to South Africa to various third world African countries and now back to South Africa! But she was wonderful through the whole thing while we held out for this final controller position in Johannesburg. 

In the end, the official offer came back as a developmental position in Kenya, which we knew immediately was not the decision for us. It’s family time, and Kenya would mean postponing that. So, so long, Africa! Perhaps we’ll meet again someday. 

Two weeks later, I was unofficially given the Transaction Services position! Time to party!

We are so lucky to have wonderful friends that want to celebrate with us -- Brian and Annji, and Jim and Jen are really great people with cute kids and great attitudes. They were so excited for us that they threw a pizza party to celebrate the new position! It was a ton of fun and we are so grateful to know them.


  1. Hold the phone....did you just announce that you are trying for a baby? Or am I misreading it? Or am I completely out of the loop and everyone else knew about this but me? "It's family time, and Kenya would mean postponing that." I'm going to send you the stinkinest cutest pics of Sadie to get you excited for one of your own!

    1. Hi Kathryn! Not just yet, but we are getting very excited about the prospect of a baby down the road. I saw you sent the photos this morning, but I haven't had a chance to go take a look-- heading to it right now!!