- A Meta employee built a social-media following by sharing career advice on TikTok and Instagram.
- But she was laid off last November after three years in data strategy and product marketing.
- Now she’s working as a creator while she decides whether to go back to corporate work.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Rawan, a social-media creator who was laid off by Meta in November. Insider is keeping Rawan’s last name anonymous to protect her privacy. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
When I joined Facebook in 2019, it was the tech company that resonated with me the most. I grew up in the age of Instagram and Facebook, and I felt like the company had a mission that I valued, one that was centered around people.
In my first two and a half years at Meta, I sat on the team that facilitated and managed the machine-learning and model-training processes — I managed the strategy and operations behind these processes.
Even prior to joining Meta, I had been sharing my career journey on social media. I was on Instagram, and I was mostly doing it for family and friends.
I’ve always considered myself a creative person, and I never really had that creative outlet in my nine-to-five. That’s a big part of why I started creating content.
I came at content creation not even knowing that I could make money
When I started sharing career resources and study- or work-abroad opportunities on social media, I genuinely wanted to help people.
Being the eldest daughter in my family and not having formal guidance, I went through a lot of my career via trial and error, and there were many times I thought, “If only I knew about this earlier, it could have made things so much simpler for me.” I’ve always been that friend or that cousin who’s looking to push people to make connections, and I felt like I could help others.
I think a lot of first-generation, Black, and Muslim women resonated with my story. They were curious about my career trajectory, and at first, I became a sort of informal mentor, responding to DMs and giving occasional advice.
Over time, I recognized that there was a need for people who look like me in this space, and others had a desire to learn about the different career paths they could pursue, so I started creating content in a serious capacity on TikTok during the pandemic. Now, my profile there has about 190,000 followers, and I also have 50,000 followers on Instagram.
As my following grew, there were all these amazing brands reaching out to me, including Amazon Web Services, LinkedIn, and Canva. It started as just a passion project, and I soon realized it could be a business.
In early 2022, I decided I wanted to create more synergy between my job and my hobby as a content creator, which is what inspired me to start looking at teams at that supported creators and built products.
In my last six months at Meta, I moved into a product-marketing role, where I worked very closely with creators. But then I was laid off in November 2022.
Before the layoffs, I never thought I’d be impacted. In my time at Meta, I always got stellar performance reviews, and I even got promoted. I remember even joking and laughing with my manager about getting laid off.
That Wednesday morning when I got the email, I was in shock. It took me a few weeks to process what had happened.
It was a whirlwind of emotions. I was planning to go to a friend’s wedding in South Africa shortly after, and I was pondering, “Do I be financially responsible and stay in the States to get a head start on my job search? Or do I go to the wedding?” I ended up booking my trip to South Africa 48 hours before leaving the country.
Being a creator has liberated me from the urgency to figure out my next step
Being laid off has changed my perception on corporations and nine-to-five jobs. We saw all these aspirational companies with values including work-life balance, employee retention, all these benefits. The idea is you get into these corporations, and you stay there until you retire — you’re set for life. The layoffs completely shattered that idea. Being laid off altered by brain chemistry, as people on TikTok say.
Now, I don’t know if I want to work at a corporation, and being a content creator has liberated me from the urgency to figure out my next step right away. It fills up my time, it allows me to build new skills, and it allows me to work with great brands. It’s been nice to have that extra cash as a cushion. And if I wanted it to be a full-time role, I absolutely could make it one.
After I got laid off, I was worried that my career content would lose credibility. Instead, I got hundreds of comments across TikTok and Instagram, and this showed me that my community is really here for me, and that it’s resilient.
I recognize that this is a tough time for those looking for jobs, so I’m more motivated than ever to continue helping people with resources that can elevate their careers and their college journeys.
I don’t feel the need to hop back into the job market without being intentional about what I want to do next. I’m taking the time to talk to mentors and consider multiple career paths.
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