- Working at Facebook is a dream job for many people in the tech world.
- But there are plenty of reasons to leave Facebook too, whether it’s disagreements over the company’s politics or simply the desire to work somewhere smaller.
- We compiled the stories of 11 former Facebook employees who shared why they left the social media giant.
Facebook is one of the biggest companies in the tech world, and for many people, getting a job at the social media giant is a dream come true.
It’s no surprise why, as employees at the company have a median pay package of around $240,000 – not to mention perks like three weeks of paid vacation a year, four months of parental leave, and free housing and shuttle service for interns. Employees at Facebook ranked the company the seventh best place to work in the US for 2019, according to Glassdoor.
But there are plenty of reasons to leave Facebook, too. We spoke to former Facebook employees and gathered responses from others who have written about their experiences publicly.
Their responses range from disagreements over the company’s politics and objections to last year’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, to their desires to work at smaller companies or found their own startups.
Read on to see why 11 former Facebook employees left the company.
Mike Rognlien, founder of Multiple Hats Management
- Leadership Consulting Private Limited/YouTube
Former position at Facebook: “Builder of Awesome People”
Why he left: Rognlien worked on Facebook’s learning and development team for six and a half years – he invented his title himself, he said – but left in 2017 as the company grew too big to fit his needs.
He told Fast Company that as Facebook grew, he didn’t feel he was able to connect as much with the new employees he helped to onboard.
“I didn’t want to spend my time as an anonymous speaker,” he told Fast Company. “I wanted to be the person who could get to know others well. I wanted to have a bigger scope in a smaller group. I didn’t want Facebook to not succeed so I could be happy, and I didn’t want to become that person who’s drained, poison, or caustic.”
He left the company to found his own management consulting agency, Multiple Hats Management, where he retains the same title he had at Facebook – only now, he’s “chief’ builder of awesome people.
Debra Bednar-Clark, founder and CEO of DB+co
- Debra Bednar-Clark
Former position at Facebook: Global head of strategy and growth
Why she left: Bednar-Clark left Facebook after four years to found her own company, DB+co, a career and leadership coaching firm for women. She launched the company in 2016.
Bednar-Clark told Business Insider’s Libby Kane that recognizing it’s time to leave your job begins with being honest about what you want.
“I think one of the things that it can be really easy for us to do is build a career we think we should do instead of one that is really aligned with who we are in that moment,” she said.
Westin Lohne, intern at Thrive Capital
- Twitter/Westin Lohne
Former position at Facebook: Product designer
Why he left: Lohne quit Facebook in the wake of last year’s bombshell report that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company that worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, had illegitimately obtained data from an estimated 87 million Facebook profiles.
He was one of several Facebook employees who either quit or asked to be transferred to another division within the company like Whatsapp or Instagram, after the news broke.
“The golden handcuffs are broken,” Lohne said in a tweet. “Morally, it was extremely difficult to continue working there as a product designer.”
Caitria O’Neill, UX researcher at Airbnb
Former position at Facebook: UX researcher
Why she left: O’Neill left Facebook in 2017 after less than a year and a half to join her husband in Los Angeles, where he was starting a company.
It was a sacrifice she was willing to make because he had done the same thing for her.
“Thomas and I trade off, one following the other when they’re working on a project of passion,” O’Neill wrote in a post on Medium.
“That meant he followed me to Stanford when I spent a year as a fellow and adjunct faculty. That meant he followed me to Europe when I wanted to freelance on design workshops. That meant he moved to Redwood City for me to work as a researcher at Facebook.
“That means I’m moving to Los Angeles while he starts a company, and I’m stoked.”
O’Neill said although it is often tempting to stay on your apparent career path, it can be liberating to embrace the uncertainty of moving on.
“I left Facebook because I believe that the most interesting trajectories in life demand a fair amount of chaos,” she wrote.
“I’ve got all of my worldly possessions in the back of the truck. I don’t exactly know exactly how I’ll get where I’m now going, but now that I’ve altered my trajectory, I could potentially do anything.”
Matt Kulka, DevOps manager at Parchment Inc.
- Facebook/Matt Kulka
Former position at Facebook: Operations/release engineer
Why he left: Kulka worked as a Facebook engineer for five years, and his reason for quitting in 2015 was simple: He wasn’t making enough money.
As Kulka quickly learned, even a six-figure salary sometimes isn’t enough to support a family of four in the notoriously expensive San Francisco real estate market. He tried selling his Facebook stock and having his family live with a roommate for some extra cash, but after the birth of his second child in 2013, he said he realized his family would have to make a change.
“There were a few choices on the table,” Kulka wrote in a column for Vox. “Move to a bad part of town where rents are cheaper, move into an apartment, relocate to another city with a Facebook engineering office and an equally expensive housing market, or leave the best job I may ever have and return to Arizona, where my wife and I were happiest living.”
Kulka and his family chose to move back to Arizona, where he works as a DevOps manager for Parchment Inc., a software company that manages school transcripts. He said he hopes big tech companies would eventually reconsider their focus on Silicon Valley and other places with high costs of living.
“It can easily work for a single 20- or 30-something with no family and a few roommates, and they can prosper greatly from it if they’re able to save responsibly,” he wrote for Vox. “But for a person with a family of four who has a certain lifestyle that they want to try to maintain (a nice-ish $40,000 car, the ability to go out once a month and leave the kids with a sitter, a house that wasn’t last remodeled in ’70s, etc.), it can be difficult.”
- Eliza Khuner/Facebook
Former position at Facebook: Data scientist
Why she left: Khuner left Facebook in 2018, four months after having her third child, after her request for additional paid leave was denied. In a column for Wired, Khuner said she regretfully quit the company after she was informed she couldn’t work from home and couldn’t work part-time.
“I love my job, but I love my baby even more,” Khuner wrote. “When I told Facebook I wanted to work from home part-time, HR was firm: You can’t work from home, you can’t work part-time, and you can’t take extra unpaid leave. In mid-July, with the heartache of a break-up, I sent my resignation letter.”
Her departure sparked debate over Facebook’s parental leave policy, and Khuner said she got responses from several Facebook employees who told her she wasn’t alone in her frustration.
“How many mothers silently left when they couldn’t get the flexibility they needed?” Khuner wrote. “How many parents would leave their jobs to be with their babies, but can’t afford to?”
- Fox News
Former position at Facebook: Engineering manager of product usability
Why he left: Amerige left Facebook in October 2018 over disagreements with the company’s political culture and perceived liberal biases.
Amerige, a conservative, had previously decried Facebook’s “political monoculture” in a memo, saying the company was “intolerant of different views.” The memo sparked an internal firestorm and gave ammunition to critics who claim Silicon Valley companies silence right-wing opinions.
In a goodbye memo published by Business Insider, Amerige wrote: “I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that’s how I know it’s time to go.”
Durgesh Kaushik, cofounder and CEO of Wishfie
- Durgesh Kaushik/YouTube
Former position at Facebook: Head of online marketing, Asia Pacific; marketing manager, Europe, Middle East, and Africa
Why he left: Kaushik left Facebook not once, but twice.
In a Quora thread, he explained both of his departures.
His first stint at the company, from 2012 to 2013, ended when Kaushik was offered a job at the Indian company Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, which he said allowed him to pursue his passion of increasing worldwide internet connectivity.
When the program he was working on fell apart, he went back to Facebook in 2014, and stayed there for another year. But by the end of his second stint, “my entrepreneurial dreams had kicked in,” and he moved to India, where he eventually launched his own startup Wishfie, a social video app.
“These days, instead of telling the entire story, I just say ‘I couldn’t have dreamed of making something as impactful as FB while staying within FB’ when people ask me this question,” he wrote.
Pedram Keyani, director of engineering at Uber
Former position at Facebook: Engineering director
Why he left: Keyani was Facebook’s director of engineering from 2007 to 2014. He called the role his “dream job,” but said in a 2015 Quora thread that as the company grew, he felt an increasing urge to leave for a smaller company where he could learn new skills and help forge a company’s future. He became Uber’s engineering director that year.
“I’m in hyper learning mode again and in a role where I have a seat at the table in defining this company for the years ahead,” Keyani wrote.
The move mirrored the circumstances in which he arrived at Facebook years earlier – before that, he was a software engineer at Google for two years.
“Before Facebook, I was at Google and left a search powerhouse for a small scrappy social network that very few people knew,” he said. “Most of my family couldn’t understand my decision. It reminds me of how many people reacted to me leaving Facebook for Uber.”
Amy Thibodeau, director of UX at Shopify
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Former position at Facebook: Content Strategy Lead
Why she left: Thibodeau worked at Facebook for four years, and said “in many ways, it was my dream job.”
But she left the company in 2015 because she wanted “a change of pace” and more time to invest in personal projects, she said in a Quora thread.
“Facebook gives a lot but it asks a lot. I didn’t feel like I had much left over at the end of each day,” Thibodeau wrote.
“I was feeling burned out and when I asked myself why I continued to stress myself out, I couldn’t answer the question.”
She also said Facebook’s rapidly growing workforce clashed with her desire to work at a smaller company. She spent the final two years with Facebook at the company’s London office, and she said her team grew from four employees to 40 by the end of her tenure.
“This was and is good and necessary growth, but by the time I left, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be part such a big team,” she said.
Alon Amit, cofounder and vice president of product at Origami Logic
- Alon Amit/Quora
Former position at Facebook: Product manager of ads
Why he left: After working at Facebook from 2009 to 2012, Amit left to found his own startup, a marketing analytics company called Origami Logic.
“Facebook is a really great place to work at, based on my experience and that of many other people I know,” he wrote on Quora. “But no single company can fulfill everyone’s needs forever, and people often spend a few years at at the same place and then move on.”