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Indian-origin techie quits ₹6.6 crore Meta job, opens startup

Rahul Pandey, an Indian-origin techie-turned-entrepreneur whose last job was with Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook, Inc) before he opened own startup, has revealed anxiety made him leave his job at the tech giant, where he ended up working for almost five years, and last drew an annual salary equivalent to 6.6 crore.

Rahul Pandey (Image courtesy: LinkedIn)

“My journey was not a straight shot to counting $100 bills. In fact, for the first six months after I joined Facebook, I was extremely anxious. I felt imposter syndrome as a senior engineer…I struggled to adapt to the company’s culture and tooling,” Pandey wrote on LinkedIn.

The Stanford University alum further stated that he did not seek help from colleagues as he was ‘apprehensive’ about being ‘outed’ as someone who did not deserve to be a senior engineer. To add to this, within a year of his joining, the then-Facebook encountered internal struggles, leading to a decline in its stock value. This prompted several of his colleagues to leave the social network.

Pandey, however, did not follow suit. “I had only been at the company for a year, though, so it felt too soon to jump ship. Instead, I made concerted effort to improve my performance,” he told Business Insider.

Then, at the end of his second year, he came up with an internal tool that was adopted throughout the organisation as it saved a lot of time for the engineers. Soon, he was promoted, and granted equity worth two crore, in addition to his basic annual pay, also around two crore. This, however, was followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and Pandey started to explore options outside the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp parent.

“For my last year, I transitioned into a manager role and switched teams after three years in the same organisation. As 2021 wrapped up, I began exploring the world beyond Meta. After almost a decade in tech, I had achieved some degree of financial freedom, and realised how much more I could learn beyond engineering,” he said to the publication.

Finally, in January last year, Pandey resigned from the Mark Zuckerberg-helmed firm, his employer since August 2017. He then opened his own startup, Taro, to help software engineers grow their careers.

“My total compensation in 2021 exceeded $800,000 (approx. 6.6 crore) due to sustained strong performance and a run-up in the Meta stock price. I was in the top 1% of income earners in the country! At that level, the money does not actually feel deserved: luck plays a huge role,” the ex-Meta staffer concluded.

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