MALAYSIA: In a recent talk to students at a secondary school in Ampang, doctor and guest speaker, Dr Malar, expressed her concerns about the popularity of influencer careers, particularly as TikTokers.
Dr Malar firmly stated that being a TikToker is not a job and encouraged students to seek professions that offer long-term stability.
She emphasized the need for students to focus on acquiring knowledge and pursuing careers that provide reliable incomes.
In a Facebook post, Dr Malar recounted that during her talk, she noted that a notable portion of the Form 3 students expressed a keen desire to pursue careers as TikTokers and YouTubers when she inquired about their future career goals.
“Being a TikToker isn’t a job! Those who do business on TikTok are entrepreneurs like Khairul Aming, they are not TikTokers, they are businessmen,” she said.
She cautioned students aspiring to sustain themselves as full-time TikTokers that their livelihoods would be marked by unpredictability.
“One second the income could be high, the next second there could be no income at all for months,” she added.
Dr Malar made her stance clear by explaining that platforms like TikTok are primarily utilized by individuals engaged in business endeavors, such as Khairul Aming, a TikToker who achieved recognition by winning the Creator Of The Year award in the People’s Choice category at the TikTok Awards Malaysia 2023 held on Aug 27.
“the reality is that influencers’ lives are unstable because many people will ask for free reviews, to go to fashions shows for free, become models for free, create content for free and so on,” she told the students.
She further explained that while influencers may appear to live glamorous lives, the reality is often quite different.
Prioritize education and stable careers over TikTok fame
Dr Malar encouraged students to develop strong math, marketing, and communication skills if they choose to go into a business path.
She also emphasized the importance of being prepared to face losses in entrepreneurship and advised those who couldn’t handle financial setbacks to opt for salaried employment instead.
She urged young students to prioritize education, gain knowledge, and pursue careers that offer stable income, and warned against hastily jumping into the world of TikTok and content creation without considering the financial instability it may bring.
“So, to the youngsters who are in school, please understand what I’m trying to tell you. Pursue and gain as much knowledge as possible. Get a job that gives you a stable income and gather a lot of money.”
“After that, if you want to do business, do it with dignity. Don’t jump into becoming a TikToker or content creator and then regret it when your income is not stable,” she explained.
This advice comes as influencers continue to rise in popularity, raising questions about the sustainability and reliability of such careers.
She underscores the importance of informed career choices and financial security for the younger generation.
Content creator as a side hustle
The majority of online commentators concurred with Dr Malar’s viewpoint. They expressed the belief that being a content creator is not inherently wrong but recommended treating it as a side hustle rather than a main job.
“Absolutely! We often advise our kids that it’s acceptable to pursue a career on YouTube, but primarily as a secondary pursuit, focusing on sharing educational content and animations,” one user remarked.
Another commenter pointed out that “even the winner in the content creator category (Khairul Aming) offers this counsel: Complete your education, acquire as much knowledge as possible, and, most importantly, have good manners!” they elaborated.