Working in the corporate world does not mean your identity has to revolve around it. This is the message Erin Confortini hopes to spread as she works in corporate while also sharing advice on her popular TikTok page.
Erin is 23 and currently lives in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Last May, she graduated from Robert Morris University with a dual bachelor’s degree in finance and economics.
She earned her master’s in business administration in risk management and now works full-time as an internal auditor at a Fortune-500 company.
In December, Erin started her TikTok account, which began as a passion project and quickly grew into a community of 180,300 followers. She posts educational content about personal finance, specifically for the Gen-Z audience.
Q: How did you get your current job? What do you do as an auditor?
I’m working at a company that I interned with in college. My manager reached out to me because I was doing my undergraduate and MBA [degrees] at Robert Morris University. I was able to do my undergraduate in three years and I decided to stay that fourth year and get my MBA as well. My manager said that the risk management program was correlated with what [the company] does in their internal audit department. It’s definitely not what I went to school to do, but I had a really good experience interning with them, love the company and love the people I work with.
We [internal auditors] do internal controls and risk-based audits, so within our company we choose departments based on risk levels. We go in and audit a process and decide where the control gaps are and what the risk to the company is for those gaps.
Q: What is it like to grow such a large social media presence on TikTok?
It sort of came out of nowhere. I didn’t expect it to grow at all, let alone as fast as it did. I started it in December of this year and in the first month, I had 10,000 followers all of a sudden and then it grew to 50,000 really quick. It was just something that I wanted to do now that I was out of college and I didn’t want my whole identity to be wrapped up in my corporate job. I wanted something that I could focus on for myself that didn’t have anything to do with my corporate job.
Q: What inspired you to start sharing tips and helping people with finance, especially Gen-Z?
I followed a lot of finance people on TikTok before starting mine, and I just felt like everyone I was seeing was so far along in the process. I’m not sitting here saying, “I’m a millionaire and I’m teaching you how to do it too” — I’m focused on how we get started and proactively make good financial decisions. No one was really talking about that on social media.
Q: I know something you emphasize in your videos is financial freedom. What’s your definition of financial freedom?
Money is a tool to help you live the life you want to live. If you have a lot of money but it means being tied down to your corporate job and you’re working a lot of late hours, that’s not a definition of wealth. To me, the definition of wealth is money no longer controls your decisions. If you really like your corporate job, stay in it. But if you don’t, you’re wealthy if you’re able to say, “I don’t need this job.”
A lot of people think about [financial freedom] as retiring early, and it’s not the point. While I am still young and working, I really want to be investing as much as possible so one day I can decide that I could step away from my corporate job if I want to.
Q: What do you think is the most valuable advice you can give Gen Z about personal finance?
I think there is a really big misconception in a lot of young people of “Once I start making more money I’ll get my finances together. Then I’ll start investing or contributing to my 401k.” But the best time to learn is whenever you don’t have a lot of money because you don’t have enough money to make these big financial mistakes. If you start when you don’t have a lot, you’ll teach yourself to proactively make good financial decisions and build good habits.
Q: Is it ever hard to balance work and your social media presence?
It’s definitely difficult — the mental capacity. Some days I’m super organized and I know exactly when I’m supposed to be doing what, and other days I just feel very scattered. But I will say I do a lot of my TikToks on weekends so that if I do have a busy week at work, then I already have those videos batched. It depends on the week.
Q: What obstacles have you faced and how did you overcome them?
The job that I’m in right now actually isn’t the one I accepted right out of college. I was interning with my current company and as the internship was ending, I was interviewing with another company, who gave me my offer first.
I was working with a government agency as a bank examiner. I started the job right out of college, and I quit after three months because it was not what I expected it to be. It was 80% traveling to banks and looking at their financial statements all day and it just really wasn’t for me.
I really had to trust my gut to quit that. My parents were like, “Just give it a chance,” but I definitely trusted my gut and I’m happy with it.
If you’re starting a job right out of school and it’s not something you thought it was going to be, it’s OK. It’s not going to hurt your resume to quit if it’s not something for you.
Q: Share some highlights and accomplishments you are proud of.
I just got back from my first TikTok work trip. I’m working with this company that works to provide educational resources on different adulthood topics to high school student athletes going into college and becoming college athletes. I went to D.C. with them, and I’ll be flying out to Austin by the end of this year, so that was a big accomplishment for me.
I’m also going to LA at the end of August, working with another company to film personal finance resources that will be posted on their website for free. Never did I think six months into being on TikTok that brands would be flying me out places.
Q: What are your future plans? Long-term goals?
I really want to figure out how to work for myself to some capacity — something sustainable. Within the next five to seven years I would like to make that transition, and that’s why I’m so adamant about saving and investing now.
Q: What advice would you give to other women “doing both” based on your experiences?
Decide what side hustle is going to work for you and what schedule looks good for you. Create habits to stick to that schedule.
Q: What does “she can be both” mean to you?
It goes back to why I started my account in the first place. I really wanted something that was going to make my identity not just an auditor. When I was in college, I had so many things going on like sororities and internships, and when I graduated, I only had my corporate job. I don’t want my identity to just be that I’m an auditor; I wanted something that was for myself and my own identity, and that’s why I started my account.
“She can be both” goes to show that if you want your identity to be something, go do it, but it doesn’t have to be your sole identity.