Hi EA community,

This is my first post here - I am excited to connect with like-minded people, and apologize in advance if this post doesn't adhere to standards and best practices around here.

I gradually switched from a conventional career to an altruism-focused career over a few years, with my journey starting out in 2015. Back then, I set a 5 years goal, and a plan to get there. I am lucky to say that it worked out more or less according to plan.

Today, I am working in a role where I am granted the opportunity to have a significant impact on communities we are working with. However, my 5 years plan has now come to an end, and I am considering whether & how I should set up a plan for the coming 5 years (5 being arbitrary here - could be 3 or 10 !).

I thought about setting a number, basically coming to a statement like: "In 5 years, I want to have generated $X of incremental impact at no extra cost for my organization".

NB. Incremental seems like a key word to me - I think we should compare the total impact of my organization in 5 years incl. my contribution vs. the impact it would have had, had I not joined it.

One way to set a lower bound for that number would be to say: I could have stayed in my previous job, and given most of my earnings to my current organization, who would turn it into impact based on its proven SROI. Let's call it my impact cost of opportunity. I estimate my 5 years impact cost of opportunity to be ~$1M/year, and my 10 years impact cost of opportunity to be ~$10M/year.

Couple of additional considerations that may be relevant:

  • There seems to be a low interest and/or high bar for my job. According to the internal recruiting tool, we received ~7,000 resumes, rejected the very large majority of them, and when we ended up identifying good candidates, we lost them due to the conditions of the job being unattractive compared to other opportunities they had; these factors led to a grand total of 2 hires - me and my boss. Thus, I assuming finding my replacement would not be easy, and could easily take several months.
  • My performance reviews are "Above expectations", and people are generally quite happy with my work, although it seems to me that their expectations are quite low. According to other people, I am my own harshest critic.
  • Responsibilities in my role are of two types: 1) Filling an urgent gap, e.g. when someone leaves unexpectedly and there is no one to take over. I then come in to control the damage and make sure our critical operations are not affected. 2) innovations, in which my responsibilities are to design, pilot and scale up new products/solutions, bringing additional impact.
  • I sometimes get poked by colleagues who are looking to recruit internally for some roles, and in some cases I am unable to assess whether the role is higher or lower impact than my current one.
  • Once I have my goal, I would like to use it to chart a realistic career path to reach that goal. In other words, this goal will weigh very heavily in my career choices (as long as the impact estimation process seems trustworthy).

Now, I suppose my questions are:

  • >> Have you got any experience with setting such goals once you made it into an EA organization? How did you go about it?
  • >> Do you think setting a goal helps, or this is a waste of time?
  • >> Is the lower bound approach reasonable? How do I go about setting a higher bound?
  • >> How can I best measure my progress against this goal?


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