[epistemic status: I wrote this post fairly quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if I’ve missed some relevant points, feel free to correct me in the comments]
Over the coming two weeks, the FTX foundation will be making its decisions and likely disbursing $100m, possibly more. [EDIT: $100m to be disbursed within the coming year, not necessarily in the coming two weeks, as has been pointed out in the comments]
Let’s assume that those funds are going to be spent on salaries (imprudent assumption) and that those salaries average $100k (probably a prudent assumption, I’d guess), and that no more than $100m is donated (prudent assumption)...
… then there could be 1,000 EA jobs up for grabs in the coming months.
As if I don’t have enough eccentricities, I’m going to refer to the Big EA Hiring Round as the BEAHR.
Has the EA community ever had this many new jobs created in such a short space of time?
Not as far as I’m aware.
As far as I know, it’s as if a BEAHR from deepest darkest Peru has suddenly and magically turned up at a tube station.
What does this mean for you, a potential applicant?
Are you someone who has been thinking of getting a job in an EA org, but not gotten round to it?
Now is a good time to get ready for the BEAHR!
If you want to take action right now, you might want to prepare your CV. When I have hired for EA jobs in the past, I have requested a CV, but I have not been very prone to reject people for a bad CV – I’ve mostly used it as an indication of intent to apply, plus a useful reference point before the interview.
This means that if you’re the sort of person who agonises over whether your CV is good enough, you can relax. At least, assuming that other organisations take the same approach as me!
If anyone wants to include further thoughts or advice on putting together your CV in the comments, feel free.
Vaidehi provided some useful more general advice encouraging people to apply for jobs here.
We will need the right infrastructure, including jobs boards…
I am happy to report that I have used the 80,000 hours jobs board and found it to be a hugely valuable resource. It has led to a very high calibre of applicant, and a good quantity too. I’m hugely grateful to 80,000 hours for providing this great resource.
However I have heard reports that people have had an inconsistent experience of using the 80,000 jobs board, and suggestions that it is underresourced.
I also understand that 80,000 hours has been hiring for someone to manage the jobs board, so I very much hope that that person can hit the ground running and will relish the challenge of meeting the substantial needs for this resource.
Even assuming that the 80,000 hours jobs board is functioning perfectly in the coming months, I still think that duplication/competition is valuable.
I would love it if someone decided to quickly create and boldly market a new EA jobs board.
This will be useful for the forthcoming BEAHR, and possibly for beyond.
… and don’t forget the Effective Altruism Job Postings facebook group!
If you’re not on that facebook group, I would encourage you to join it! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1062957250383195
And if you’re on it, please check in on it. I predict that the BEAHR may make that space a bit more frenzied in the coming months!
Does this mean the end of “it’s really really hard to get hired by an EA organisation”
Three years ago, a plaintive, heartfelt post struck a deep chord within the community, and became a hit on the EA forum.
Will the BEAHR bring about an end to it being so hard to get hired?
Sadly, not necessarily.
I predict that some people will feel the great joy of getting a new job, but others will still experience a series of rejections without getting hired.
And that this will happen for some very talented people.
- Firstly, there is an idiosyncratic need that organisations have. It is really normal for me to be hiring, and I encounter an applicant who is really capable and talented. I often feel a desire to hire such people – I like hiring really good people! But sometimes that applicant might not be the right fit for the role we’re hiring for. I worry that we feed this back to the applicant, and they might be told “You’re a great applicant, but not the right fit for this role. We would love to have you apply again”, but the pain of rejection makes them reinterpret this as “You’re crap. Go away”. In fact my actual sentiment is so viscerally the opposite of this.
- Secondly (and this is almost a “zoomed out” version of the first point) – the current BEAHR is based on grants from the FTX Future Fund, which means that longtermism and EA meta work may well get funding, but other cause areas will not necessarily receive much more funding. I think Joey did the community a great service by writing his excellent post a few weeks back, in which he suggested that we should be more nuanced in thinking about resources in the community. I think he’s spot on, and I don’t want this post to exacerbate the nuanced impression that some might have had.
This may seem daunting.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the BEAHR probably won’t be a quick, one-off opportunity. If you apply in the coming months and get nowhere, I’m confident there will be more opportunities. Some applicants to the Foundation will get a planning grant and then receive funds later. Also the FTX Foundation will disburse more grants over the coming months and years, not to mention the funding from Open Phil and other sources.
And while some people will find that the BEAHR opens the door to an exciting new life in an EA org, grappling with the BEAHR may still be painful for many people.
But don’t let that stop you – I’d urge you to brace yourselves and prod the BEAHR!