Extreme risk here of stating the obvious, but I've now had a few conversations like this so I figure it would be useful to have a place to link it all.

Previously my template for calls was this, I still do a bunch of those things, especially give a feel of the landscape.

  • Current opportunities
  • Be part of the community
    • Gives you a sense of what projects might be starting, who might be hiring that's not on an obvious list
    • Helps people know what your deal is: interests, skill sets, makes you salient
    • You can volunteer to jump into other people's projects and get experience and skill and demonstrate reliability, good judgment, etc.
    • Local group
    • Upcoming EAG conferences
      • EAGx might be the right first conference, it depends
    • Click the links in here and read around
    • Make an account on the EA Forum, put what you're looking for job-wise in your bio so there's an easy way to link people do it
    • Maybe join EA Twitter
    • Start writing: on twitter, on a blog, on the forum, on forum shortform, which not enough people know about, lower bar than writing on the forum
      • Gives people a sense of who you are
      • Helps you think through your own views
      • Gets you feedback
  • Where there's generic energy / need / bottlenecks
    • You might already be excited about these, or want to orient to becoming more skilled / excited about them over time
    • Ambition and starting projects, megaprojects and entrepreneurialism
    • Management and mentorship
      • eg Mentoring researchers
      • Helping people skill up / get structure
      • Good judgment
    • Operations
      • eg Project management
      • Competence, reliability
      • Personal assistants are sometimes quite in demand - not the right choice for career capital for everyone
    • Researchers in top problem areas
      • Are you able to self-learn / study?
      • Empirical and theoretical research skills
  • Figure out what you think and feel
    • Practice epistemics, figure out your own views and confidence
      • Think about how well you update your views and engage with hard problems
      • I encourage working on developing your own thinking about what the world needs (building your own models).
    • What are your views on longtermism? On a current list of pressing problems? On AI timelines?
      • Note: Longtermism and AI risk are not the only things going on, but they are big in conversation
    • How do you orient to taking ideas seriously? Are there things you currently believe but don't feel emotionally real?
    • How ready are you for a career change? What's your time frame?
    • What pressing problems are you most interested in working on? Do you know what the range of views is there?
  • Read through lists of open questions / current projects / big cause areas
  • Try to expand your sense of what's possible
  • Think in terms of your aptitudes, not just what areas of work you could do
  • 5 minute timers and google docs
    • I am really really bullish on the power of literally setting a 5 minute timer and writing out as many ideas as you have (babbling) whether they're good or bad (if you keep having ideas, set another timer). Examples of things to set timers for:
      • All the jobs you could possibly do
      • All the things you could learn to do
      • All the confusions / questions you have
      • All the small experiments (5 minutes - 2 weeks) you could do to answer the questions
      • What skills do you want to have in 5 years? 10 years?
    • Resolve Cycles
    • My examples
    • Write your thoughts on google docs, easy for sharing with trusted people and getting their thoughts
  • Use your sense of what you think and what your current questions are to orient your further search
    • Feel empowered to pursue conversations you want to have to get a question answered
    • Feel free to go into conversations with an agenda / mission of what you want to learn from it
    • Balance between learning a lot / exploring and going in with a plan / exploiting
    • At some point you might want to start like making your conversations more specific, like I was doing X, what would be your advice, or if I was like interested in building this skill, what would your advice be?
  • Small experiments
    • Be on the lookout for ways to test fit and interest in an hour / a day / a week / a month
    • Maybe jump on someone's project for a few weeks or do body doubling (be someone to bounce ideas off of) for a researcher for a week
    • Maybe spend a week trying to do independent research on a question you're interested in
  • Akash's advice in applying to EA jobs
  • To teachers
    • Skills you potentially have a comparative advantage as a teacher
      • Context on a "normal workplace"
      • Operations skills
        • tracking lots of different things at once
        • reliability on basic logistics
      • More people skills / social skills
        • Knowing how to give feedback
        • Helping people skill up
        • Warmth
        • Knowing how to talk to young people
        • Emotional labor
        • Curiosity about what people are thinking
      • Management skills
        • Helping people get structure and time management
      • Communicating EA ideas well / outreach
        • Via teaching, talks, writing, journalism
        • Note: I am not bullish on people extremely new to EA ideas doing outreach for EA, but it's definitely something that can be aimed for!
        • Communications Fellowship [now closed, but to give a flavor]

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