We are also hiring researchers — find out more here.

We are having a webinar on these roles on March 29th, 2022. Find out more here.

Summary

TLDR: Rethink Priorities is hiring for lots of operations positions. Apply here. You can apply for as many of these roles (and our research roles) as you’d like to!

Rethink Priorities (RP) is growing rapidly. Since the beginning of 2021, we’ve expanded from around 15 staff to around 40. By the end of 2022, we will likely have over 60 staff, and plan to continue growing in 2023. We’re also now adding new programs beyond research, including a new longtermist megaproject incubation initiative. We expect that these projects will rapidly scale, and getting operational support in place for them early will be critical for their success.

Our operations have become increasingly complex during this growth, but nonetheless we’ve had a high degree of operational success:

  • Despite operating in several countries, conducting research in several cause areas, and growing rapidly over the last year, we’ve experienced extremely low turnover and no major operational issues.
  • RP staff consistently rate RP extremely highly on measures like psychological safety, as well as questions like “RP is a good place to work.” For the latter question, we’ve never had an internal survey where a staff member hasn’t answered 5/5 on a Likert scale (answering anonymously).
  • RP research staff consistently report that the administrative burden of working at RP is minimal. For many staff, it is well below 1% of their total time.

These are great results from the perspective of our Ops team, but as we grow, they become harder and harder to maintain. We’ve consistently invested heavily in ops, putting staff in place well before we need them, paying well for operations talent (we have the same salaries for ops people and researchers with identical title levels), and working to be a flexible and compassionate employer for our research team.

Core Operations

To keep up this success through our next period of growth, we’re growing our Core Operations team, which oversees the day-to-day functioning and success of Rethink Priorities. These roles are now open to applicants. We have roles at multiple seniority levels, and would be excited to see applicants with EA backgrounds joining our team.

Special Projects

The Special Projects program is a new initiative at Rethink Priorities to support activities other than direct research conducted at RP.  Roles on this team would liaise between the RP Core Operations team and these special projects. We expect that most of these projects will be in the longtermism space. RP plans on fiscally sponsoring, incubating, or otherwise hosting several of these projects over the next few years.

Rethink Priorities is increasingly working on projects that require complicated operational support. RP’s Core Operations team is focused on ensuring the day-to-day functioning of the organization, but these special projects often require more value alignment and exploration of novel areas than is necessary for the Core Operations team. Many of the special projects may spin off from RP after incubation — Special Projects staff may be well-suited to join these (or perhaps even help lead them), which will help ensure the operational success of the projects after the spinoff. 

RP has an especially strong operations program, and extending the support of our Ops team beyond RP’s core research program could be helpful for both: 

  • Aiding the success of these special projects
  • Training ops staff in these areas, which those projects may hire as they grow

Although we currently expect Special Projects staff to primarily focus on operations activities, this is unlikely to solely be day-to-day operations tasks — there are many other activities we would be excited for the right candidate to engage in, such as: 

  • Developing budgets
  • Writing business plans for entrepreneurial projects
  • Fundraising
  • Liaising with stakeholders
  • Researching legal/operational issues
  • Scouting for talent for the projects
  • Helping run prizes or requests for proposals
  • Grantmaking

(But it’s fine if candidates aren’t interested in most of those areas, or if they have little experience in any of them; these roles could take many forms, depending on candidates’ interests and skills.)
 

2022 planned special projects

  • Longtermism and EA community-building megaprojects
    • RP plans on exploring and incubating longtermism megaprojects over the next year, and we plan to begin work on 1-3 projects in the near future. Special Projects will directly support these megaprojects.
  • Longtermism grant opportunity scouting / talent vetting
    • Several RP staff and collaborators who advise grantmakers and vet grant applications are time-constrained. Special Projects will help scout for talent and grant opportunities in the longtermism space.
  • Incubating and supporting other research organizations
    • There are many promising research teams outside of RP that would benefit from having strong operational support. We’d like to grow our Operations team to support these research teams and prevent these teams from being distracted by having to build operational skills themselves.
  • Supporting the AI Governance and Strategy (AIGS) team
    • RP’s AIGS team is a new and fast growing part of our longtermism department. The team has higher operational needs than most of our other programs, due to its fast growth, its intention to run hiring rounds and temporary fellowships twice per year, and its somewhat stringent information security protocol requirements.

We expect that the number of special projects we will fiscally sponsor or incubate will grow over the next few years, so we plan on expanding this program to support those projects.

Why RP / RP Ops?

  • We have a great team culture — it’s a collaborative, friendly, and close-knit group of people interested in EA.
  • We have unusually low staff turnover. RP Ops has never had a staff member quit the organization.
  • We are growing rapidly, and strongly emphasize professional development. We often promote internally and provide opportunities for staff to advance in the organization, regardless of whether they want to directly manage staff.
  • We provide excellent compensation and benefits, and a highly flexible workplace (we are 100% remote, and staff generally choose the hours they work besides some meetings).
  • We can hire for many of these roles from most countries in the world (though being able to work during at least some working hours of your teammates is helpful).
  • We respect that people have lives outside their jobs, and we work hard to ensure staff have a healthy work-life balance.

Open roles

Note: Our descriptions of who would be a good fit are mostly nice-to-haves rather than requirements; we encourage you to seriously consider applying even if you don’t perfectly match our descriptions!

Applications for all of these roles are open until April 17th, 2022.

Finance Coordinator

  • Salary: $75,000 to $81,000 USD
  • Summary: Bookkeeper and finance generalist supporting all of RP’s work
  • A good fit for:
    • Someone with a few years of bookkeeping experience, especially for a remote nonprofit

Research Recruiting Coordinator

  • Salary: $75,000 to $81,000 USD
  • Summary: Recruiter focused especially on longtermism, helping us to grow our research team over the next few years
  • A good fit for:
    • Someone with some recruiting experience (either as a recruiter or in another role)
    • Someone deeply familiar with the longtermism community (ideally you have at least some longtermism research experience)
    • Someone who wants to build an incredibly strong, applicant-friendly recruiting process

Operations Associate

  • Salary: $72,000 to $76,000 USD
  • Summary: Ops generalist helping staff with day-to-day tasks, organizational legal compliance, and internal and external events
  • A good fit for:
    • A recent grad or someone new to EA who is interested in supporting the day-to-day work of a high-impact organization
    • Someone strongly interested in event planning and management

Director of Special Projects

  • Salary: $115,000 to $122,000 USD
  • Summary: A senior staff member with a background in EA and longtermism, managing the strategy and staff of the Special Projects program
  • A good fit for: 
    • Strategy-focused thinkers with solid experience in people management
    • People interested in operations and helping incubate high-impact projects in the longtermism space

Special Projects Associate

  • Salary: $72,000 to $76,000 USD
  • Summary: Coordinator between incubated RP projects (especially in our new Megaprojects program) and RP operations
  • A good fit for:
    • Early-career people interested in operations
    • People with a strong understanding of longtermism
    • People interested in working on megaprojects and other high-risk/high-reward charitable projects

Researcher — Operations and Organizational Design

  • Salary: $72,000 to $115,000 USD, depending on experience
  • Summary: A researcher focusing on organizational design and operations at RP, helping improve our entire organization, especially as the complexity of our longtermism team grows.
  • A good fit for:
    • Researchers interested in organizational design
    • Researchers interested in seeing their research applied immediately
    • People with backgrounds in experimental research

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7 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:27 AM
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Very excited about the operations expansion of our organization! All of these roles are exciting, and I'm keen to see RP leverage our comparative advantage of "having great operations staff to support a research organization" even further, for example by helping younger and very exciting orgs with worse operations, and/or by making the prospect of longtermist entrepreneurship less daunting, particularly for future megaprojects.

Fantastic to see Rethink expanding, and I absolutely love the idea of the Special Projects program!

Regarding the Special Projects Associate position:

  • Salary: $72,000 to $76,000 USD
  • Summary: Coordinator between incubated RP projects (especially in our new Megaprojects program) and RP operations
  • A good fit for:
    • Early-career people interested in operations
    • People with a strong understanding of longtermism
    • People interested in working on megaprojects and other high-risk/high-reward charitable projects

I'm curious as to why this is an Associate level position and not titled Coordinator? Would you still be open to candidates that are slightly more experienced yet perhaps not to the extent of the Director position (2-4 years experience or analagous to the Researcher tier per your website)?

Separately, would candidates who apply for the Director position be considered for the Associate opening or other indeed other suitable roles within Rethink?

Hey!

We set the title level for the Special Projects Associate roles for a few reasons: 

  • We think that this could be a valuable way for people new to operations for EA organizations to gain skills.
  • We think that generally these roles would be good learning opportunities for early career EAs to explore ops careers.
  • These roles are fairly generalist

I think it is likely that if someone came in who had a fairly deep background in operations relevant to these roles, we'd basically evaluate them for a different title level on an individual basis.

I think we'd also likely consider really strong candidates for the Director-level for other roles on the Special Projects team, so only one application is needed to that team, but for other positions at RP, we have different evaluation committees, so multiple applications would need to be submitted. We are happy to consider candidates for any number of roles they'd like to apply for across programs though!

Many thanks for the quick reply & clarifications Abraham! Looking forward to the information sessions.

Researcher — Operations and Organizational Design

  • Salary: $72,000 to $115,000 USD, depending on experience
  • Summary: A researcher focusing on organizational design and operations at RP, helping improve our entire organization, especially as the complexity of our longtermism team grows.
  • A good fit for:
    • Researchers interested in organizational design
    • Researchers interested in seeing their research applied immediately
    • People with backgrounds in experimental research

 

I thought this role is unique, interesting, valuable and really deep.

Can you write a little bit about the motivation or approaches this could take? E.g. what might the wins be?

 

Quick, low quality, thoughts that motivate my interest (the content below doesn't need an response):

  • I guess that normally execs provide this sort of meta-work. The RP leadership team seems skilled and thoughtful. It seems notable you seem to be cutting out a specific role for this.
  • It's fascinating to imagine what the experimentation or programme this role could pursue. I imagine there is "existing literature" on related topics, where sometimes people find there is a large supply of advice of mixed quality. I think your insight and effectiveness to be very high and it would be interesting to get a sense of the angle/perspective/approach from RP's team of this role.
  • An obvious drawback is that it can be costly to tweak things when things are working well ("too many cooks"). I guess maybe one reason you are doing this, is that this could produce useful information or other public goods for other organizations.

Hey Charles!

Sure thing! I am really excited about this position. I think the main motivation is that there are a lot of things where it seems like there ought to be summaries of the evidence for what the best practice is on an operational question, but there just isn't good information out there. So, we're hoping that some combination of literature review and self-experimentation can help us ensure we are operating efficiently and intelligently as we grow.

In response to your specific thoughts:

  1. I definitely think our exec teams work on these questions, but we'd like a deeper level of analysis than we typically have time for. I think one issue for our management team is that there are many competing and important demands on their time. So having someone specifically look into these questions from a research angle and making recommendations to our exec team seems useful.
  2. I think that the existing literature is often way too general to be applied to RP. 
    1. E.g. a lot of the literature about hiring is not about specific roles, but about entire classes of work (e.g. "knowledge work"). I'd like to know how to best hire researchers for doing research on EA topics. The best way to figure that out seems to be just to look at our own practices and see what works and doesn't, and to do that systematically. I'm hoping we are now hiring for enough positions with regularity that we can have some power in these analyses.
    2. One issue we've run into is that operational research tends to be deeply mixed in with people's opinions about operations, and if those opinions don't align with our perspective or don't account for some particularity at our organization, the research doesn't end up being super useful. So having someone who understands our perspective / approach while looking at the literature or doing direct research seems really helpful.
  3. I think one important question for this role will be "how do we stay nimble/flexible as we grow?" I think RP has had a fairly strong attitude of not letting perfect be the enemy of the good in our organizational design, and this has served us really well, but often means there is room for improvement. And, we really aren't a static organization - we are growing and just changing, so someone paying attention and ensuring that our operations are changing with the organization is really helpful. I definitely think concerns about breaking things that are already working are good ones, but I think there are many areas where the improvements to be made are substantial enough to spend a lot of resources on it.

Thanks, this is a really informative. This is a really exciting role, I hope the candidates will be fantastic and produce great work!