Career choice
Career choice
In-depth career profiles, specific job opportunities, and overall career guidance

Quick takes

CEA is hiring for someone to lead the EA Global program. CEA's three flagship EAG conferences facilitate tens of thousands of highly impactful connections each year that help people build professional relationships, apply for jobs, and make other critical career decisions. This is a role that comes with a large amount of autonomy, and one that plays a key role in shaping a key piece of the effective altruism community’s landscape.  See more details and apply here!
The topics of working for an EA org and altruist careers are discussed occasionally in our local group.  I wanted to share my rough thoughts and some relevant forum posts that I've compiled in this google doc. The main thesis is that it's really difficult to get a job at an EA org, as far as I know, and most people will have messier career paths. Some of the posts I link in the doc, specifically around alternate career paths: The career and the community Consider a wider range of jobs, paths and problems if you want to improve the long-term future My current impressions on career choice for longtermists
Tu Youyou might be a model for EAs. According to Wikipedia she has saved millions of lives due to her discovery of treatments for Malaria for which she received a Nobel prize. I am guessing, without having done research that at least hundred thousand of these lives might be counterfactually saved due to the time it would take until the next person made this discovery. I randomly came across her going down a GPT/Wikipedia rabbit hole and was surprised to see her not mentioned once on the Forum so far. That said, I am unsure how many people there are that might have counterfactually saved ~100k people or more.
Ambition is like fire. Too little and you go cold. But unmanaged it leaves you burnt.
Frances' quick take here made me think about what skills are particularly important in my own line of work, communications. 80,000 Hours has a skill profile for communicating ideas that covers some crucial considerations when assessing fit for communications work; these are additional skills or aptitudes that I often think about when considering fit for communications work in the EA ecosystem in particular: 1. Translating between groups: Especially in an EA context, communications work can entail the translation of complex, nuanced ideas from one group of people into something more legible for a different group or audience. Being able to speak the language of different niche groups—like researchers or philosophers—and then being able to translate that into a different kind of language or format proves useful, especially when communicating with audiences that are less familiar with EA. This is when having a background or understanding of different audiences or groups can come in handy for communications work. 2. Stewardship mentality: As a communicator, you don’t always represent your own ideas or original work. Often you’re representing the work or ideas of others, which requires a sense of stewardship in service of representing that work or those ideas accurately and with nuance. This can look like double-checking stats or numbers before sharing a social media post or doing further research to make sure you understand a claim or piece of research you’re discussing. 3. Excitement about being in a support role: Some communicators, like social media personalities or popular bloggers, don’t necessarily require this aptitude; but full-time communications roles at many organizations in the EA ecosystem require this, in my opinion. Similar to having a stewardship mentality, I find it helps if you have excitement about supporting the object-level work of others. Feeling jazzed about the message or impact of a particular organization or cause area probably means you’ll
TL;DR: A 'risky' career “failing” to have an impact doesn’t mean your career has “failed” in the conventional sense, and probably isn’t as bad it intuitively feels.   * You can fail to have an impact with your career in many ways. One way to break it down might be: * The problem you were trying to address turns out to not be that important * Your method for addressing the problem turns out to not work * You don’t succeed in executing your plan * E.g. you could be aiming to have an impact by reducing the risk of future pandemics, and you do this by aiming to become a leading academic to bring lots of resources and attention to improving vaccine development pipelines. There are several ways you could end up not having much of an impact: pandemic risk could turn out to not be that high; advances in testing and PPE mean we can identify and contain pandemics very quickly, and vaccines aren’t as important; industry labs advance vaccine development very quickly and your lab doesn’t end up affecting things; you don’t succeed at becoming a leading academic, and become a mid-tier researcher instead. * People often feel risk averse with their careers- we’re worried about taking “riskier” options that might not work out, even if they have higher expected impact. However there are some reasons to think most of the expect impact could come from the tail scenarios where you're really successful. * I think we neglect is that there are different ways your career plan can not work out. In particular, many of the scenarios where you don’t succeed to have a large positive impact, you still succeed in the other values you have for your career- e.g. you’re still a conventionally successful researcher, you just didn’t happen to save the world.  * And even if your plan “fails” because you don’t reach the level in the field you were aiming for, you likely still end up in a good position e.g. not a senior academic, just a mid-tier academic or a researcher in industry, or not
Sales professionals might be able to meaningfully contribute to reducing bio x-risk. They could do so by working for germicidal UV companies in promoting their product and increasing sales. This is not my own idea, but I do not think I have seen this career track before and thought it might be useful to some - people with sales backgrounds might not easily find impactful roles (perhaps apart from fundraising and donor relations). If you need more details please just comment here and I will give as much detail as I have on this opportunity.
Since they were well received last year, I'm going to be hosting the EA London Quarterly Review Coworking sessions again for 2024.  You can register here: Q1 FY24 session sign up; Q2 FY24 session sign up; Q3 FY24 session sign up; Q4 FY24 session sign up Thanks to Rishane for making this poster and to LEAH for hosting us. 
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