Posts about the EA community and projects that focus on the EA community

Quick takes

My overall impression is that the CEA community health team (CHT from now on) are well intentioned but sometimes understaffed and other times downright incompetent. It's hard to me to be impartial here, and I understand that their failures are more salient to me than their successes. Yet I endorse the need for change, at the very least including 1) removing people from the CHT that serve as a advisors to any EA funds or have other conflict of interest positions, 2) hiring HR and mental health specialists with credentials, 3) publicly clarifying their role and mandate.  My impression is that the most valuable function that the CHT provides is as support of community building teams across the world, from advising community builders to preventing problematic community builders from receiving support. If this is the case, I think it would be best to rebrand the CHT as a CEA HR department, and for CEA to properly hire the community builders who are now supported as grantees, which one could argue is an employee misclassification. I would not be comfortable discussing these issues openly out of concern for the people affected, but here are some horror stories: 1. A CHT staff pressured a community builder to put through with and include a community member with whom they weren't comfortable interacting. 2. A CHT staff pressured a community builder to not press charges against a community member who they felt harassed by. 3. After a restraining order was set by the police in place in this last case, the CHT refused to liaison with the EA Global team to deny access to the person restrained, even knowing that the affected community builder would be attending the event. 4. My overall sense is that CHT is not very mindful of the needs of community builders in other contexts. Two very promising professionals I've mentored have dissociated from EA, and rejected a grant, in large part because of how they were treated by the CHT. 5. My impress
Wish Swapcard was better?  Swapcard, the networking and scheduling app for EA Global and EAGx events, has published their product roadmap — where anyone can vote on features they want to see! Two features currently in the "Researching (Vote)" stage have been requested by our attendees since the beginning of us using Swapcard for our events: 1) Reschedule a meeting 2) External Calendar Synchronization If these sound like features you want, I encourage you to take a moment to vote for them! Every vote counts. Swapcard product roadmap
PSA: Apropos of nothing, did you known you can hide the community section? (You can get rid of it entirely in your settings as well.)
Thank you! And a few reflections on recognition. A few days ago, while I sat at the desk in my summer cabin, an unexpected storm swept in. It was a really bad storm, and when it subsided, a big tree had fallen, blocking the road to the little neighborhood where the cabin lies. Some of my neighbors, who are quite senior, needed to get past the tree and could not move it, so I decided to help. I went out with a chainsaw and quad bike, and soon the road was clear. The entire exercise took me about two hours, and it was an overall pretty pleasurable experience, getting a break from work and being out in nature working with my body. However, afterward, I was flooded with gratitude, as if I had done something truly praiseworthy. Several neighbors came to thank me, telling me what a very nice young man I was, some even brought small gifts, and I heard people talking about what I had done for days afterward. This got me thinking. My first thought: These are very nice people, and it is obviously kind of them to come and thank me. But it seems a little off - when I tell them what I do every day, what I dedicate my life to, most of them nod politely and move on to talk about the weather. It seems bad and unfair that when we do something immediately visible and easy to grasp, recognition and gratitude come pouring in, but when we engage in work that is indirect, more abstract, and potentially with far-reaching consequences, the acknowledgment isn’t as forthcoming. My second thought: But wait a minute. Here I am, sitting brooding over the behavior of others. Am I any better? What have I done to express gratitude to all of the amazing people out there in the world working on what they think is the most important thing without getting any recognition? Not much. My third thought: I should do something about this. … To all of you, from the bottom of my heart - thanks! The tasks you dedicate yourselves to might not garner instant applause or make the evening news. You might n
Application forms for EA jobs often give an estimate for how long you should expect it to take; often these estimates are *wildly* too low ime. (And others I know have said this too). This is bad because it makes the estimates unhelpful for planning, and because it probably makes people feel bad about themselves, or worry that they're unusually slow, when they take longer than the estimate.  Imo, if something involves any sort of writing from scratch, you should expect applicants to take at least an hour, and possibly more. (For context, I've seen application forms which say 'this application should take 10 minutes' and more commonly ones estimating 20 minutes or 30 minutes). It doesn’t take long to type 300 words if you already know what you’re going to say and don’t particularly care about polish (I wrote this post in less than an hour probably).  But job application questions —even ‘basic’ ones like ‘why do you want this job?’ and ‘why would you be a good fit?’-- take more time. You may feel intuitively that you’d be a good fit for the job, but take a while to articulate why. You have to think about how your skills might help with the job, perhaps cross-referencing with the job description. And you have to express everything in appropriately-formal and clear language. Job applications are also very high-stakes, and many people find them difficult or ‘ugh-y’, which means applicants are likely to take longer to do them than they “should”, due to being stuck or procrastinating.  Maybe hirers put these time estimates because they don’t want applicants to spend too long on the first-stage form (for most of them, it won’t pay off, after all!) This respect for people’s time is laudable. But if someone really wants the job, they *will* feel motivated to put effort into the application form. There’s a kind of coordination problem here too. Let's imagine there's an application for a job that I really want, and on the form it says 'this application should take you appr
I'm going to be leaving 80,000 Hours and joining Charity Entrepreneurship's incubator programme this summer! The summer 2023 incubator round is focused on biosecurity and scalable global health charities and I'm really excited to see what's the best fit for me and hopefully launch a new charity. The ideas that the research team have written up look really exciting and I'm trepidatious about the challenge of being a founder but psyched for getting started. Watch this space! <3 I've been at 80,000 Hours for the last 3 years. I'm very proud of the 800+ advising calls I did and feel very privileged I got to talk to so many people and try and help them along their careers! I've learned so much during my time at 80k. And the team at 80k has been wonderful to work with - so thoughtful, committed to working out what is the right thing to do, kind, and fun - I'll for sure be sad to leave them. There are a few main reasons why I'm leaving now: 1. New career challenge - I want to try out something that stretches my skills beyond what I've done before. I think I could be a good fit for being a founder and running something big and complicated and valuable that wouldn't exist without me - I'd like to give it a try sooner rather than later. 2. Post-EA crises stepping away from EA community building a bit - Events over the last few months in EA made me re-evaluate how valuable I think the EA community and EA community building are as well as re-evaluate my personal relationship with EA. I haven't gone to the last few EAGs and switched my work away from doing advising calls for the last few months, while processing all this. I have been somewhat sad that there hasn't been more discussion and changes by now though I have been glad to see more EA leaders share things more recently (e.g. this from Ben Todd). I do still believe there are some really important ideas that EA prioritises but I'm more circumspect about some of the thin
I've heard people express the idea that top of funnel community building is not worth the effort, as EA roles often get 100+ applicants. I think this is misguided. Great applicants may get a job after only a few applications. Poor applicants may apply to many many jobs without getting a job. As a result you should expect poor applicants to be disproportionately well represented in the applicant pool - hence the pure number of applicants isn't that informative. This point is weakened by recruitment systems being imperfect, but as long as you believe recruitment systems have some ability to select people, then I think this take holds. I'm really only making a claim about a specific argument, not whether or not top of funnel community building is a good idea on the margin. H/T Amarins for nudging me to post this
I was going to post something for careers week but it was delayed for various reasons (including the mandatory last minute rewrite). I plan to post it in the next couple of weeks.
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