Keeping everyone motivated: a case for effective careers outside of the highest impact EA organizations

Thank you for the feedback.

When I was talking about academia I wasn't imaging a student that is almost sure to steer a field, but more of a "regular" PhD student. For example I will be finishing a PhD in environmental science soonish. I think I am doing a good job there, but when I see who is applying for EA orgs it seems somewhat unlikely that I will get into one of the main EA orgs anytime soon (or ever^^). Therefore, trying to infuse EA ideas into the general discourse in my field might be one of the few things I can do while in academia.

Regarding what local groups could do, I am still a bit unsure what is the best approach (which is why I did not include it in the post). But a few ideas floating in my head are:

  • Creating more opportunities for people in local group become friends, as this ensures long time engagement:
    • Create additional events that are only meant for people to connect with each other
    • Push for more 1 on 1 talks in the group, so all people in the group know each other well
  • Using local groups as a support network:
    • Help each other finding meaningful jobs
    • Maybe even create something like a local group fund. So everyone in the group gives some money every month and when a member of the group needs financial leeway to create something EA related he/she can get money from that fund.
  • Creating a tighter network in your country:
    • Have more and longer coutry wide networking events
    • Basically all the things GEAN is trying to implement

Probably some of those ideas (or all?) are already included in the bigger EA groups. However, the smaller groups that I have met so far (in Germany) are not yet so sophisticated.

Keeping everyone motivated: a case for effective careers outside of the highest impact EA organizations

Hard question, as it depends on a lot of parameters. For example:

  • What is the marginal value of the person getting into EA org in comparison to the person who would get the job otherwise? I can imagine it is not that big in some cases, as quite a lot of very professional people apply to EA orgs.
  • What is the marginal value of the person leading the group in the comparison to the person who would do it otherwise. Here I would argue that it might be much bigger, as I have the impression that local groups rise and fall with the person(s) who organize them. Often you have one (or a few) very active person(s), who do most of the work. Without them the group slowly dissolves.

It also depends on how big the possible impact of the group or the EA org is. However, if in doubt I would say that often the local group might a very good option, as it can easily act as a multiplier by enhancing the impact of other people in the local group.