FL

frances_lorenz

Junior Events Associate @ CEA
898 karmaJoined Nov 2021

Bio

Hi! I currently work on the EA Global team and I post a lot of my thoughts on Twitter :) 

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15

80,000 Hours has a great 2018 article on Operations management roles, which includes a 'How to assess your fit' section (I'll link to it at the bottom of this take). Having worked on the EA Global team for a year now, here are two important traits I would add for assessing fit:

1) Good at task-switching. I think it's pretty crucial that task-switching isn't super costly for you and you can do it relatively quickly. Otherwise, I imagine many Ops roles will be quite tiring / frustrating. It might be particularly emphasised in my role, but as an anecdote: in the lead up to an event, my days are working through maybe 10+ small-medium planned tasks with a ton of small, unplanned tasks in between (i.e. monitoring Slacks/emails and responding to them if they take priority). I once mentioned this to two friends and they instinctively said, "I'm really sorry," so I suspect reactions to this are a useful fit heuristic.

2) Responsive. This one is from a conversation with my team, and I concur—it's really standout if you can respond to people quickly. This goes hand-in-hand with task switching (i.e. when someone messages you, how costly is it for you to stop what you're doing and respond). It also necessitates being calibrated on how long tasks take (I'll explain) and not hating messaging people. The level of responsiveness necessary and how often you get pinged will vary by role. I'm guessing for most Ops roles, a day or two response time is great. For some, you'll need to generally respond within the same working day(i.e. within minutes or hours). Whether necessary or not, I think achieving this is a huge asset to any team (assuming your other work doesn't suffer and you're prioritising well). It means you're: 1) quickly unblocking others; and, 2) relieving the mental load on the message-sender of tracking their own request. As a note on mental load, over-communication is almost always best in Ops roles. You might open a message and think, "I can't get to this until tomorrow"—it's useful to train in the habit of saying that rather than just making a note to yourself. Your coworkers will then be relieved of tracking this (though crucially, it's important to meet the timeline you set or communicate changes). In an ideal world, your co-workers are never tracking the tasks/requests they send because you're handling that (i.e. responding quickly or providing timelines and updates automatically).

80,000 Hours article: https://80000hours.org/articles/operations-management/#how-to-assess-fit

I'll commit to not commenting more now unless I've gotten something really wrong or it's really necessary or something :') 

Yeah, I don't necessarily mind an informal tone. But the reality is, I read [edit: a bit of] the appendix doc and I'm thinking, "I would really not want to be managed by this team and would be very stressed if my friends were being managed by them. For an organisation, this is really dysfunctional." And not in an, "understandably risky experiment gone wrong" kind of way, which some people are thinking about this as, but in a, "systematically questionable judgement as a manager" way. Although there may be good spin-off convos around, "how risky orgs should be" and stuff. And maybe the point of this post isn't to say, "nonlinear did a reasonably sufficient job managing employees and can expect to do so in the future" but rather, "I feel slandered and lied about and I want to share my perspective." 

But you see how they provide approximately no additional evidence, right? Because photos provide no account for how long someone was away or not away, etc. Basically, in both Alice/Chloe's world and your world, these photos can exist. One of them is just Alice sitting on a beach chair? And to the second point, I don't believe the claim was that the environment was materially poor (please tell me if I'm wrong).

I think this comment will be frustrating for you and is not high quality. Feel free to disagree, I'm including it because I think it's possible many people (or at least some?) will feel wary of this post early on and it might not be clear why. In my opinion, including a photo section was surprising and came across as near completely misunderstanding the nature of Ben's post. It is going to make it a bit hard to read any further with even consideration (edit: for me personally, but I'll just take a break and come back or something). Basically, without any claim on what happened, I don't think anyone suspects "isolated or poor environment" to mean, "absence of group photos in which [claimed] isolated person is at a really pretty pool or beach doing pool yoga." And if someone is psychologically distressed, whether you believe this to be a misunderstanding or maliciously exaggerated, it feels like a really icky move to start posting pictures that add no substance, even with faces blurred, with the caption "s'mores", etc.

What a fantastic post, thank you so so much for writing this. 
1. I don't often get to hear from people in EA who deeply committed to one path to impact and have long-term experience with it. It's incredibly valuable to hear from someone who has built up so much context around the path and can describe it in different phases, rather than the shorter stints I more often hear about (which are valuable in their own way of course, but more common). 

2. Yeah, I've been involved since 2019-ish and never considered earning-to-give, yet distinctly noticed and remember the tonal shift against it that seemed to crop up out of no where (partly because I wasn't consciously following EtG advice at all, so when ideas around it reached me I was like, oh vibe is negative now?). Like felt distinctly negatively valenced rather than just a neutral "we no longer recommend this," idk. I imagine this did feel like suddenly being "turned on," and I appreciate you bringing attention to that experience. I'm pretty sad to hear that. 

THANK YOU thank you for all the money you and your wife have given. 

Hey  Jonny, thanks so much for pointing that out, that's my  bad!! I've replaced the link with hopefully a more helpful resource :D

Oh that's totally okay, thanks for clarifying!! And good to get more feedback because I was/am still trying to collect info on how accessible this is

this is really good to know, thank you!! I'm  thinking we hit more of a 'familiar with some technical concepts/lingo' accessibility level rather than being accessible to people who truly have no/little familiarity  with the field/concepts. 

Curious if that seems right or not (maybe some aspects of this post are just broadly confusing). I was hoping this could be accessible to anyone so will have to try and hit that mark better in the future.

Luke, thank  you for always being  so kind :)) I very much appreciate you sharing your thoughts!!

"sometimes people exclude short-term actions because it's not 'longtermist enough'"
That's a really good point on how we see longtermism being pursued in practice. I would love to investigate whether others are feeling this way. I have certainly felt it myself in AI Safety. There's some vague sense that current-day concerns (like algorithmic bias) are not really AI Safety research. Although I've talked to some who think addressing these issues first is key in building towards alignment. I'm  not even totally sure where this sense comes from, other than that fairness research is really not talked about much at all in safety spaces.

Glad you brought this up as it's definitely important to field/community building.

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