Gavriel Kleinwaks

320 karmaJoined Aug 2022


I switched to a much more motivating job, and then later began taking ADHD medication, each of which was a major boost. The change in motivation (when I switched from an academic lab to a small nonprofit) has more interesting factors, so to break those out:

  • I received more feedback and demonstrated interest from colleagues.
  • My colleagues respected me more--the new workplace allowed for more specialization, and was less hierarchical...
  • ...which made it much less intimidating to ask for in-depth explanations, so I probably learned a lot faster.
  • Projects had much more clear-cut checkpoints and endpoints.
  • Individual tasks didn't have severe failure points, so if a detail was wrong, I didn't have to start from scratch.

This is stellar advice! What's wild is, I have accidentally stumbled on each of these techniques at various points and just never really consciously identified the technique, which meant it wasn't repeatable at will. This post really crystallizes important options for me; definitely feeling some sheepish "shoulda figured that one out" combined with relief that you did it for me. THANK YOU.

Great theme idea. I'll aim to post (working title) "Impostor syndrome can be valuable information."

Personally I have also been skeptical of Nonlinear's work, BUT before anything else, I just want to say I have not carefully kept track of Nonlinear's work and this is a pretty uninformed vague impression. 

I'm not skeptical because of the prizes specifically, I just think they had ideas that sounded not particularly fruitful, or more costly than they were worth. I do think that there was a lot of theoretical discussion around that type of prize setup before Nonlinear tried it, and I respect the ethos of just try-it-and-see-what-happens for something like that, with minimal downside risk. (Notably, if nobody claims the prize, the money isn't spent and can just be used for other work.) The best-sounding concepts in the world still have to be tested before we should build lots of infrastructure on them, so I see the prize stuff as a fairly inexpensive experiment, and I think often good coordinators are undervalued. My skepticism is more that despite Nonlinear's high profile as coordinators, I have no evidence of Nonlinear's impact, and I'm unconvinced that they've found good pressure points for coordination in general. I have also judged them more harshly for this than I otherwise would, due to what I perceive as a gimmicky and overconfident style to some of their written materials. This style unavoidably puts up my guard, but its influence on my assessment may be unfair of me! 

Recently told a friend about one of the easiest-but-important things I did for personal professional development, and based on her reaction, thought maybe other people would benefit from it.

A few months ago, I noticed how much I appreciated a certain person in my professional community, and thought I should try to emulate his actions. That led me to making a short list of the professional acquaintances I look up to, and my reasons for looking up to them, so that I could be very concrete about the traits I want to emulate. This exercise was pretty low-effort, but also inspiring (it feels really good to reflect on the people you appreciate!) and very quickly actionable. Examples:

  • Person A goes out of their way to introduce people, or to send notice of opportunities to people, which makes me feel valued and recognized. It generally doesn't occur to me to make introductions--I should do that more often, and say good things about people's work when I think of it!
  • Person B is so welcoming toward my questions and I really appreciate how they make time to help other people understand their field. I should be very clear that I appreciate people's interest when they ask questions about my work, and make plenty of time for them.
  • Person C is a very direct speaker, and is very good at translating their field across different audiences with different levels of expertise. They have a good understanding of what details are interesting to different audiences, and I should carefully consider my audience's priorities when I write or speak, not just the expected format.
  • Person D is very expressive and shows a lot of interest in what each person is saying, which makes interlocutors feel really good. I could stand to work on demonstrating more attentiveness and less guardedness.
  • Person E has extremely audacious ideas, and improves them by being unafraid to discuss them with people while they're still half-baked. This quality is harder than the others for me to emulate, because that Big Idea™ chutzpah is really not me (and Person E has a much longer track record to draw on), but I can at least notice that it works for Person E to share their ideas liberally, and they're not losing face, so maybe I should be less self-conscious about working through project ideas with others.

This exercise was especially useful for me because I don't have long professional experience--since I don't have detailed insight to lots of people's work styles, I have to be more thoughtful about the work I have seen. It's not common to have it explicitly pointed out, "This person is great to work with because of this habit or trait," but once I started this exercise, it felt like an important piece of professional development snapped into focus for me.

Thanks so much for the kind feedback and comparison calculation! Your skepticism about the eACH estimates is warranted--I was unaware that coronaviruses were unusually susceptible (compared with other viruses, you mean?); the estimates we saw were all based on either SARS-CoV-2 or tuberculosis (also quite susceptible). It's useful to know how other people are approaching this question, and ultimately the problem calls for much more extensive real-world observations.

Great questions--my colleagues and I (at 1Day Sooner) have actually spoken to representatives from HERA and BARDA (which is under HHS) who are very interested in the potential of far-UVC. What we've seen is that policymakers are genuinely concerned about the effectiveness and safety of widespread far-UVC use, and want to see greater research in the field, without necessarily being able to guarantee that funding themselves. We, and other organizations, have been advocating for and trying to organize research and pilot programs. (I don't have a good sense of the international advocacy field around pandemic prep, though; most of our partners are based in the US.) I think that generally advocacy has actually been fairly specific, or at least been targeted at understanding specific concerns from policymakers, but it's not surprising that this doesn't necessarily come across at a glance. The more detailed and specific the plan, the more technical it gets and the more it's being communicated person-to-person or through gigantic reports. Our report does contain specific recommendations in the "Bottlenecks and Funding Opportunities" section if you'd like to check it out!

Thanks so much for the kind words about our report! We actually published an updated version just an hour ago--you can see the new report here and the forum announcement with a summary here. (Small note on organizational affiliation: the report is a collaboration between 1Day Sooner and Rethink Priorities.)

My typical week has 4-6 meetings. I usually have 3 standing meetings: staff meeting, a check-in with my boss, and a meeting with a project collaborator. Then each week I usually wind up having 1-3 extra one-off meetings related to projects, like a check-in with a contractor, an informational meeting with a researcher, or a brainstorming session with a colleague. Internal meetings tend to be 60-90 minutes whereas one-offs with external parties tend to be 30-40 minutes. If eg project schedules sync in a weird way, I might get up to 8 meetings, but that's uncommon. (Some of my colleagues have much more meeting-heavy schedules; it depends on the project and what stage they're on.)

In terms of booking: I find my existing meeting schedule very easy to handle, and place a high value on personally being helpful and accessible to others. So I've intentionally set up my Calendly to show slots at any time during my working hours and to be book-able on fairly short notice. But that's totally self-motivated! (Due to working fully remotely, I actually legitimately like having a meeting to break up the day.)

Hi, sorry to hear about your experience! I work in a research/project management-type role. My workload fluctuates a huge amount by week, and I do typically work long hours, but even when I have a particularly heavy week, it hardly ever feels like I'm "on call." Within a week, I can largely organize my work as I see fit and I believe this is mostly true for my colleagues in similar roles; the only time we behave as if we are on call is for major deadlines. I occasionally take meetings at weird times due to international partnerships, but always with plenty of advance notice.

And actually, when it comes to ops roles, our head of ops is very encouraging of people protecting their vacation time. I give her a ton of credit for being thoughtful and intentional about how to develop a healthy culture around working hours/protected time, especially given that we're an international organization spread out across time zones. Of course it mattered that she's one of the co-founders and could lay out reasonable expectations--ie, she wasn't going to always be on call, and wouldn't expect anyone else to.

I think unquestionably certain roles are more demanding in hours, responsiveness, or both, but that should be made clear in job descriptions or interviews, and hopefully allow you to make an informed decision--eg, one former colleague was hired for a comms role explicitly described as involving "rapid response," so you can predict that would put you more on call than other roles at the same org.  

So basically, my sense is that:
a) roles in ops & events management will have more "fires to put out" than other roles in the same organization, but also 
b) ops will have more "fires" at some organizations than others, and
c) if someone at a high enough level cares, they can just lay out norms, and that will shape org culture. 

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