Kaleem

Project Manager for Boston and NYC Properties @ EV
Working (0-5 years experience)
1013Agassiz, Cambridge, MA, USAJoined Aug 2020

Bio

Participation
8

Kaleem Ahmid. Entrepreneur in Residence, and Project Manager for Boston and NY Properties at EV.

Previously a Community Builder in Boston (EAIF grant). Previously a Visiting Scholar at JHU Center for Health Security. EAGxBoston 2022 organiser.

Sequences
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Things people have said to me about EA

Comments
70

Thanks for doing this - I'm excited to read it!

I think you should link to the amazon page to increase followthrough

I think it'd be better to turn this into a form?

Downvoted because I think this is clickbait and doesn't seem like it'd be valuable for anyone to read it, or that it is the type of content I'd want to see on the forum.

Hi Vaipan, thanks for writing this. As someone who's applied for (many) dozens of EA and non-EA jobs over the past 2 years, I can identify and empathise with your story here.

From my experience, I think EA orgs do use 'work tests' way more often than non-EA orgs (I very rarely had to do a work test for non-EA job hiring, only interviews). There are obviously pros and cons to using work tests, and in my short time at a couple of different EA orgs, I've been part of pretty frequent discussion about how/when/why we should use work tests in hiring rounds (to their credit, I think).

The main thing that I'm surprised by in your post is the high frequency that you report to have done unpaid work tests. In recent times I've been really happy to see most EA orgs offering compensation for work tests, and I think the vast majority of work tests that I did were compensated. 

"but it feels that organizations use my work without them having the intention to hire me. " 

^This quote is pretty concerning .In general, I don't think I've seen anyone use the product of work tests for anything other than assessing them for hiring purposes.  Are you saying that orgs have used the product of your work tests for other purposes? In that case, it does seem especially bad for that work test to have been uncompensated, and I'd assume (and hope) that most other EA's would agree with me. 

I find this appealing but then I realised that most EAG attendees are US and UK based, so it'd result in "attendees" as a group spending more money on traveling to the conference. But maybe this expense would still be outweighed by the savings.

I'm working with some EAs who're working on starting an org to work on furthering EA-aligned public-health policy in the MINA region. They're trying to make contacts with people who've done similar work (in other parts of the world). Please message me if you are/know someone who I can connect them with

Hi James, 

Thanks for writing this - its difficult/intimidating to write and post things of this nature on here, and its also really important and valuable. So thanks for sharing your experience. 

Please don't read this response as being critical/dismissive of your experiences - I have no doubt that these dynamics do exist, and that these types of interaction do  happen (too frequently), in EA spaces. It makes me unhappy to know that well-intentioned people who want to make a different in the world are turned off by interacting with some people in the EA community, or attending some EA events. 

I do want to say though, for fairness sake, that as a member of an ethnic, religious, and geographical minority in the EA community, I feel valued and respected, and that I don't think the attitudes or opinions of the people you're reporting in your post are that common in the greater community, and that (the vast majority of the EAs I know) would be upset to hear another EA behave the way you're reporting they did. 

^This preempts what is the overall theme of the ideas I had when reading your post: that we make a mistake of thinking about the EA community, and EA events, as monolithic or homogenous (in some ways - it is obviously homogenous in many ways). These aren't directed at you, but they're relevant here. 
 

 1. Specifically about EA events: 

People attend EA events (especially EAG(x)s  for many different reasons.  Some people go to expand their network in a specific way/in a specific domain. Others go to further their work or certain objectives and are singularly focused on doing so. Others attend because they value the social and communal spirit of being in a big gathering of altruistically motivated people. However, in my opinion, we should not lose track of the fact that these events exist to improve/enhance attendees positive impact on the world, and to improve the wellbeing of the beings we serve - those suffering in the developing world, animals in factory farms and elsewhere, and the disenfranchised yet to be. We shouldn't be viewing conferences primarily  as places for the EA community to congratulate and celebrate ourselves and have a jolly good time. Given how limited/scarce time is at these events, I do think its reasonable for people to be mindful of the way that they use their time, and be open in communicating when they think an interaction isn't producing value (to other people, not just the participants of the interaction). But the way that they do that can vary in appropriateness and It's hard to see a reason that someone does this in a way that insults the other person when a non-insulting alternative could have easily been deployed. 
 


2. Generally about the EA community: 

There are people from overlapping communities, sub-groups, and differently-motivated backgrounds in the EA community - yet alone people with differing moral schools of thought, cause-area interest, and needs of the EA community. Not to try and caricature you or try and psychologically analyse you, but the types of complaints in your post point to the types of deficiencies which would be most noticed by someone who would highly value the social and communal nature of the EA community, which many people do. However it's easy to forget that not everyone cares about the community - many people who are in the EA community care about the community and its network for purely instrumental reasons (in that its only valuable because it helps them achieve their goals). I'm sorry that the community interactions you had were so negative and not what you'd want them to be like. However, there are lots of other places where 'nice' people abound that you could be part of at the same time as being part of the EA community. One thing I worry about is EAs trying to use the EA community/ecosystem to fulfil every possible social function/need, because its clearly not set up to do that. Please don't abandon EA values or goals  just because of these interactions - being an EA is about how you  live  your life and how you behave and treat others. 

(again, I really do mean this all in the most understanding and sympathetic way - I hope it comes across, but I apologise if it doesn't). 

Thank you for writing this - it articulates so many things that I have also been feeling and thinking over the past few days, in a way that I wouldn't have been able to. I hope I'm not mistaken in sensing that you hold some optimism and hope even during this tumultuous time - if so, you're not alone. I think that fellow EAs who resonate with these sentiments will emerge at the end of this storm with the same convictions and moral beliefs that lead us here, and that things will be ok.

We're thinking of naming an office "Focal Point" - let me know what you think ! 

fwiw, this is super important to me too (I wear whatever I want, which is hardly ever remotely "professional") and I've never felt out of place or judged when at a Boston EA, Harvard EA, or EA NYC event

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