Predoctoral research fellow in economics @ GPI
405Joined Dec 2017


I want that doc to be shareable outside the EA community, but I appreciate people posting related links here!

This is a great post, thanks for writing this up! 

I agree with the main point, and 80,000 Hours' webpage does make it clear that their top career recommendations (and the specific jobs in these areas that are highly concentrated in a few organizations) are pretty competitive, and most people on the EA movement are not going to be able to get into one of those. When  planning my career, I factor in this possibility, but one problem I face is that I don't feel I know enough about these other possibilities, and so there is a lot of uncertainty when I think about what should I do outside of the top career paths and top organizations.

I don't think the solution to this problem is for 80,000 Hours to try to discuss other problem areas and mention other EA-aligned organizations in more detail, because that would take a lot of effort. One thing that could be helpful, though, is to emphasize more the process people should go through when planning their careers, with more guidance on how to tackle problem areas that haven't been explored in much detail, how to explore areas that an EA think might be relevant but hasn't been explored at all, how to find organizations to work for in the problem areas they are interested in, and what to do if you can't get a job at an organization you really want to work for in the long term. 

I believe it would also help to share the trajectories of people in the EA community who have done some innovative work, or people who managed to find jobs at EA-aligned organizations that the movement was previously unaware of, emphasizing how they approached the task. Facilitating networking between people in a certain problem area could also prove really helpful.

I'm not saying there isn't any content in these topics, just that in my experience writing up and improving my own career plan over a few years I found it much easier to find EA material on why should I take a certain career path than on how to do it  more concretely (besides working at top career paths and organizations), and that based on my experience  I believe emphasizing more these aspects could go a long way into helping people structure better career plans.

Agreed! I think our views on the issue are quite similar then :)

I wouldn't necessarily think investing in the marketing of EA orgs is a no-brainer. The comparative advantage of EA orgs is that they are effective, but overall they don't fare very well when it comes to emotional appeal. Investing more explicitly in emotionally appealing marketing could help them somewhat, but the biggest and more well funded traditional charities already optimize to a large extent in appealing to people, so I think it would be very hard for EA non-profits to compete in that front. Therefore, even with this kind of marketing, I doubt it would be able to make these orgs get significantly more funding from non-EAs.

What I think could be the main advantage of EA non-profits spending money on emotionally appealing marketing is that it could help people who are already interested in effectiveness to get more motivated for the cause. This includes both non-EAs who are interested in EA ideas, but it could also include people who are members of the movement, because this emotional connection could have a boosting effect on their motivation that volunteers of traditional charities usually already have. In turn, if what we are proposing in the post is successful, it could be the case that this gain in motivation by EAs and EA-aligned people would lead them be more eager to learn more about EA, donate more, and maybe even change their career plans to work on EA cause areas.