I'm a junior at The University of Chicago, majoring in Public Policy. Highly uncertain about how to integrate EA with my career path but trying hard, hopefully through some intersection of policy + narrative change + movement-building.


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Being Vocal About What Works

I like this framing a lot - not seeing EA (or any kind of moral imperative) as a sacrifice but something that can be additive/fulfilling is crucial, I think.

However, I want to add a cautionary note against only focusing on the positives of spreading/joining the EA community. I don't think you intended to suggest that at all, but in my experience EA can exacerbate perfectionist tendencies in a way that is deleterious to mental health, and being aware of that might be important in ensuring that spreading EA leads to fulfillment. I think this can be mitigated by emphasizing the social aspect and encouraging people to view EA as a community instead of purely a framework/standard. Fortunately your point lends itself well to this, since spreading word of EA to one's friends is inherently social!

Be Specific About Your Career

As somebody currently struggling to plan out my career path - 100%. Networking calls have been immensely helpful not for clarifying my cause priorities but rather, for gaining an understanding of the concrete skills + responsibilities that a role might involve.

Also, once you narrow down the specifics, uncertainty becomes much more manageable: if the role involves a lot of event planning, do you like event planning? If you don't know, then maybe you should identify a way to briefly trial that! Practical experience and reflection upon past experiences specifically  framed through a professional lens (which networking has also been helpful for) seem a little neglected amongst early career planners given their utility.

Finally, I love the note to link potential paths to impact. This is a good way of reconciling abstract cause prioritization with personal fit: do you see yourself burning out? How can you work towards the issue area given your unique position, even if that work doesn't seem to be a popular recommendation? I think EAs who are newer but very enthusiastic are prone to overly discount experimenting outside of the most well-known career paths.

Possible gaps in the EA community

Definitely agree with this, as someone currently at UChicago! The Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change (RISC) recently put out a call for animal welfare proposals and Steve Levitt has connections to Schmidt Futures (an EA-adjacent philanthropic initiative), so that could be a promising place to start.

My Career Decision-Making Process

Thank you for this - very well-organized, clear, & relatable as someone struggling to figure out their first foray into the professional world.

Definitely agree that having more posts like this would be helpful considering the selectivity + relatively low supply of formal EA mentorship programs.

EA Birthday Posts: An Alternative to Fundraisers

Haven't thought about this enough to leave a helpful note but funnily enough, my birthday is this week & I will definitely be imitating you! What a great idea; I really need to start using social media more as a platform for EA.