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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.