rsturrock

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AMA: Elizabeth Edwards-Appell, former State Representative

Two questions (if that's okay!):

  1. What have you been up to since leaving office? 
  2. What areas of policy (local or otherwise) do you think are most ammenable to  impactful change?
Non-itemizing US taxpayers can deduct $300 of their 2020 donations

Couldn't see whether it is also just $300 for people filing jointly (or if you can claim $300 per person). Anyone know?

A Qualitative Analysis of Value Drift in EA

This was a really interesting read. I had some thoughts reading this bit: "surrounding oneself with people who are trying to do good in some way or another could help avoid value drift."

Specifically it strikes me that there may be a trade-off between preventing value-drift and spreading EA. Hanging out in groups without EA people, and having friends in those groups, is a great way to spread EA values (much in the same way I see families where one person becomes vegetarian / vegan quickly end up with more vegetarians / vegans). So I think it's important to be careful about insulating EAs too much lest EA ideas spread less quickly. That said, spending time with others trying to good in some way (not necessarily EA) is probably optimal for balancing these two concerns.

Careers Questions Open Thread

Overview:

I'm currently an early career, high income earner (tech company, non-engineering role) with a lot of interest in EA / long-termism and policy in general (my first job was in financial stability policy at a central bank). Currently my involvement in EA has been just through earning to give / evangelism to others within the companies I've worked for. 

I'm trying to figure out next steps in my career, and in particular looking for ways to try out career avenues that do good more directly (through volunteering or - if I were to make a bigger leap - something like the RSP at FHI). 

Relevant background info: Masters (with Distinction) in Economics from Oxford. General skillset: data analysis, policy, statistics, finance. Canadian citizenship, currently working in the US. Generally a people person / good at working in teams. Pretty frugal (saved ~70% of after-tax income before charitable giving despite HCL city rent) and interested in financial independence. 

Other factors: General desire to move closer to  family in the next 5 years (Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria area). Likely having kids in the next couple of years. 

Possible career options: 

  • Remain in tech / earning to give: enables donations of ~$250k - $1M over  10 years (spouses' income is very spiky, my income growth uncertain)
    • Pros: I like my colleagues, work is fairly interesting, provides a good environment / stability for starting a family, highest potential for earning to give. 
    • Cons: Work feels a bit meaningless and disconnected from my values. Likely a bit far from my family. 
  • Move home / into provincial policy: 
    • Pros: Likely more personally fulfilling, some opportunity for direct impact, good environment / stability, near family.
    • Cons: Lower ability to earn to give. Likely lower  impact vs policy jobs in US or Canadian federal  government. 
  • Direct work in EA organization / Research scholars program at FHI:
    • Pros: Work most closely aligned with my values / opportunity to explore how I could directly have a high impact. Work more closely aligned to other career avenues I like (policy work). 
    • Cons: Lower earning to give potential, likely to be further from family / support. In the case of RSP highly uncertain whether I could get in (though this is obviously not a reason not to apply). 

As I mentioned above I’m interested both in ideas for what career I could pursue, but also ways to figure out whether / what EA route might make sense (though volunteering, projects, etc). 

Paths I think I may be best suited to: EA community building, research about why people give / how to increase what people give, operations in an EA organization. 

Ideas welcome!

Careers Questions Open Thread

Edit: Found the right link for ladder of cheap tests lower  down!

Careers Questions Open Thread

A few things I'd think about  re: MBAs from my own observations (friends who've done them etc):

  1. How high are your earnings currently relative to market / what MBAs are getting? You're more experienced  than I'd say most  of the people I know who got MBAs are - will you be able to find a job that increases your earnings a lot (eg. if you are already in strategy consulting this seems unlikely)
  2. What personal sacrifices will you make in a new higher earning job (ie if you switch  to IB or consulting will you be okay with the hours / be able to earn the higher salary for long enough to justify your investment)?

My take on this is an MBA is a ~200k direct investment. Plus you are potentially missing out  on opportunities in your current job to progress (ie will you miss out  on a promotion opportunity?). I'd say you'd probably want to expect ~350k extra earnings out of the MBA to justify opportunity cost + time cost of  money. From your post it sounds like this MBA will help you in role though - so that might be an overestimate. 

Additionally if you haven't read about  Financial Independance  (FIRE) that might be a good thing  for you to look into as  it would: 1) help you meet your goal of providing financially for your family sooner 2) potentially increase your ability to give for a fixed amount of income. 

What FHI’s Research Scholars Programme is like: views from scholars

Could you describe some of the more policy engagement style / community building projects people have taken on? Would be interested in what people have pursued as that's closer to my area of interest vs more academic.