ruthgrace

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Snapshot of a career choice 10 years ago

Yes, this!! I would be very interested in talking to more people who are preparing themselves (building career capital, for example) for a project that doesn't exist yet. If this is you (or has been you in the past), please send me a message! There's a lot more uncertainty in a path like this, but I think more people doing it really raises the bar for what can be possible for EA to accomplish.

Snapshot of a career choice 10 years ago

More people should write posts like these!! Do you think it would be helpful for people to write posts at the beginning of the 10 years? Like how they are thinking about their decisions, with the intent of revisiting in 10 years? That might be an easier way to get material if you don't mind waiting 10 years, haha

Part 1: EA tech work is inefficiently allocated & bad for technical career capital

As someone who does software and is interning at an established non profit in San Francisco (just doing research, not software engineering), I agree with your points, and I want to get a little bit deeper into the reasons why.

First, I think a lot of the really impactful technical is like, somebody's working on a report and they need to make a pie chart, and they're not that good with Google sheets. And the technical volunteer is really good at Google sheets and can finish the task in 10 minutes. But to get to the point where the technical volunteer was connected to this task, they've had to attend months of weekly meetings where there weren't any technical tasks available. And that time is good time spent understanding the context of the work that the organization does, but won't feel worth it if the technical volunteer's goal for their involvement is to make technical contributions.

Also, I think it's really difficult for non-technical people generally to describe the problem they want a technical person to solve, in a way that makes sense. Like, it's not going to be the way it is at your typical tech job where your manager gives you the specs of the project and you just make it happen the way they asked. People are going to ask you for stuff that isn't possible or is scoped differently from what they need, and to prevent making something that they aren't actually going to be able to use, it's likely that you will spend more time talking to people to learn about their work and how you can best help them than actually coding. And that skill of figuring out how to best help somebody by talking to them is a skill that I think most software engineers don't actually have, unless they are also entrepreneurs who do that kind of thing regularly.

My recommendation for people who are good at computer stuff generally (doesn't have to be as deep as software engineering, but if you are handy with WordPress, and Google sheets, you can be really useful already) who want to help out is to make an effort to be part of the community that is working on a problem that you care about. That way, you will get the context of what exactly people are trying to do, and understand the nature of the work, and when it becomes clear that a technical solution would be really helpful, people trust you to do it in a way that will be helpful, and there's no friction with trying to onboard you because you are already there.

Why do EAs have children?

Also, they grow up eventually, so I'll still have lots of time in my life to do other stuff. I have coworkers I look up for being really effective people in their industry, whose kids are fishing high school

Why do EAs have children?

I think that if kids would bring you joy, you can fit them into your life plan, and your kids are unlikely to grow up to be evil, it's worth having lots!! There's a lot of big problems in the world and not enough time for our generation to solve 'em. I think I want to have 4, and I'm 3 months from being halfway there :)

Parenting: Things I wish I could tell my past self

It's nice to know it's not just me! I'll keep experimenting to see if I can improve things...

Parenting: Things I wish I could tell my past self

I have a 17 month old! Something that really helps me have the right mindset is to think about what the point of having a baby is for me, and that's to enjoy the baby. Not to try to force him to be whatever way or optimize for anything.

Other parents, I have a question for you... Are you having issues with sleep? I find that since I had my son, I've been getting sleep deprivation related insomnia, which really kills my productivity/mood/etc for a couple days each month. Anyone had this issue and found a way to fix it?

Consider a wider range of jobs, paths and problems if you want to improve the long-term future

Hey, if anyone is interested or already immersed in engineering physical goods or supply chain/logistics as their skillset, I want to be your buddy. DM me!

The EA movement is neglecting physical goods

Hello!! I think I've seen you speak at local hardware events before. So cool to see you in a different context :)

The EA movement is neglecting physical goods

To take a step back, I believe that 'effective altruism' lower case is something much bigger than people with money earning to give to existing charities, and people good at math calculating which charities to give to. Though I imagine both of those activities will remain crucial to the movement.

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