Sara Elsholz

302Joined Oct 2020


Sorted by New


Done, took less than 20 seconds - thanks for posting :) 

Thank you for writing this up and putting it out there (coming from a non-fancy background I can totally relate!). 

One of the best things for my mental health this year was realising and allowing myself to accept that I am not and never will be a top researcher/EA thinker/ the person with the most accurate AI timelines/.... 

However, I do have an ops background and can see that my work is valuable, and there is no need for me to be the smartest in the room, as long as I get stuff done. 

I'd guess there are small things everyone can contribute (even just being a friendly face at an event and talking to new people can be really valuable). 

Additionally, I wish we had some more socialiogical studies about the EA community (posts like this one by Julia Wise).

This is not a helpful comment: But I wish I had known there were EAs in Guatemala when I was there 2 years ago - thanks for the work you do!

Max Dalton (CEA) gave a talk about this at EAG London 2021 - help find your dream colleague, going through the pros and cons and giving some arguments for using some of your time for mentoring. 

"Social situations are also assessments"

This is something I was surprised by when I first got more involved. Thank you for writing it out so clearly - I think there are many people who would benefit from knowing about these EA social dynamics. 

And more general: Thank you for providing so much value to the community and offering to help in these tricky situations.

"If it would feel like a relief to have someone's permission to go, you have mine."

This resonates and feels important, thanks for including this, Julia! <3

Thanks for taking the time to write this, Joy! I like your clear and engaging writing style, and the length and structure of the post.

Things I've done in the past that fall under ops (and haven't been mentioned before) 

  • Working with all sorts of (external) people:
    • Volunteers and interns (writing job adverts, coming up with policies and performance reviews, coordination between people and projects)
    • Members: I worked in a small NGO with 300 members, so I'd be the person to send out updates, answer any questions and do all the admin stuff, plus organising events
  • Comms things
    • Newsletters and keeping the website up to date
    • CRM
  • small scale Data analysis

Things I'm now doing as an Executive Assistant:

  • Personal things such as booking doctors appointments, arranging travels and vaccines, phone contracts, sublets, passport renewals, expenses -- anything that saves the person I'm supporting some time
  • Comms: I'm drafting emails in somebody elses voice which is interesting and exciting
  • Scheduling and getting familiar with all the time zones
  • Project management
  • Just a lot of detail oriented, watch team backup, to make sure things don't drop and deadlines are in check

Some more random thoughts:

  • I feel like group organisers could make great ops people, because they often have to do a bit of everything. So if you've enjoyed being the person holding the group together and making things happen, it could be a good indicator that you'd like ops
  • Operations sometimes looks easy from the outside, and mostly people only notice you if/when things go wrong (because normally, you remove obstacles before they appear for others)

I can totally recommend the office with Thomas and Basti organising it. I come here once a week and I enjoy working there a lot. The rooms are spacious, we have spare monitors, the kitchen is big enough to have lunch together and it's great to bump into people working on EA things :) 

If you are ever in Berlin, feel free to come by.

Recently, I've started working as a full-time personal assistant in an EA org. I'd be really interested to hear any advice on how to reduce the amount of time scheduling takes up (currently 1 h of my day). Is there any advice for how to process scheduling requests, often over different time zones and with busy people? Calendly works for some situations, but is not really that helpful.