Shakeel Hashim

1946 karmaJoined Feb 2022


Head of Communications at the Centre for Effective Altruism. Previously: News Editor at The Economist; journalist and growth manager at Protocol; journalist at Finimize.


I agree with everything you said here, and would also add an analogy: in the for-profit world it is very common, and actively encouraged, for major investors to have board seats, because it ensures the investor has some level of control and visibility over how their money is used — which seems very reasonable to me.

I'm really glad you wrote this; I've been worried about the same thing. I'm particularly worried at how few people are working on it given the potential scale and urgency of the problem. It also seems like an area where the EA ecosystem has a strong comparative advantage — it deals with issues many in this field are familiar with, requires a blend of technical and philosophical skills, and is still too weird and nascent for the wider world to touch (for now). I'd be very excited to see more research and work done here, ideally quite soon.

This is a good idea! I think Longview and Effective Giving are already doing this to some extent, so it could be worth reaching out to them.

Answer by Shakeel HashimMar 27, 2023400

I’m really sorry you’re feeling this way!

I wanted to add my personal perspective. I joined CEA in September, after a career in journalism. One of the things I was most delighted by when I joined was just how good the work-life balance was — so, so much better than in any other job I’ve had. I didn’t feel any obligation to work evenings or weekends, and indeed was actively encouraged not to (my boss, Max, didn’t have Slack on his phone and left his work laptop at the office when he went home — which set a really good example for the rest of us). I also really liked the flexibility to build my work schedule around my preferences — I much prefer starting work a bit later and working later at night, or taking time off during the week and making up for it at the weekend, and I was able to do that here. I think those first couple months at CEA were the best and healthiest work time I’ve had.

Then… FTX collapsed, and everything got awful. My experience here was not representative of the average, but me and some others were working a horrific amount — there was a period of a couple weeks where I was doing ~18 hour days, 7 days a week. That wasn’t fun. My motivations here were a real mix — there was an endless mountain of stuff that needed doing, and I felt like I had to help do it both because it was my responsibility, because of my job, and also because I thought it was important for the world, because I care about EA. I did think about quitting back then, and I think people would have understood if I had; but I didn’t because I felt it was worth sticking around.

But as bad as that period was, I don’t think it’s at all representative of most people’s experience, or even my experience most of the time — in December/January/February things were a lot better, though I was still working a lot. I’m hoping that we get back to the September state though, and March has been promising so far. I just bring up the November period because it would feel disingenuous not to.

Even through the horrific crisis period, I’ve felt extremely supported by CEA. Caitlin, our head of people ops, actively encouraged me to drop down to four days a week for a while, which was a very good idea (my pay remained the same); she also pushed me to take a proper holiday as soon as I was able to (I’m taking next week off, and plan to be completely work-offline). When I’ve had similarly stressful periods in other, non-EA jobs, I received ~no support.

All of which is to say: in my experience, work-life balance has been very good at CEA, and even in the worst-imaginable periods, people have been looking out for me.

FWIW I actively like that the new comments are less prominent now — the previous design made me anxious; it felt like there was pressure to click everything to make the loud blue stuff go away. The new design feels like less of an attention-stealing design.

I'm really excited that this is happening. As far as I can tell, there's a dearth of effective, Zakat-compliant giving options; this is a huge step towards remedying that.

Hi Jeremiah. I was the hiring manager here and I think there's been something of a misunderstanding here: I don't think this is an accurate summary of why we made the decision we did. It feels weird to discuss this in public, but I consent to you publishing the full rejection email we sent, if you would like.

Max is a phenomenal leader, and I’m very sad to see him go. He’s one of the most caring and humble people I’ve ever worked with, and his management and support during a very difficult few months has been invaluable. He’s also just a genuine delight to be around.

It’s deeply unfair that this job has taken a toll on him, and I’m very glad that he’s chosen the right thing for him.

Max has taught me so much, and I’ll be forever grateful for that. And I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him as an advisor — I know he’ll continue to be a huge help.

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