All of TimothyTelleenLawton's Comments + Replies

When Planning Your Career, Start Early

Since college I've updated away from the importance of planning out my career, and toward the importance of finding a thing that deeply excites me.

In particular, I've noticed that when I have jobs that seem good on paper (e.g. from an EA perspective) but I'm not excited about the day-to-day work of them, I tend to underperform. On the other hand, when I find something that really nerdsnipes me, not only do I tend to use it to do my job better, but I also tend to find an even better job next (with bigger EA impact, even if that application w... (read more)

7Max_Daniel1yThanks for sharing your perspective. FWIW, it somewhat resonates with me, even though I said [] I think I'd have benefitted from hearing about the orthodox EA perspective on career planning much earlier. I think the two things are consistent roughly because in my specific case I think most of the benefits would have come from "becoming more agenty" in a quite generic sense as well as correcting some misconceptions I used to have (e.g. roughly "only people who care about getting rich or success by conventional standards think about their 'careers', I just want to do maths").
5Khorton1yYou don't have to know what you're going to do in 40 years, but it's a very good idea to try different internships or summer jobs and make a plan for what kinds of jobs you'll apply for after uni and how to be a competitive applicant.
7MarisaJurczyk1yStrongly agree with your points, although I also don't think they're mutually exclusive to the content of this post. I think some of the most value I got out of university (and high school, to be honest) was the ability to try out a bunch of things at once with relative ease. I have a lot of interests that change and come and go rather quickly, and in the university setting, it was strangely easy to get involved in whatever new thing that caught my attention, whether via a course, a club, meetings with a professor, an internship, a volunteer opportunity, etc. (Though I attended a small liberal arts college, which might have made this process easier.) I learned a lot about what I like, what I don't like, what I'm good at and what I suck at a lot more quickly than I think I could outside of university, and I think a lot of this became valuable data for deciding on a career, in addition to opening doors to opportunities. I think a common mistake I see in university students is thinking "I just want to focus on school" for their first three years, trying to secure an internship during the summer of their junior year, and then hoping that's sufficient to get them a job. I don't think this is a great idea. At the same time, I think narrowly focusing on identifying and pursuing a high-income, stable career path (or whatever one's ideal career plan looks like) carries a lot of risk of burnout, poor performance, and misery if you're unlucky enough to get it wrong. I think I see more students err in the former direction that the latter though, although I imagine EA students probably have a higher tendency to over-optimize their career path. I guess I somewhat lucked out in that a) my courseload was light enough that it allowed me to get very involved outside of class, and b) a lot of the things I was excited about were also employable skills. I guess if this isn't the case for someone, the "seek joy" and "plan your career" might come more into conflict, but that wasn't my
8Eli_Nathan1yThanks Timothy! I think this is broadly fair, and perhaps a reframing of “think more actively about your interests” would be better than just “think more actively about your career” for many readers. That said, I think for a lot of people, what they’re immediately excited about doesn’t line up well with what might be good for their career, especially if they’re trying to do good. I worry that “keep noticing what excites you and find ways to do more of that” would lead some people down career paths with little impact, whilst also making it hard to transition to high impact roles in the future. I also suspect that many people’s passions are more flexible than they might expect [], and that without careful planning, they may narrow down their options unnecessarily.
Donor Lottery Debrief

I am quite curious to understand the funding situation among 'EA startup projects' better. Perhaps the survey Jade Leung recently conducted as part of her incubator project will help shed light on this.

My questions/confusions include:

  • How many EA projects that 'should' get funding don't—and for that reason don't happen? (ie What's the 'false negative' rate for our community answering the question, "Should X startup project be funded?")
  • What are the biggest costs of funding too many such projects?
... (read more)
US Non-Profit? Get Free* Money From the Gov on 3 Apr!

CFAR's local bank sent out the following email to its clients a few minutes ago. I thought some of you might find it useful to know, especially the part where they claim no one will be getting these loans before next week.

Clients of Community Bank of the Bay,
The SBA issued its Interim Final Report on the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) on Thursday evening at about 6:00 est.  Since then, we and other SBA Preferred Lenders have been reviewing the guidance, and have gotten clarity on some issues and found that others still remain u
... (read more)
2Peter Wildeford2yWe're now in contact with Chase (our bank) about applying. Unsure about the timeline.
Donor lottery details


  • I've posted the audio from my last interview with The Chapter here.
  • I received this update from The Chapter January 10th:
  • we are in the process of signing an agreement with [an organization that has agreed to transfer the funds], should be finished in about a week / then they can accept the transfer (attached)
  • they have a bit nonsense fee structure, so they want 8% of transfers under 25k USD, and 5% over 25k. I asked for a discount, but they decided against it: so it would be actually cheaper if you send us 25 thousand USD, pay 1250 fee and we s
... (read more)
Donor lottery details

They are not planning to hire the outgoing director as that person has already started a new job in a different city.

Announcing the 2017 donor lottery

I've posted an update about my donation plans in the comments of the post that Carl linked above.

Donor lottery details

I’d like to give a quick update on my plans for the 2016 Donation Lottery winnings.

Of the $45,650, I’ve decided to give $21,000 to the Czech Association for Effective Altruism so they can hire one full time staff (or equivalent) for one year to manage the organization. I have not yet transferred that money, nor decided how to allocate the other $24,650.

I decided to support the Czech Association for Effective Altruism because I am impressed with their ability to execute difficult projects, I believe their projects have the potential to make a large positive... (read more)

3TimothyTelleenLawton4yUpdate * I've posted the audio from my last interview with The Chapter here [] . * I received this update from The Chapter January 10th:
4EricHerboso4yI'd be interested in learning your general thought process, though probably you should only answer these after you've allocated the entire lottery amount, and only if you feel that it makes sense to answer publicly. 1. How much time would you say that you invested in determining where to give? 2. How many advisors did you turn to in order to help think through these decisions? In retrospect, do you think that you took advice from too many different people, not enough, or just the right amount? 3. Was The Chapter among the first potential causes you thought of? 4. How many different organizations did you seriously consider? Of these, how many reached the stage where you interviewed them? The Chapter sounds like an excellent giving opportunity for a gift of this size, since it's directly paying for a position that they would need to maintain their current level of effectiveness. I'm glad to know that my portion of the donor lottery funds are being used in such a positive manner.
0Milan_Griffes4yThanks for the update! Do you know if the chapter is planning to hire back the outgoing director, or hire a different replacement director?
1XioKikauka7yI do!
Christmas 2014 Open Thread (Open Thread 7)

Hello, I'd like to post an article but I need 10 karma to do so and I haven't been posting comments so I don't have any. If you don't mind up-voting this comment to allow me to do that, please do!

If it helps, the post I've drafted is about some of the altruistic eating arguments I've seen:

I use one neoclassical economic and one intuitive appeal to argue that they could all be simpler and more accu... (read more)

2TimothyTelleenLawton7yI didn't end up getting enough karma so I posted it in LW: []
0RyanCarey7yHey Timothy. I can add admin priveleges. Feel free to use Facebook to send me a draft.