Thanks Sam! I don't have much more to say about this right now since on a couple things we just have different impressions, but I did talk to someone at 80k last night about this. They basically said: some people need the advice Tyler gave, some people need the advice Sam gave. The best general advice is probably "apply broadly": apply to some EA jobs, to some high-impact jobs outside of EA, to some upskilling jobs, etc. And then pick the highest EV job you were accepted to (where EV is comprehensive and includes things like improvements to your future career from credentialing and upskilling).
Hi readers! I work as a Programme Officer at a longtermist organisation. (These views are my own and don't represent my employer!) I think there's some valuable advice in this post, especially about not being constrained too much by what you majored in. But after running several hiring rounds, I would frame my advice a bit differently. Working at a grantmaking organisation did change my views on the value of my time. But I also learned a bunch of other things, like:
Because of this, typically when I talk to junior EAs my advice is not to apply to lots more EA jobs but rather to find ways of skilling up — especially by working at a non-EA organisation that has excellent managers and invests in training its staff — so that one can build key skills that make one indispensable to EA organisations.
Here's a probably overly strong way of stating my view that might bring the point home: try to never apply to EA jobs, and instead get so good at something that EA orgs will headhunt you and fight over you.
I know that there are lots of nice things about working at EA organisations (culture, community, tangible feelings of impact) but if you really value work at EA organisations, then you should value highly skilled work at EA organisations even more (I think a lot more!). Having more junior EAs find ways to train up their skills and spend less time looking for EA work is the only way I can see to convert top of funnel community growth into healthy middle of funnel community growth.
I'm not sure if this fits your concept, but it might be helpful to have a guidebook that caters specifically to new EAs, to help give guidance to people excited about the ideas but unsure how to put them into practice in daily life, in order to convert top of funnel growth into healthy middle of funnel growth. This could maybe couple with a more general audience book that appeals to people who are antecedently interested in the ideas.
A couple things I'd like to see in this are the reasoning transparency stuff, guidance on going out and getting skills outside of the EA community to bring into the community, anti-burnout stuff, and various cultural elements that will help community health and epistemics.
I think it could make sense in various instances to form a trade agreement between people earning and people doing direct work, where the latter group has additional control over how resources are spent.
It could also make sense to act like that trade agreement which was not in fact made was in fact made, if that incentivises people to do useful direct work.
But if this trade has never in fact transpired, explicitly or tacitly, I see no sense in which these resources "are meaningfully owned by the people who have forsaken direct control over that money in order to pursue our object-level priorities."
Also, the (normative, rather than instrumental) arguments for democratisation in political theory are very often based on the idea that states coerce or subjugate their members, and so the only way to justify (or eliminate) this coercion is through something like consent or agreement. Here we find ourselves in quite a radically different situation.
Much as I am sympathetic to many of the points in this post, I don't understand the purpose of the section, "Can you demand ten billion dollars?". As I understand the proposal to democratise EA it's just that: a proposal about what, morally, EA ought to do. It certainly doesn't follow that any particular person or group should try to enforce that norm. So pointing out that it would be a bad idea to try to use force to establish this is not a meaningful criticism of the proposal.
Noting that I think that making substantive public comments on this draft (including positive comments about what it gets right) is one of the very best volunteer opportunities for EAs right now! I plan to send a comment on the draft before the deadline of 6 June.