80000 Hours Career Planning I: The Beginning

Published in Career / Effective Altruism - 2 mins to read

Despite having referenced 80000 Hours on this blog in several previous posts, I must admit, I’ve never particularly gone down its rabbit hole - I’ve largely just skim read their some of their key points and then used it to feel good about myself, as well as to be self-righteous about in written form. Today I started making a serious effort to follow their career planning guide, which has largely involved a huge amount of reading, but its something I want to see through and I think could be hugely beneficial for me. I’m also going to hopefully write about as much of it here as possible, largely as a way of clarifying my thoughts and adding an element of accountability.

My first thoughts are largely that getting involved in some kind of effective altruism work seems like something I would be really interested in, but from the get-go I’m going to need to set some good boundaries; I can easily see it becoming a large part of one’s identity, always a concern of mine, and I know I am going to have to continue prioritising my mental health above all else. Secondly, the definition I have been using up until now in my head for “cultural capital” is no longer fit for my purposes, and needs updating. Thirdly, and perhaps most exciting; I have a lot of great potential career paths that might be able to contribute to meaningful social impact. My experience in software engineering so far opens up a lot of doors that might’ve been previously shut by dropping out of my undergratuate degree program. Perhaps even more excitingly, there are probably very short term options for my career that could increase both my career capital and my impact, and even selfish goals - ie I could go work at a climate tech startup and likely still get a pay rise.

In the next post on the subject I’ll try to outline my own personal priorities when looking for a job outside of whether or not its an impactful one, as well as talk a bit about some of the most pressing issues that I think might be worth working on and how much uncertainty I have when picking a problem.

See other posts in the 80000 Hours series