The specific alternatives will vary depending on the path in question and hard to predict things about the future. But if someone spends 5-10 years building career capital to get an operations job at an EA org, and then it turns out that field is extremely crowded with the vast majority of applicants unable to get such jobs, their alternatives may be limited to operations jobs at ineffective charities or random businesses, which may leave them much worse off (both personally and in terms of impact) than if they’d never encountered advice to go into operations (and had instead followed one of the more common career path for ambitious graduates, and been able to donate more as a result).
I’m also concerned about broader changes in how we think about priority paths over the coming 5-10 years. A few years ago, 80k strongly recommended going into management consulting, or trying to found a tech startup. Somebody who made multi-year plans and sacrifices based on that advice would find today that 80k now considers what they did to have been of little value.
It’s also important to remember that if in 10 years some 80,000 Hours-recommended career path, such as AI policy, is less neglected than it used to be, that is a good thing, and doesn’t undermine people having worked toward it—it’s less neglected in this case because more people worked toward it.
80,000 Hours has a responsibility to the people who put their trust in it when making their most important life decisions, to do everything it reasonably can to ensure that its advice does not make them worse off, even if betraying their trust would (considered narrowly/naively) lead to an increase in global utility. Comments like the above, as well as the negligence in posting warnings on outdated/unendorsed pages until months or years later, comments elsewhere in the thread worrying about screening off people who 80k’s advice could help while ignoring the importance of screening off those who it would hurt, and the lack of attention to backup plans, all give me the impression that 80k doesn’t really care about the outcomes of the individual people who trust it, and certainly doesn’t take its responsibility towards them as seriously as it should. Is this true? Do I need to warn people I care about to avoid relying on 80k for advice and read its pages only with caution and suspicion?
Hi lexande—thanks for taking the time to share your worries with us. We take our responsibility towards our users seriously.
I don’t think we’re likely to come to agreement right now on a lot of the other specific issues that have been raised.
That said, it’s helpful to know when our users strongly disagree with our priorities and we take that into account when we form our plans.