You should write about your job

If you have a job, you are one of the world’s foremost experts on your job — at least within the EA community, which is not large.

Jobs are a useful thing to know about. We spend more time on them than anything else, and most of our impact comes from jobs + their outcomes (e.g. salary).

Thus, I think people should write more posts that talk about:

  • How they got their jobs

  • What they learned in the process of getting hired

  • What it’s like to work at their job, day-to-day

If you have a job, there’s a chance that writing about it is one of the best ways you could contribute to the Forum. And you can do it without reading anything, or having any opinions whatsoever!

Jobs are mysterious...

The job market, both inside and outside of EA, feels weird and mysterious and intimidating to a lot of people:

  • Almost everyone gets rejected from most jobs they apply for.

  • Almost no jobs provide feedback to applicants.

  • Almost all job applications go toward the small fraction of jobs with the most applicants, which creates the impression that the average job is more competitive than it actually is (see many comments on this post).

  • Almost all jobs are more about “content” than “topic”: your experience with them depends on what you actually do with your time, rather than what the job is “about”.

...but they don’t have to be

  • Almost everyone has a job — and within the EA community, many people have jobs with some kind of relevant upside (good money, skills training, networking, etc.)

  • Even if few people get their first-choice job, they tend to end up doing something that others in EA might also want to do, whether as a first choice or a backup option.

  • People who get a job know a lot about the application process for that job, and what that job entails — more than anyone else who hasn’t had exactly that job.

“Job posts” can help

  • Just reading about how something happens, in detail, can make it seem less mysterious and intimidating — like the hiring process for a given job

  • It’s also good to hear about the journey involved in finding a job, and the ways in which it isn’t always smooth or flawless (even people who get jobs typically get lots of rejections, too)

  • If someone wants to do the same kind of job you do, writing a job post helps them in multiple ways; they can read it, and they can ask you questions!

  • Your job doesn’t have to be with an EA-aligned organization. This kind of resource is hard to find even in bigger fields, and many existing examples have problems (written by someone who wants to sell you something, written by people who won’t respond to questions, ten years out of date, etc.)

    • Jobs outside EA that will be relevant to many Forum readers might include:

      • PhD student

      • Programmer (though this might be the job with the best existing “literature”)

      • Academic researcher

      • Journalist

      • Biologist

      • Anything in public policy or government

      • If you’re not sure whether people want to know about your job, leave a comment here to find out

What a job post might look like

Here’s my suggestion for a minimum viable job post.

It’s fine to start minimal, because people who want to know more can leave a comment! Or message you with a question!

  1. Background: What were some past jobs or other experiences that helped you prepare for getting your current job? Which ones would you especially recommend?

    1. Bonus: What other, irrelevant stuff did you “waste time” on? This helps readers (a) avoid doing irrelevant things, and (b) understand that it’s possible to get a job even without a perfect, focused resume.

  2. Application process: What was it like to apply to your job? Were there parts of the process you wish you’d prepared for differently?

    1. Bonus: What other jobs did you apply for? Which ones rejected you? How far did you get, and how much time did that take? This helps readers feel less intimidated about the job market (by making it clear that everyone gets rejected, even people who found cool jobs later)

    2. Bonus: What did your resume look like at the time?

  3. What the job is like: What are you actually doing on a day-to-day basis? What skills have you been building?

In total, the MVP version could be ~3 paragraphs and/​or bullet lists.

Sample job posts