I work as Software Tester and donate a part of my income.
I got into EA in 2012.
Isn’t that a good thing? I hope it stays like this. Then the forum stays interesting for people who are specialized in certain fields or cause areas.
Participating in the Forum is seen as a pretty important “badge” of belonging in EA,
Why do you believe this is true? I’ve met—online and offline—many higly involved people who never post or comment on the forum. Maybe that’s even the majority of the EA people I know. Some of them even never or seldom read anything here (I guess).
Maybe edit your original comment? I think it’s information that is worth explaining more clearly.
I can totally relate to the feeling of wanting to do more than “just donate”. I strongly agree with Henry (and others) that donating is an accessible way to have an impact, small donations from individuals are valuable. But “just donate” may not be enough for people with a strong altruistic motivation.It can be for someone that donating is not only a way to have some impact, but actually the way to have the most impact with their career, given their limited talent. I don’t know if that is the case for you, nor for the person who is reading along here, but it might apply to some people. I do believe that it applies to me, and I have been working in normal jobs for 8 years and donating a significant part of my income.In my experience, being altruistically motivated and “just donate” is a challenging combination. My monkey brain wants connection to the community, and to the organization and the cause I am donating to. If I were less motivated, I would just be satisfied throwing 10 percent of my income at whatever charity GiveWell recommends . If I were less “dumb” had a different set of talents, I would do fulltime direct work. I experience a lot of excitement and commitment for EA causes, but I need to hold myself back, because my priority is be to optimize my income and keep my living budget modest. What helped me deal with it, is to remind myself that it is just bad luck that I need to live with both high motivation and unfitting abilities—and that doing something is much much better than doing nothing (see also this comment above).
Strong upvote because this question is action relevant.Maybe Alexander Berger’s thoughts are helpful?
See also Benjamin Todd’s post: Let’s stop saying ‘funding overhang’ - EA Forum (effectivealtruism.org)
Ozy wrote a great post about the being a more and less dedicated EAs.
Take care! I can say the comic resonates very well with my experience :) of the EA-break I took in 2018. Take the time you need and remember it’s ok to not return to EA if that’s best.
Nice! I’m wondering what others people’s answers are. Mine is a little bit different and doesn’t have much to do with indvidual productivity, but how to coordinate with others. It applies more to people working in tightly interconnected teams. (And I do not master this skill myself).
minimize waiting for other people
If I don’t move forward with (especially bigger) things at work it is often because I need to wait for someone else.Avoid being dependent on others as much as you can. Come up with workarounds. Ask your access and permissions as early as possible.But when you inevitably do need something from someone, don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t don’t don’t procrastinate it. Be clear in what you ask them and why. When you finally got the a time slot with a busy person, be well-prepared so that you can ask and discuss everything in one session. Respect your colleague’s time and priorities—they might be juggling many balls and yours is only one of them.
Be reliable yourself and avoid that others need to wait for you—treat others the way you want to be treated. If it’s many times the same person that you need to wait for, discuss it with your manager, the person themselves, or the team (whatever is most appropriate in your situation).
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re unproductive because your most important task is on hold. If you need to wait for a short time, take a break instead or do something simple, rather than switching to another complex task.
Today I woudn’t have gotten anything done if I didn’t find out a way to insert my test data into the database myself rather than wait 2 days for my colleague before they have time to prepare me an interface.(Crossposted from local group slack where someone else shared a link to this article)Edited for more context.
Calling them “truths” goes too far for me.I have beliefs that very few people agree with me on, but I would not call them “truths”. Some of them are not beliefs about objective facts, and even those that are about facts, I am less than 99.9 percent sure that they are true.
Another case where you lose >20% with 20% less hours: earning to give as normal employee (not as entrepreneur).Salary is ~ linear with the hours worked. You can only donate the part of the salary above a certain baseline because you need the rest for your living costs*. Let’s say you can donate 40% of your salary if you work 40h/week. If you work 32h/week, can only donate 20% of a full-time salary. That’s 50% less impact for 20% less hours.Caveat 1: You can also donate a fixed percentage, then it doesn’t work like this.Caveat 2: I’m neglecting non-donation impact here.
Question to the author (or someone else who made a similar transition): how much more/less motivated are you for your “EA work” versus your old “non-EA work” on a day to day basis?
Is that only true for people who have a very good track reckord or are very talented or skilled?
Strong upvoted because of the clear distinction between productivity/business expenses and spending money for fun/personal consumption.
Not sure if this is in any way a valid perspective of looking at it:I wonder how the big spending looks in the perspective of a small donor. Say, a person with a median income within a rich country who gives a 1-10 percent of their salary away.I used to “earn-to-give” with a after-tax salary of 11 euros/hour. That’s a lot compared to the global average! This was enough to donate >10 percent. But my past self’s hour worked could fund maybe a few minutes (?) of a researcher (I don’t know what EA researchers earn) - and it might have been worth it. It makes me think of this comment. Again, not sure if it’s a valid point.
I agree we should be careful with the “spend money to save time” guideline. It can be self-serving because spending time to save money can be unpleasant. Also, there is the danger that you get used to the luxury of spending money to save time. If your situation changes, or need to update your estimate of the value of your time to a lower value, you should be willing to spend the time and not the money! (I hope this does not happen to you, but it may happen e.g. you need to move to your career plan B/C/Z)This also applies to other luxuries.
If you look for someone with ‘distiller’ skills, maybe look for people with experience as “technical writer” in industry, especially those that have worked on complicated and technical software products.
Maybe of interest for readers who dropped out recently or consider dropping out: I struggled at university back in 2011, considered to drop out, but didn’t. Instead, I decided to continue and completed my master’s degree (European university) - in a field that I had a bad personal fit for. This was a mistake.Now I’m >10 years older and in a career that is unrelated to my degree. The reasons for “pushing trough” that my past self had were similar to the ones mentioned in the post, and they sound like bullshit to me now. It would have been better if I allowed myself time to explore my personal fit.
I don’t know much but I found this discussion a good starting point: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/qkhoBJRNQT4EFWos7/are-there-effective-ways-to-help-ukrainians-right-now
I temporarily left the EA community in 2018 and that ended up well.I took a time-out from EA to focus on a job search. I had a job that I wanted to leave, but needed a lot of time and energy to handle all the difficulties that come with a job search. My career path is outside of EA organizations.How I did it practically:- I had a clear starting point and wrap up existing commitments. I stopped and handed over my involvement in local community building and told my peers about the time-out. I donated my entire year’s donation budget in February.- I set myself some rules for what I would and would not do. No events, no volunteering, no interaction with the community. I deleted social media accounts that I only used for EA. I blocked a few websites, most notably 80000hours.org. I would have donated if my time-out took longer, but without any research.- I did not set an end point. The time-out would be as long as needed. I returned soon after I signed the new contract, 8 months after my starting point. It could have been much longer.This helped a lot to get the job search done.I could not, and did not want to, stop aiming for a positive impact on the world. I probably did more good overall than if I stayed involved in EA during the job search.I can recommend this to others and my future self in a similar situation.