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Tl:dr If you’d like to use your career to help others as much as possible, you should apply to speak with the 80,000 Hours team!

I’ve been working in the one-on-one team at 80,000 Hours for over a year and a half, where I mostly do careers advising calls.[1] I’m really excited about the plans that we have to expand and help more people! This post has a bit of an update on advising in case you were unsure whether it is for you[2] :)

We’re doing more calls than ever before

This year we’ve focused on increasing the amount of people we can help:

  • We did >750 advising calls this year. That’s more calls in a year than 80,000 Hours have ever done before!
  • We also hired two new advisors, Alex Lawsen and Matt Reardon. So, plus me, that’s more people focused on helping people one-on-one than 80,000 Hours has ever had.

And we’re hoping to continue expanding in 2022.

We’re really keen to help more people. We'd love more people to apply to speak with the team.

How can we help?

We’d really like to help you have more impact with your career!

Here are some of the things we can do on a call:

  • Talk through cause prioritisation - help you think through what problems you want to work on
  • Consider your options - talk through what different paths might look like, try and answer some of your questions about them, suggest new options you might not have thought of, and help you narrow things down
  • Connect you up with more people - to hear more about the particular field you’re interested in or just get to know more people in the community
  • Work out some next steps - suggest specific jobs, funding opportunities, resources to check out, or other next steps you can take
  • Debug your plan - if you already have a good idea of what you want to do, we can be a sounding board and help sense-check your thinking

For more on what speaking with us is like and how we can help, you can check out this podcast with Michelle Hutchinson.

Who should apply?

We want to talk to people who are taking an analytical approach to doing the most good with their career. We’re most helpful for people who are interested in the problems we think are most pressing, taking seriously the aim to help people as much as possible over the long term.

We’re excited to talk to people at all different stages of their career!

In case you weren’t sure:

  • We do talk to people who are very involved in the EA community
  • We do talk to undergraduates and even sometimes high school students
  • We do talk to people who have decades of experience already
  • We do talk to people who are already on a path they think is impactful (but still would find it useful to talk to someone about their career)
  • We do talk to people who are super uncertain about what they want to do

If you’re not sure whether to apply, go for it! It doesn’t take long, you can always apply again later if you want, and sometimes even just filling in the application form is helpful in thinking through your career. Also it’s free :)

We can’t talk to absolutely everyone who applies, but we read each application and try to work out if we can help.

We currently speak with about half the people who apply. And even if we don’t speak to you ourselves, we may be able to put you in touch with someone else who we think can help.

We’re really excited about helping the EA community be diverse and welcoming. So we’d love to get more applications from women, people of colour, and people of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Apply now!

So, here’s that link again to speak with the team. Check it out :)

  1. And also sometimes attempt to post amusing stuff on twitter ↩︎

  2. Spoiler alert, I think it might be ↩︎

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Actually, Habiba, I think there is one more thing that you do during calls and is somewhat subtle: as noted elsewhere most impactful career paths require doing unconventional things and are very challenging. Talking to you helped me feel less scared of trying out these things, and supported me 😊. Perhaps this is less relevant to people with lots of social contact with other people in the community, but even my family does not understand yet why would I not want to aim for a nice peaceful career since "you can do good in any job", and the kind of problems that we worry about are not popular. Perhaps we should create some position in local communities for this kind of support, though 🧐?

I second this! It's a big psychological boost for someone (like me in 2019) to go from just reading lots about problem areas and the normative/empirical arguments for them, to actually talking with people who are engaged and believe in the ideas. Definitely helps reduce the heuristic of 'this is weird and I don't personally know anyone else who thinks this, so I shouldn't put much stock in it'.

omg writing a comment adding another useful thing we can do = the best kind of positive feedback :P thank you! And I'm really pleased that helped!

And yes I think this is definitely another thing we try and do! It can be really helpful to have a call with someone who shares similar values with you especially when the things you're considering seem less familiar to friends / family. It's really quite a privilege to sometimes be the first person involved in the EA community that people speak to :)

I think that local EA group leaders / members can play a similar function. Though there's some nice complementarity - 80k is very keen to connect people up with folks in their local EA community too and I think groups can suggest folks chat to the 80k team.

fwiw, on the last point, my current plan is to do this kind of thing in local groups - I'm hoping to get funding for peer support in EA groups, basically to try and have this effect you speak of!


Already have my first call scheduled. Very excited!

I just applied! Thanks in advance for your consideration!

What would you say to people who aren’t sure about what specific aspects of career planning they want advice with? Would you suggest spending more time solo thinking about things first?

I think it probably depends on how much more clarity you think you'll get from thinking solo about it for a bit, and how likely it is you'll find the solo thinking motivating. I think the conversations do tend to be more useful if you have a sense of what you'd most like to get out of them. But thinking through your career is often both difficult and aversive, so chatting to us early in the journey can be most sensible for some people, to get more clarity on how to think through things and what to read in order to make your plan. We're also happy to speak to someone more than once, so you might like to chat to us when you're first starting to think through things and then again when you have more clarity.

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