Writing about my job: Content Specialist, CEA

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-07-19T01:56:14.645Z · EA · GW · 2 comments


  What my job is like

I'm following my own advice [EA · GW] and writing about how I got my job + what the job is like.

While my job is a bit unusual in the specifics (I wear many hats), lots of organizations have writing positions that cover at least some of what I do. 

This post might be especially informative for people who:

I might add more to this post later. If you have questions, please send me a message or ask in the comments — that will help me figure out what to add!



I already wrote about my application process [EA(p) · GW(p)].

All told, I applied to ~10 places, spent ~130 hours on applying + interviewing + work trials + travel (counting travel hours as 30 minutes each), and was paid ~$3000.

Application process for CEA:

Advantages I had that would be hard for most people to replicate:

Disadvantages I had that many people wouldn't have:

My resume

What my job is like

Leaving this part fairly short because it's an unusual job and much of this won't generalize. But I'm happy to add more detail if people have questions!

How I use my time (very rough estimates):

Skills I've been building:

Mostly, my work feels like handling a constant stream of input/people wanting things, while trying to carve out time to work on larger projects + think about strategy. There are many small fires that demand focused attention, and I'm not as good as I want to be at pushing those aside to work on longer-term but more impactful things. I'm constantly beset by the thought that some "perfect version" of myself would have had enormously more impact during their tenure.

That said, I'm also constantly engaged with all the different streams of EA thought + action and get to talk to lots of different people about what they do. I get to spend a lot of time complimenting people's work and helping them feel a sense of belonging in a community I love. That sort of thing never gets old. And CEA is a terrifically supportive place to work; I genuinely like all of my coworkers (at least the ones I know well; being remote means I haven't gotten to know everyone yet).


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by vaidehi_agarwalla · 2021-07-19T10:05:39.245Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I really appreciate the level of transparency in this post! Thanks Aaron :)

comment by tjohnson314 · 2021-07-19T18:43:39.671Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Interesting - my work as a software engineer also feels like "a constant stream of input/people wanting things, while trying to carve out time to work on larger projects + think about strategy."

From what I've read of Cal Newport's blog, the single most impactful change we could make is to reconstruct our pattern of working so that people can focus. Most of his posts discuss that single big idea, but this is one metaphor to get started: On the Dynamo and Email - Study Hacks - Cal Newport.

It's not easy to change these patterns on an individual level, though.