Posts

The impact we achieved to date: Animal Advocacy Careers 2022-09-02T14:14:18.983Z
Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. 2022-08-03T15:44:25.479Z
Get organised for EAG: use Google Calendar for meetings 2022-07-26T18:54:29.168Z
Introducing Impactful Animal Advocacy Community Newsletter! 2022-06-15T19:08:58.509Z
Job Profile: Project Manager 2022-02-12T13:32:20.018Z
How to Make Your First EAG a Success 2021-12-06T15:13:42.634Z
How to Get an EA-aligned Job: My Experience 2021-12-03T16:08:56.553Z
Why You Should Consider Skilled Volunteering 2021-11-25T21:37:01.951Z

Comments

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Open Phil is seeking bilingual people to help translate EA/EA-adjacent web content into non-English languages · 2022-08-24T08:06:00.649Z · EA · GW

This is so exciting! I’m really happy that OP is investing in this. Very much looking forward to seeing all the translated content and the new community members that it will bring ☺️ Thanks so much for your work on this.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-14T11:42:49.888Z · EA · GW

That makes sense, thanks. I wonder if the results they got were also influenced by some other practices, for example already looking in a place where there was less diversity, or advertising the job in a way that put a lot of more diverse candidates off, such as not including salary in the JD.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-07T10:20:46.149Z · EA · GW

Hey Richard, thanks a lot for reading and for your valuable comment. 
Interesting note about the DEI vs equality of opportunity point, I haven't thought about it.

I still think that we should continue in-person conferences, all I'm saying is that we need to improve the quality of online conferences and also help people to travel to offline conferences and events more easily (this is not just an EA issue, all industries who host offline events have this problem due to COVID visa application delays - we don't know how long they will last).

I'm grateful that you pointed out the lack of evidence that removing IQ and maths tests won't affect the quality of hire. There is certainly a lot of debate about this issue and I think that significantly more research needs to be done into this. I quite like this article that looks like past and most recent studies and summarises the conclusion whether or not we should use IQ to predict job performance: 

There remains great uncertainty about the interpretation of IQ-job performance correlations and great caution needs to be exercised in using them as a basis for the validity of IQ tests and associated concepts.

Perhaps I should have been clearer when I argued this, as my main point is that due to the lack of high quality research and solid conclusions, we don't know if IQ is really a good predictor of high job performance or not. Some still use IQ-like tests anyway and it will have a flow-through effect of poorer decision making due to everyone in the team with the same background and way of thinking.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-06T16:55:48.048Z · EA · GW

Hey Matti, thanks so much for reading and for your kind comment. Glad you enjoyed it!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-06T16:54:43.583Z · EA · GW

Many thanks for reading and spotting this Kaleem, corrected! 

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-06T16:54:17.814Z · EA · GW

Hey Jeff, many thanks for reading and for your comment. That's very interesting and it's the first time I'm hearing about this. Do you know which orgs? 

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-06T16:51:17.584Z · EA · GW

Hey Guy, thanks for reading and for your comment. RP indeed have a lot of these practices (to my best knowledge). At the moment they are one of the exceptions though. I think that it's great that we have orgs who implement this and I'm looking forward to seeing some research and case studies on this.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-06T16:49:13.831Z · EA · GW

Hey Nuno, thanks so much for reading and providing your thoughts on my suggestions in such depth - I enjoyed reading them and I really appreciate it! It brings a lot of value to the post as it provides multiple ways of thinking about these suggestions.

I think that your point about trade-offs for these things is very valid. The reason I wrote this post was that I felt that projects like these almost never make it to the top of the weighted factor models and other decision-making tools because their long-term value can be potentially underestimated, and that's why I propose that we do more research. 

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Doing good is a privilege. This needs to change if we want to do good long-term. · 2022-08-06T16:43:39.964Z · EA · GW

Hey Charles, thanks for reading and for your comment - I appreciate it. I totally agree with you that EA is based on people realising their privilege. This is why I'm in EA. Perhaps I should have been clear when I argued this. This conclusion comes from the previous two premises:

P1: It’s hard to get EA jobs, most EA jobs accept unpaid volunteers and some don’t pay a living wage. 

P2: It’s hard to get involved in the movement generally due to locations of EA Hubs and conferences mostly being in the Western countries.

(added) and 

P3: Multiple EA organisations and individuals offer low wages, hire without a diverse pool of candidates, and don’t pay for trial tasks.

P4: In the world, the majority of people cannot afford to work for free and their job is their main source of income.

To elaborate even further, EA community's high use of volunteer labor shows that a lot of EAs don't relate to the average person in the world who is a couple of paychecks away from being homeless (doesn't have a large secuty net). Because EA was founded by people in Western countries, most people can't relate to what it's like not to be based in these countries - not being able to participate fully in these events. For example, most people in EA that I spoke to about me not being able to get a visa were surprised that this is even an issue and many people who organise EA-related events have made plans to make them more accessible to people from more countries.

I also agree with opportunity cost argument and it's worth calculating. That's why I propose more research to be done on the value of proving equal opportunity to all community members.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on How to Get an EA-aligned Job: My Experience · 2022-07-26T19:44:28.103Z · EA · GW

Hey, many thanks for your comment, I'm very pleased you found the blog useful :) I'm writing another one based on my most recent job search which I'll link here soon!

As to your question, I think you should absolutely mention that you're an EA, but I would probably not say "I am an EA" but do it by linking to your forum posts, or any EA courses you've done, events/retreats you've been to, any EA jobs you had. In your skills section, you can highlight the skills that EAs value, or just use some EA language and style of writing in all of your CV.

I am a huge fan of a CV headline (like a line in LinkedIn that tells you who you are) - you can put "Looking to make an impact at an EA org" or something right below your name. There is always space for a 4-line summary, you can also write about your motivation to work in EA there.

Hope this helps and best of luck with your search!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Results of a Spanish-speaking essay contest about Global Catastrophic Risk · 2022-07-16T05:53:28.050Z · EA · GW

This is so cool. Thanks so much for running this and sharing your data and experience. I hope you continue and there'll be more such activities in EA in the future. Keep up the good work!! I'm not sure how we can measure this, but I wonder if there is a way to track the participants' journeys in EA (maybe via case studies?) to see how participating in this contest led them to more opportunities in EA or not.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Senior EA 'ops' roles: if you want to undo the bottleneck, hire differently · 2022-07-09T11:50:36.145Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this, I think you’re spot on about the roles not always being attractive. I’ve heard about a senior person not applying for senior EA ops jobs because they involved managing the CEO’s inbox or because they didn’t have someone who’d do more mundane tasks but the org was already too big for just one person to handle everything.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Megaprojects for animals · 2022-06-14T09:57:00.902Z · EA · GW

This is a very valuable post. Thanks a lot to both for writing this up! Looking forward to seeing some of these megaprojects happening in the future!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on How to Get an EA-aligned Job: My Experience · 2022-05-09T20:10:34.190Z · EA · GW

Hey Evan, thanks a lot for the feedback, I'm glad it's been useful! Interviews are tough to get right, but it is possible :) Good luck!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on I burnt out at EAG. Let's talk about it. · 2022-04-23T16:28:27.369Z · EA · GW

Yes to Swapcard all year round!! People didn’t reply to my messages from Sunday evening, but I guess it’s solvable as most people have their emails there.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on I burnt out at EAG. Let's talk about it. · 2022-04-23T16:24:52.438Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot for this post and sorry to hear you’ve burnt out. I had something similar at my first EAG and my solution for this conference was to space meetings out over 4 days and also not go to any after parties or dinners + have short days (like finishing at 3-4 if you have back to back meetings). This EAG was much better, and I think I’ll have even fewer meetings next time as my voice took a bit of a battering 🤣 I think there is a lot of pressure to have meetings as I thought: “what if they wouldn’t want to meet online later”. In hindsight, if they don’t want to meet online later, maybe you shouldn’t be meeting at all. I definitely think that the organisers can do more to prevent attendee burnout, maybe more recommendations on how to spend your time and definitely scheduling a retreat after EAG with no break doesn’t seem very wise to me. The org I work for is planning a 3 day break between the retreat and EAG which sounds about right to me, I shall literally do nothing those 3 days 😂 Also thanks for your last paragraph RE pressure, very relevant to all of us EAs I think!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on How to Make Your First EAG a Success · 2022-04-04T07:34:14.808Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot Vaidehi! Hope to meet you at the next EAG!!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Some thoughts on vegetarianism and veganism · 2022-02-14T20:46:23.461Z · EA · GW

I agree with your comment and love the story! Re your welfaretarian argument,  how do you measure the happiness of the animals if you didn’t grow them yourself?  Also, can a life be happy if you are ultimately killed before your time has come?  I’m not judging, just curious about this concept as I haven’t heard of this. 

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on New EA book: “How to Launch a High-Impact Nonprofit” by Charity Entrepreneurship is now available worldwide in paper and eBook format. · 2022-02-13T11:30:45.107Z · EA · GW

Amazing news and great that it's so available! I was recommending this at the AAC careers fair, and not only to people wanting to start an org, but also to people who want to understand what makes an impactful charity! Also copying my Goodreads review here: 

I got recommended this book as I'm starting a charity soon and it exceed my expectations. This book covers pretty much everything you'll need in the first couple of years and suggests further resources for the future (if you'd like to delve even deeper into each topic). Each chapter is very comprehensive but short enough to keep you interested. It seems like all the best advice from the years of charity entrepreneurship experience was collected, combined with the industry best practice, and organised into neat chapters. I was delighted to find answers to some questions I had for a long time: "how do you speak to potential donors?" or "how to you make the right decisions and trade-offs"? It felt really validating to read about the common fears and worries of new founders and made me feel like we're in it together and all problems have solutions. My thinking became more rational and evidence-based - the book is not just about building charities, but also making the right decisions and balancing responsibilities. I've actually recommended this book to my friends who are involved in effective altruism organisations (not necessarily in a founder capacity) and they borrowed some tips from it too. The best thing is having this book to refer to in the future too as my organisation grows. Really recommended!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on How to Get an EA-aligned Job: My Experience · 2021-12-06T17:04:54.711Z · EA · GW

Hey Akash,  thanks so much for reading and also for your thoughts. I love that you connected the "helping" bit with EA principles - I don't think I thought of that!  So this is a really valuable point. After all, we are trying to make an impact with our jobs and by applying for a job, we are trying to solve a problem for the organisation and the cause area in general. Also many thanks for sharing this with your network, I hope it will help more people!

I agree with you about transparency, we definitely shouldn't say anything that's not true about our candidacy and shouldn't hire any facts that make us a bad fit. And you are also right in saying that this can backfire, especially for non-EA ogs and for people with impostor syndrome (most of us haha). I can think of underepresented groups not getting roles as, generally, men are more likely to be overconfident about their ability. 

I would say that the key here is to treat each application individually, try to see exactly what the hiring manager is looking for, and start by presenting yourself in the best possible light. Put your best foot forward!

If you're absolutely sure that you don't have a particular skill, I think it's possible to be transparent and also talk about any skill/aptitude gap in a positive way. I think a lot of EA orgs will hire for potential and attitude, so phrasing things like "I haven't done this yet, however, I'd really like to learn in/I have learnt things really quickly in the past/done something very similar". That is if you genuinely like to do it.

Another way to talk positively about skill gaps is flipping it and finding why not having this skill will give you an advantage (fresh eyes, ability to form the way you operate in this org etc.). 

So what I'm trying to say is, having been on the hiring manager's side,"I can't do this"  shows that the person doesn't want to learn or isn't right for the job. I would much rather hear "I've never done it but I'm just so excited to learn". 

Additionally, many orgs now offer trial tasks, so before you say "I am not good at strategy", if it's a core skill and it is tested, I would first see if you can do the trial task. Sometimes we appear to be good at something we've never done! So I wouldn't speak so soon until you try it :)

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Introducing Shrimp Welfare Project · 2021-12-04T18:01:34.327Z · EA · GW

I remember when Karolina messaged me about a year ago inviting me to apply to CE and Shimp Welfare was the first charity idea I saw and I was like "Whaaaaat I'm not doing that. What's next, bacteria welfare?" And now I'm going to be leading a charity working on insect welfare. The irony lol.

On a serious note, the sheer numbers, the welfare and practices facts, and especially the neglectedness of the invertebrates really brought me around. I really think you folks are working on some pretty important stuff, not only making an impact for the shrimps but also paving the path for success for neglected species welfare projects.

I wonder if so far you've found that people "get" what you're trying to do? Or do you think that some people you speak to still think we should be focusing on bigger animals? I, for example, was pleasantly surprised by how many people "got" insect welfare and were excited about it. I guess there will be differences between EA and non-EA folks? Also, you mentioned that you are not public or consumer-focused, which might be why there isn't a "pushback" against this work?

Many thanks for this blog post and for your work, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what you achieve in the next few months and a year.  The movement will benefit a lot from your experience!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Why You Should Consider Skilled Volunteering · 2021-12-04T17:45:15.976Z · EA · GW

Yes, we definitely need more portals like this! I think a lot of charities would love to have more volunteer requests from skilled professionals but the platforms like the AAC ones are not very well publicised (if they exist at all).

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on How to Get an EA-aligned Job: My Experience · 2021-12-04T17:43:02.871Z · EA · GW

Hey Cristina, thanks a lot for your kind comment - I really appreciate it! I too wish someone held my hand through my first job application experience, I didn't know any of this haha. Unfortunately, I had to learn all of this through mistakes, so I hope people reading this will avoid some of them! I  also hope that more people will get the support they need, peer support groups are a very good idea! We should suggest it to AAC or 80,000 Hours!

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on How to Get an EA-aligned Job: My Experience · 2021-12-04T17:39:08.752Z · EA · GW

Hey Miranda, thanks for reading - I'm so pleased you found it useful. I too agree that we need more info on how to actually get jobs, as it's a science in itself and it's not currently taught at schools and unis as much as it should be. So unless you have relatives/friends who are really good at this and willing to help you, you are at a disadvantage. So good that your friend help you though and that you asked! Some people just wing it, thinking that it's a tick-box exercise while it's a lot more than that.

Comment by SofiaBalderson (sofiabalderson) on Six lessons learned from our first year - Animal Ask · 2021-11-30T18:06:32.876Z · EA · GW

Hey Animal Ask team and Amy, thanks a lot for the blog, really insightful! 

I thought of a super time-consuming way of evaluating impact: have the team do their own research and then do the same research yourself and compare results. Maybe if you do this on a relatively small project, you will see the objective difference in results. Of course, you still have counterfactuals to deal with as you will eventually go with only a couple of intervention choices.

Also in my own consultancy work, I've found that it takes years sometimes to track results, so I guess it will be the case with you too.  Looking forward to reading your post about progress in a year's time!

Thanks so much for your important work for the animals and I hope to collaborate on something soon!