After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation
score: 47 (28 votes) ·
More emotional data point that I wish I'd seen people expressing when I was new:
If you are excited about EA, relatively new, and eager to get involved in a way that looks something like "make this my career" rather than "make this a notable interest in my life," I think you should expect to feel a ton of significant pain, and reflect carefully on if that's worth it for you.
My experience trying to "break in" to the EA movement's professional class has at times made me feel like a worse person, less connected to my work, less confident in my ability to try my best, and basically more deeply miserable than any other professional situation I've been in by far. Other people I've met have described similar emotional experiences, or said their friends have had them.
If you've always had an easy/nice time at work, it can be hard to appreciate how bad this can feel up front.
I am not convinced that even people who succeed are particularly happy. I suspect it is happier on balance to have an ordinary job, read interesting things about altruism online, occasionally give talks at your local college, and give away 10% of your income to a highly effective charity.
If you don't have a strong reason to believe you have an advantage here, and you're not willing to substantially reduce your personal wellbeing for at least a year, I suggest being very wary of "all hands on deck" sorts of messaging and to put as few of your eggs in the "maybe I'll be a professional EA" basket as possible.