All careers involve some degree of negative impact. That said, in general, we recommend against taking a position which has substantial harm, even if the overall benefits of the work seem greater than the harms.
There are huge differences in the importance and neglectedness of different issues, which don’t seem fully offset by differences in tractability. This means that by choosing a different issue, you might be able to increase how much impact you have by over 100 times.
The chance of a catastrophe from nuclear war, runaway climate change, or emerging technology is small each year, but all that adds up over lifetimes. Read about why we think reducing these risks should probably be our biggest priority.
You can make a bigger contribution to solving a problem by either pursuing more effective solutions or seeking greater ‘leverage’ — essentially, moving more resources towards your preferred solutions — or both. This article explores how.
Many solutions to global problems don’t have much impact, but the best are enormously effective. How taking a ‘hits-based’ approach to finding the best solutions can enable you to make a far bigger contribution.
If you’re considering working in paths with heavy-tailed, semi-predictable performance — like scientific research — then it could be worth switching paths to get only a small increase in relative fit. Here’s why.
What’s nextSpeak to our team one-on-one to make your new career plan
If you’ve read our advanced series, our 1-1 team might be keen to talk to you. They can help you check your plan, reflect on your values, and maybe make connections with mentors, jobs and funding opportunities. (It’s free.)