The effective worker

What do we mean by this strategy?

There are many nonprofit and for-profit organisations that have a large impact, which are short of specific types of human capital. If you’re a good fit for a high-impact organization, it’s an option worth considering. By high-impact organisations we mean those that are well-run and work on an effective cause. For more, see here.

What’s our evidence this strategy is promising?

Taking a job at an organisation with a social purpose is probably the most popular way to have an immediate impact with your career. We think there’s a lot of truth in this view. There are many organisations that achieve great things that say they are constrained by an unusual type of human capital. For instance, GiveWell are constrained by people who are able to carry out their research. If you can provide this human capital, then you may have the opportunity to have an outsized impact.

However, it’s important to note some limitations. First, many organisations with a social purpose don’t have much social impact. So, it’s important to focus on working at effective organisations rather than just those with an explicitly social purpose. Second, the organisation may not be heavily constrained by the type of human capital you can offer. That’s why it’s important to focus on organisations where you’re a good fit.

Which options are best within this strategy?

We haven’t yet formally reviewed any organisations, though we have written about several, and of those we think that working at GiveWell is a particularly attractive option. See all our articles on organisations.

If you’re considering pursuing this strategy, ask yourself:

  • Is the organization likely to be particularly effective?
  • Does the organization provide excellent training?
  • Does the organisation have a special need for someone with your skills?
  • Are your sure that you want to work within this sector in the long-term?