Owen became involved in the 80,000 Hours community through Giving What We Can in Oxford, and was introduced to the case for basing career choice on impact. Through further discussions, he became convinced to use his research skills to work directly on the most pressing questions.
He decided to stop doing research into pure mathematics, because it’s a well-established field which already attracts many of the world’s smartest people. Instead, he could have a greater impact by entering the new field of global priorities research, which involves developing frameworks to help work out which global challenges governments, non-profit organisations and individuals should focus on.
He says we had a ‘significant impact’ on his beliefs because we introduced him to the relevant arguments for the first time. He adds:
One of the major influences of 80,000 Hours was the idea of framing a career as part of what you can achieve for good in the world rather than just thinking of achieving good via donations.