Become an executive assistant for someone doing especially high-impact work
In a nutshell: A good executive assistant can dramatically increase someone’s impact. If you work for someone doing high-impact work, you might be able to boost their daily productivity by about 10%, just by freeing up time they would otherwise spend on tasks that don’t take full advantage of their skills. That’s equivalent to having one tenth (or more) as much impact as they have — which could be a lot.
Sometimes recommended — personal fit dependent
This career will be some people’s highest-impact option if their personal fit is especially good.
Based on a shallow investigation
Why might being an executive assistant for an impactful person be high impact?
Some people may be extraordinarily productive compared to the average. (Read about this phenomenon in research careers.) But these people often have to use much of their time on work that doesn’t take the best advantage of their skills, such as bureaucratic and administrative tasks. This may be especially true for people who work in university settings — as many researchers do — but it is also often true of entrepreneurs, politicians, writers, and public intellectuals.
Acting as an executive assistant for one of these people can dramatically increase their impact. By supporting their day-to-day activities and freeing up more of their time for work that other people can’t do, you can act as a ‘multiplier’ on their productivity. We think that having a highly talented executive assistant can make someone 10% more productive, or perhaps more, which is like having one tenth (or more) as much impact as they have. If you’re working for someone who is doing really valuable work, that’s a lot.
In general, we think that helping others have a greater positive impact than they would have had otherwise is sometimes underappreciated, and that it’s an important and valid way to do good. At least, that’s the strategy we take here at 80,000 Hours!
Want one-on-one advice on pursuing this path?
If you think this path might be a great option for you, but you need help deciding or thinking about what to do next, our team might be able to help.
We can help you compare options, make connections, and possibly even help you find jobs or funding opportunities.
- More on the case for this path being high impact
- To PA or not to PA?
- Podcast: Tanya Singh on ending the operations management bottleneck in effective altruism
- PAs in EA: A Brief Guide & FAQ
- Check out a curated list of assistant roles on our job board, including several executive assistant roles supporting high-impact people and institutions
Read next: Learn about other high-impact careers
Want to consider more paths? See our list of the highest-impact career paths according to our research.
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