Including a role on the job board doesn’t mean that we think the organisation or the role is necessarily having a positive impact in the world. In some cases, we may list roles because a great candidate could have a strong positive impact in the role or organisation.
Most powerful organisations cause some harm or are at least somewhat controversial. For example, few people agree with everything that Amazon, Facebook, or the US military have done. But large organisations like these have large influence on several of our recommended problem areas, so if you want to have a big impact, your best option might be to work at such an organisation — either to build career capital so you can have an impact later, or to have a direct impact by helping improve them from the inside.
Regrettably, some media and political narratives sometimes encourage us to categorise organisations as ‘good’ or ‘evil.’ In reality, people at large organisations like these are doing a huge range of things — some good, some bad, and some neutral.
It’s important to consider what you’ll be doing within the specific job you might take, and how you might be able to shape that role in a more positive direction. In general, you’ll probably have more impact by contributing to organisations whose track records have been positive overall (we list some reasons for this in our article on harmful jobs). But this may not always be the case, so you should not automatically rule out taking jobs at controversial or unpopular organisations.
More broadly, all actions — including all career decisions — involve a risk of harm, so you need to do your best to weigh the upsides and downsides of your different options. This is one reason why career decisions are morally and practically difficult. Our general advice is to avoid taking jobs you expect to cause serious harm, even if you think they could do a greater amount of good. It’s also important to think carefully about how to reduce the risk of accidentally causing harm.
If you think we are mistakenly promoting roles that are foreseeably causing serious harm, please tell us here.