Week 8: Next Steps


We hope the In-Depth EA Program has helped you think through various issues within Effective Altruism, as well as develop friendships and connections with other aspiring Effective Altruists.

In this final week, you will participate in an exercise to see how what we’ve learnt has affected our key uncertainties, career-planning and cause prioritisation. You’ll use this exercise to start to map out next steps, which we can continue to work on as we learn more about ourselves and the world.

Then you will then bring your plans to the session and discuss them with the other fellows and your moderator. The aim is to interrogate and solidify one anothers’ plans, advising and getting advice from one another about how to achieve them.

Go to last page of the EA Handbook (More to explore on 'Putting it into Practice') for a comprehensive list of opportunities to get involved. A list of resources about EA can be found here and a list of local EA groups can be found here.

Exercise (50 min)

We find it is often hard to turn the things you learn in the program into practical actions. So we recommend spending some of the final session talking about what you plan to do next and getting advice from other fellows. To make the most of this it might help to write down as many possible next steps as you can think of. These might be questions you want to look into; things you want to read; skills you want to build; ways to test your interest in various careers; or ways you think you can improve the world.

Identify some open questions (10 min)

At the start of the program you listed some questions you wanted to look into during the discussions. Did all of these get resolved? Did you discover any more questions you’d like to look into? Write down all the questions you might want to look into after the program.

It might help to:

  • Look over your list from the start of the program
  • Look over your notes for each week of the program and think about any questions that came up
  • Think back to any conversations you had at other times during the program, did any questions come up then?

Knowledge and skills (10 min)

During the program, were there some skills or pieces of knowledge you found yourself wishing you had? Could you develop these in the coming weeks, months, or years? Examples could include forecasting, some mathematics a fellow used, a particular academic framework you haven’t come across before, or anything else. Write down whatever skills come to mind and mention them in the session, and maybe other fellows can give you some advice on learning these.

Career Planning (10 min)

Updating your cause prioritisation, will lead to some new career uncertainties. 80,000 Hours have resources on making career decisions, a key ideas page, and some problem profiles which we can use to generate some next steps. These next steps might be different depending on whether you have no career plan at all, a couple of open options, or a very specific trajectory, but there should be new areas to investigate regardless of your situation.

Generate some next steps for your career plan. Maybe this is doing some cheap tests for possible career paths, or making some progress on a big career decision, or applying to open positions or further study programmes. Write down whatever pops into your head and bring it to the session

Writing (10 min)

Sharing ideas is a big part of the EA community. Did you find yourself thinking of an idea a different way during the program? Perhaps an idea that was not obvious to you (even if it feels obvious now), or something you explained to another fellow? This might be a valuable thing to write down and share with others, either on the EA forum or to a smaller group (such as a local EA group page). A complete idea that you can share with someone else is incredibly valuable, and if you have an incomplete idea then someone else may even pick it up and take it in a useful direction of their own.

Here are some useful videos on writing EA ideas.

Write down any ideas you think could be worth putting down on paper (even those you’re not super sure about) bring these to the session and discuss the merits of each.

Ways to have an impact in the near-term (10 min)

Most people on this program will be students or young professionals. Often advice for people like that in EA is to develop their skills so they can have more impact later. This advice is often good, but can be demoralising when you want to start making a difference now. Luckily, there are also things you can do to have an impact now, even some that can also build your career capital for future impact.

Have a look through this list of suggestions, pick out any that appeal to you and bring them to the session. Add anything else you can come up with to the list, feel free to have a very low bar as you can prioritise and discuss the relative merits in the discussion.

  • Help grow the EA community by
    • Working with your local or university group
    • Working with a cause specific group
    • Doing fundraisers at your school or company for effective charities
    • Running a short discussion group on a topic that interests you
    • Organising outreach or socials
    • Taking part in online discussion (or starting one of your own)
    • Or starting a group where one doesn’t exist
    • Note that you don’t have to do this alone; there are lots of people who can help, and lots of resources that can guide you. You can start by checking out the advice and resources in the EA Group Resource Centre.
  • Choose your major, term paper, or thesis to be something that relates to EA ideas, using the guidance and resources from Effective Thesis.
  • Attend a EA Global or EAGx conference! There a several excellent reasons to attend - read more here and here.
  • Do an internship or volunteer at an EA-related company or charity
    • (This might be explicitly related to EA or related to a cause which you think is high impact)
  • Start giving more, or more effectively, or make plans for how you could do so in future. For example, you could: