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Career Workshop Recommendation

By the Local Effective Altruism Network team


Career workshops serve multiple purposes. EA groups that run one successfully create new ties within their local community, advertise their group and the Effective Altruism movement to the public, and motivate more people to consider the social impact of their careers. Merely making people aware of earning to give is highly valuable.


There are potentially many forms a career workshop event can take. The following is LEAN’s recommended format, which we hope is well suited for groups with varying resources and of varying sizes. It may be especially useful for groups who are wondering how to approach running a career workshop for the first time.


The recommendation stems from discussions with group leaders, including prior organisers of similar events, as well as discussions internal to LEAN. Please e-mail lean@eahub.org if you have any comments or suggestions.

Structure of the Workshop

The basic structure of the workshop consists of a brief presentation followed by smaller group discussions.


In order to get good returns from discussion, the workshop should be no shorter than an hour. An hour might even be a bit too short; two hours is a comfortable length that allows substantive discussion without fatigue.


The presentation should be roughly ¼ to â…“ of the length of the entire workshop, with the rest being taken up by the small group discussions and very brief closing remarks to thank the participants for coming. It should mention the option of earning to give.


Discussions should be amongst small groups (between 3 and 5 people would be best).


We recommend also getting people’s e-mails to follow up later and discuss progress. We recommend then copying everyone on an email where they can reply-all, and including a link to your local EA presence’s Facebook group as another option for further discussion (ideally having prepopulated that Facebook group with a few of the discussion topics you bring up in your email).  


The e-mail should thank them for participating, solicit feedback on what went well/poorly, and could include mentions of the following discussion topics: thoughts on career success before and after the workshop, intended changes to career plans, discussion on particular articles (linked in the e-mail and Facebook group, e.g. from 80k’s guide).

Content of the Presentation and Discussions

The initial presentation should define and provide examples of careers with high social impact, keeping in mind that what counts as one depends on people and their existing skillsets.


Material for the presentation can and should be drawn from 80,000 Hours’ Career Guide and Career Quiz. Note that the career guide has several videos of varying lengths which you may decide to use.


You are welcome to supplement this with whatever you deem appropriate, of course. For example, there might be a talking point particularly suited to your community which the Career Guide does not cover. Give it a read and see what would work given your time constraints and event goals.


The small group discussions are meant to let attendees talk about their career plans, their  reactions to the presentation, and how they would like to proceed going forward. These may be moderated by group members and event organisers if you think that would help. The focus should be on applying the content of the presentation to their goals.

Branding and Marketing

In order to attract a larger audience, it is best to have a descriptive but generally accessible name for the event. Here are examples of what we mean:

  • Altruistic Careers Conference

  • Social Impact Careers Workshop

  • Which careers do the most good?

  • Making a difference with your career


These briefly describe the intention and subject of the workshop in terms that anyone thinking about their career path will understand. The first two may be especially good for drawing participants, since people are often on the lookout for career conferences and workshops.


Avoiding having “Effective Altruism” and the names of particular EA organisations in the title is best for marketing purposes, since something like “Effective Altruism and Careers” isn’t quite as familiar to the general public and is not very descriptive of the content of the workshop. However, you should not shy away from talking about effective altruism during the workshop, mentioning that it is hosted or sponsored by a certain EA group, etc.


Further Resources

 

If you would like feedback on the plan of your own event, if you need support spreading the word about it, etc., do feel free to contact lean@eahub.org.

Sample Timetables

One hour

12:00 -- welcome, announcements, introduction of speaker if necessary

12:05 -- speaker’s presentation

12:15 -- questions if there are any

12:20 -- instructions for groups, assignment of people to groups if necessary

12:25 -- small group discussions

12:50/55 -- wrap up, final comments from participants, farewell

Two hours

12:00 -- welcome, announcements, introduction of speaker if necessary

12:05 -- speaker’s presentation

12:30 -- questions if there are any

12:35 -- instructions for groups, assignment of people to groups if necessary

12:45 -- small group discussions

1:40/45 -- wrap up, final comments/discussion from participants, farewell

Optional: More involved Follow-up

If you’d like to and have the resources for it, you could schedule follow-up meetings for participants in lieu of just a Facebook discussion. These could be held in person or over Skype, and would involve a conversation about how the participant has been doing with planning their career and incorporating ideas from the presentation and discussion of the main workshop.


Again, it is worth collecting e-mails to track attendance and to coordinate follow-up.

Optional: Tickets

Making the event ticketed and advertising it that way might boost the prestige of and general interest in the workshop (even if the tickets are free, and also available at the door). GWWC Cambridge had some success with this last year.


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