We started 80,000 Hours because we couldn’t find any sources of advice on how to do good with our own working lives. Since then, we’ve been on a mission to figure out how best to choose a career with high social impact.
You have about 80,000 working hours in your career. That means your choice of the career is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, so it’s really worth figuring out how to use that time for good.
Existing career advice either doesn’t address the question of how to have a social impact, isn’t based on much research, or doesn’t have much in the way of concrete, comprehensive advice.
We do in-depth research alongside academics at Oxford into how graduates can make the biggest difference possible with their careers, both through overall career choice and within a given field.
We’ve developed a four step process for working out which social problems are most urgent – where an extra year of work will have the greatest impact.
The most pressing problems are likely to have a good combination of the following qualities:
- Big in scale: What’s the magnitude of this problem? How much does it affect people’s lives today? How much effect will solving it have in the long-run?
- Neglected: How many people and resources are already dedicated to tackling this problem? How well allocated are the resources that are currently being dedicated to the problem? Are there good reasons why markets or governments aren’t already making progress this problem?
- Solvable: How easy would it be to make progress on this problem? Do interventions already exist to solve this problem effectively, and how strong is the evidence behind them?