How to find a fulfilling career that does good

Why?

You have 80,000 hours in your career. It’s your biggest opportunity to have a positive impact on the world.
How can you best spend those hours?

How?

Three factors for an impactful career

1. Problem area

Focus on the most pressing social problems — those that are big in scale, neglected and solvable — rather than those that are popular or you just happen to stumble into. Examples of pressing problems are: alleviating global poverty, improving animal welfare, and reducing existential risk.

2. Career path

Think broadly about all the ways you might contribute to solving those problems to identify those where you can make the biggest contribution. Consider earning to give, research, communication, community-building, charity entrepreneurship, and government and policy careers.

3. Personal fit

Focus on paths that have the best personal fit, and that best meet your other personal criteria. To find your best fit, think like a scientist: make some best guesses at the most promising paths and jobs, identify key uncertainties, and do cheap tests to resolve them. Keep updating your plan every 1–3 years.

Take action

Next steps

Follow this global career guide

80,000 Hours’ new career guide is based on in-depth research since 2011. It covers everything you need to know about how to find a fulfilling career that does good, from why you shouldn’t “follow your passion”, to why medicine and charity work aren’t always the best way to help others.

It’s full of practical tips and exercises, and at the end, you’ll have a draft of your new career plan.

Read our career guides

The following career guides focus on pressing world problems and have concrete tips for people living in the Netherlands:

And there are several career guides on their way! If you like to chat about these or other cause areas, reach out for a virtual coffee.

Unfamiliar with EA? Join our intro programme first

If you’re new to Effective Altruism, our introductory programme is the perfect first step. Over 5 weeks, you’ll explore the core principles of EA, guided by a facilitator and alongside a small group of like-minded individuals in the Netherlands.

Still unsure? Book a casual call with us

Got questions or feeling uncertain? Let’s chat. Schedule a relaxed call with us. It’s a chance for a genuine conversation, where we can address your queries and share insights about the world of impactful careers. We’re here to assist and guide.

Explore more

Resources and opportunities

Experiences

Career stories

I’ve seen the horrors of war and famine, which humanity aims to prevent. In contrast, factory farming is growing, subsidised by governments, and nonprofits receive far less funding. I realised animal suffering is even more neglected than human suffering.

I think it is a valuable flow-through effect of starting a charity that more people can get the opportunity to work on something impactful.

The huge network I’ve gotten in contact with through EA has been amazing. I’ve made this pivot much, much faster than I think I could have accomplished in other comparable fields.