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How you can pick a career that counts

Everyone would love to be able to change the world for the better

If you can do that while still making enough money to sustain your own lifestyle, you may have found the ideal job. But how do you follow an altruistic ideology at the same time as building on your own career?

Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman are an American couple who are strong advocates of the Effective Altruism Movement. They spoke to the people behind Future Perfect – an altruism focused podcast – and have their own blogs online which track how much money they make and donate. Their transparent approach is inspiring, and looking at their efforts over the years shows an upward trend in both their own salary, and in the amount they have donated.

When Julia graduated, she decided to work in a low-earning career which was aimed at helping others. However, Jeff pointed out that she was perhaps on the wrong path – maybe she could have more impact by trying to make as much money as possible (a seemingly capitalist approach, which was originally against Julia’s morals completely) and donate a large percentage of that to trustworthy, significant and meaningful charities.

Millennials, in particular, are becoming more aware of, and passionate about, having ‘an impact’ in their job.

80,000 Hours is an organisation that was founded in 2011, which helps others to decide where they can donate their money, and the best way in which to make a significant difference. They help you to choose which issues are the most important to you, whether that be a charity which buys mosquito nets for children in African countries susceptible to malaria, or one which is helping to prevent pandemics.

You can work directly for non-profit charities, in the field, or you can work indirectly for them by racking up hours in another field and choosing to donate towards the cause.

It is important that you are working in a job that is particularly suited to your own skill set. There are numerous job roles required for charity work. Are you good at numbers? Can you provide great Public Relations? Do not force yourself into a job just because you feel like you may be making more of an impact, but you feel like you are unable to do it well. It is so important that you also enjoy your job, purely for a fulfilling life.

Julia Wise tried holding back her vacation days in order to take the money for them in exchange, then to donate the money to charities. She quickly realised that this wasn’t a sustainable way to live – she can’t burn herself out in pursuit of contributing to others. It is important to maintain a healthy balance for yourself, while still recognising that so many others need help.

Picking a career that counts can be tricky. It is even harder to do so while finding the right balance between helping others and enjoying your own life. But with the correct information regarding charities and the distribution of donations, and the desire to make a difference in this world, you are guaranteed to find a path which will allow you to help others less fortunate.


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