October 27, 2016

Job Perks

Lately I’ve been thinking about what I should do next. Not that I’m checked out of what I’m doing now, but, well, everyone else seems to think I’m in the wrong spot. So I ask myself: If I wasn’t doing this, what would I be doing?

Far be it from me to pretend I’d be successful wherever I chose to cast my gaze. I live with “the Delaware Disease”: having grown up watching people spurn Delaware only to sheepishly return and take one’s waiting space in anonymous sub-mediocrity, I have this “when not if” mentality that assumes all this awesome will fall miserably at some point. It’s happily ever after for the select few; for the rest of us it’s “happily followed by ever after.”

So while I fight the paralysis such a perspective might bring, I’m never throwing caution to the wind. The next move I make has to be sound and strategic; it should extend the run I’m on rather than place it under extreme risk. Additionally, it should have at least as much impact on the good of others as I’m hoping to provide through the support of LendUp. And it wouldn’t hurt if it kept me in the same pay bracket.

As I’ve been thinking about this kind of stuff, I’ve discovered some really interesting resources. First, there’s a whole site on effective altruism. The sobering realization of how good I have it was really driven home by the short quiz on the Giving what We Can website, and while it wasn’t a part of their list of top charities GiveDirectly.org has a fantastic program that I’m eager to support.

Which all makes me think that rather then trying to go out at change the world (like I and others did in their youth), perhaps now is the time to be a patron of causes, the person whose monetary contribution far outstretches what their active participation could provide. As long as I could find a comfortable, tolerable, well-paying job that had little risk of going away, I could have direct impact on hundreds—even thousands—of lives connected to causes I feel strongly about. And let’s be honest, more then a little part of me loves the idea of playing tech Robin Hood, redistributing the wealth of the Silicon Valley to raise the standard of living for those in extreme poverty.

If I’m lucky, perhaps my next moves will be the best yet.