Core Advice for Having a Positive Impact With Your Career

Want a meaningful career that helps others?

We created this short core advice series to walk you through some of the most important considerations for finding a career that’s both good for you and good for the world.

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Your time matters. Most people will spend about a third of their lives working. This presents a huge opportunity to spend your time and effort on something that makes a real impact.

But it’s how you spend your time that makes all the difference. Some ways of helping the world are much better than others. This means that how you choose to spend your time can lead to vastly different outcomes, like whether you improve a few lives or a few thousands of lives.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a choice in what you do for work, your career can be an incredibly impactful way to help others. Yet if there’s a massive difference in impact depending on how and who you help, it’s worth strategizing the best ways to use your career to help others.

Our core advice series will walk through some of the most important questions, tools, and ideas for helping the world with your career. Each article takes about 5 minutes to read so you can quickly learn how to have a career that’s both good for you and good for the world. 

It’s not a perfect formula or one-size-fits all approach (and we’d be wary of any advice on the internet that claims otherwise!). But if you apply these concepts to your own career planning, you can find ways to accomplish a lot of good—probably.

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What’s in this series:

1. Don’t underestimate your ability to make a big impact

Exceptional efforts to improve the world seem like they require extraordinary skills or opportunities, but there are real people (just like you) behind all of them. For most people, the world is a much better place than it was just 100 years ago. Learn how you could play a meaningful part in making it even better.

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2. Find ways to help others at scale

There can be a massive difference between helping a few people and helping thousands of people—but we’re not always good at recognizing it. Discover how the scale of your efforts can enable you to make a much greater difference in the world.

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3. Approach your career decisions strategically

How do you compare different career options? If you want your work to make a meaningful difference, there are a few factors you need to keep in mind. Learn about a helpful framework for comparing the potential impact of different career opportunities.

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4. Ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t do this work

If you didn’t do this work, would someone else easily take your place? This is a tough—and often overlooked—question that’s worth thinking about if you want to help others. Discover how “counterfactual impact” can influence your career decisions.

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5. Take your future impact into account

By proactively thinking about the impact you can make in the future, you can strategically invest in developing skills, knowledge, and experience to get there. Learn about how to consider your “career capital” when deciding what jobs to pursue.

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6. Find areas where you can make a big difference

There are a lot of important problems worth tackling, so how should you decide what cause to focus your career on? Discover how a strategic approach can help you find areas where you can make a big difference.

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7. Commit to a next step

It’s all too easy to think about your career in the abstract without taking practical next steps. Our final piece of advice is perhaps the most obvious: nothing changes if nothing changes. Learn about potential next steps to move you towards a more impactful career.

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Who are we?

Probably Good is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people find careers that are good for them and good for the world. All our resources are completely free of charge.

Our approach to career advice is guided by three principles:

  • Help others at scale. Because some ways of helping are better than others, we focus on figuring out how to increase your positive impact.
  • Rely on evidence. The advice we give isn’t solely based on intuition; it’s based on the best data and evidence we can find.
  • Focus on tools over conclusions. We aim to provide helpful tools to make informed decisions, rather than giving specific answers or recommendations. 

Read more about our approach