(Cross-posted from MIRI's blog.)
MIRI's looking for a full-time office manager to support our growing team. It’s a big job that requires organization, initiative, technical chops, and superlative communication skills. You’ll develop, improve, and manage the processes and systems that make us a super-effective organization. You’ll obsess over our processes (faster! easier!) and our systems (simplify! simplify!). Essentially, it’s your job to ensure that everyone at MIRI, including you, is able to focus on their work and Get Sh*t Done.
That’s a super-brief intro to what you’ll be working on. But first, you need to know if you’ll even like working here.
We’re a research nonprofit working on the critically important problem of superintelligence alignment: how to bring smarter-than-human artificial intelligence into alignment with human values.1 Superintelligence alignment is a burgeoning field, and arguably the most important and under-funded research problem in the world. Experts largely agree that AI is likely to exceed human levels of capability on most cognitive tasks in this century—but it’s not clear when, and we aren’t doing a very good job of preparing for the possibility. Given how disruptive smarter-than-human AI would be, we need to start thinking now about AI’s global impact. Over the past year, a number of leaders in science and industry have voiced their support for prioritizing this endeavor:
People are starting to discuss these issues in a more serious way, and MIRI is well-positioned to be a thought leader in this important space. As interest in AI safety grows, we’re growing too—we’ve gone from a single full-time researcher in 2013 to what will likely be a half-dozen research fellows by the end of 2015, and intend to continue growing in 2016.
All of which is to say: we really need an office manager who will support our efforts to hack away at the problem of superintelligence alignment!
If our overall mission seems important to you, and you love running well-oiled machines, you’ll probably fit right in. If that’s the case, we can’t wait to hear from you.
We try really hard to make working at MIRI an amazing experience. We have a team full of truly exceptional people—the kind you’ll be excited to work with. Here’s how we operate:
We do not have strict office hours. Simply ensure you’re here enough to be available to the team when needed, and to fulfill all of your duties and responsibilities.
Many of us have adjustable standing desks with multiple large external monitors. We consider workspace ergonomics important, and try to rig up work stations to be as comfortable as possible.
We’re located in downtown Berkeley, California. Berkeley’s monthly average temperature ranges from 60°F in the winter to 75°F in the summer. From our office you’re:
Our vacation policy is that we don’t have a vacation policy. That is, take the vacations you need to be a happy, healthy, productive human. There are checks in place to ensure this policy isn’t abused, but we haven’t actually run into any problems since initiating the policy.
We consider our work important, and we care about whether it gets done well, not about how many total hours you log each week. We’d much rather you take a day off than extend work tasks just to fill that extra day.
We get the whole team together every few months, order a bunch of food, and have a great time.
We provide top-notch health and dental benefits. We care about our team’s health, and we want you to be able to get health care with as little effort and annoyance as possible.
Our ops team follows standard Agile best practices, meeting regularly to plan, as a team, the tasks and priorities over the coming weeks. If the thought of being part of an effective, well-functioning operation gets you really excited, that’s a promising sign!
It can also be surprisingly motivating to realize that your day job is helping people explore the frontiers of human understanding, mitigate global catastrophic risk, etc., etc. At MIRI, we try to tackle the very largest problems facing humanity, and that can be a pretty satisfying feeling.
If this sounds like your ideal work environment, read on! It’s time to talk about your role.
Our ops team and researchers (and collection of remote contractors) are swamped making progress on the huge task we’ve taken on as an organization.
That’s where you come in. An office manager is the oil that keeps the engine running. They’re indispensable. Office managers are force multipliers: a good one doesn’t merely improve their own effectiveness—they make the entire organization better.
We need you to build, oversee, and improve all the “behind-the-scenes” things that ensure MIRI runs smoothly and effortlessly. You will devote your full attention to looking at the big picture and the small details and making sense of it all. You’ll turn all of that into actionable information and tools that make the whole team better. That’s the job.
Sometimes this looks like researching and testing out new and exciting services. Other times this looks like stocking the fridge with drinks, sorting through piles of mail, lugging bags of groceries, or spending time on the phone on hold with our internet provider. But don’t think that the more tedious tasks are low-value. If the hard tasks don’t get done, none of MIRI’s work is possible. Moreover, you’re actively encouraged to find creative ways to make the boring stuff more efficient—making an awesome spreadsheet, writing a script, training a contractor to take on the task—so that you can spend more time on what you find most exciting.
We’re small, but we’re growing, and this is an opportunity for you to grow too. There’s room for advancement at MIRI (if that interests you), based on your interests and performance.
You’ll have a wide variety of responsibilities, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
Your “value-add” is by taking responsibility for making all of these things happen. Having a competent individual in charge of this diverse set of tasks at MIRI is extremely valuable!
A typical day in the life of MIRI’s office manager may look something like this:
Click here to apply by July 31, 2015!
P.S. Share the love! If you know someone who might be a perfect fit, we’d really appreciate it if you pass this along!
Another perk that you didn't mention: getting to work under Nate Soares, who I suspect is in the top 0.1% of the population where personal effectiveness is concerned. And the rest of the superlative MIRI team.
This is probably my dream job... the job I would do for free if I had the means. But any idea of the salary range? Could someone with a family (and a spouse's teacher salary) possibly hope to live close enough to Berkeley to be effective?
Then you should definitely apply!
The salary range is "competitive" given the job and the bay area. It depends a lot of past experience and job performance. You should be able to afford to live in Berkeley, especially if you're a dual-income family.
To echo what ciphergoth said, if you're the right candidate, we would definitely make it work.
(I didn't need a whole lot of convincing.)
MIRI are pretty flush right now. Obviously they have to get the most out of every dollar they can to give the world the best chance, but if they found just the right person and the only issue was paying them enough to get them, my guess is they'd be pretty generous.
Hey Alexvermeer, could you give more details on the opportunities for advancement?