Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Eight Questions to Ask Yourself to Know If You’re In The Right Job

This question originally appeared on Quora: How do you determine if you are in the right job or not? Answer by Tami Rosen, VP of People at Quora.

A mentor once told me that a quick way to know if you are in the right job is to count the number of good and bad days that you have at your current job. If the good days outweigh the bad days by a long shot, they you are probably in the right place.

While I like that as a quick test, it does not get at the heart of the matter. “Is this the right job for me now and in the future?” I think it takes time, introspection, and willingness to ask yourself difficult questions to know if you are in the right job. Some people fall into the job that they are in by chance and some people intend to do what we are doing. Either way, you may or may not be in the right job for you.

Here are a few suggested questions that you can ask yourself to help evaluate your current job and if it is right for you. Be honest with your answers...

The Hiring Bias Toward Attractive People Is Way More Complicated Than We Thought

A growing body of research suggests that conventionally attractive-looking people have it all: They go on more dates, are more likely to be elected to office, make more money, and are perceived as more likable and trustworthy.

Perhaps most infuriating to the mere mortals in their offices, past studies suggest that attractive people are also more likely to be hired and promoted at work.

But a new study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests there’s an aspect of hiring in which being good-looking can work against you.

As it turns out, attractive people are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to landing relatively less-desirable jobs. According to the new research, people don’t just hire attractive people because they consciously or unconsciously prefer them—rather, when hiring, people actively consider what roles the physically attractive candidates would themselves prefer, and then base the hiring decision on that perceived preference.

This finding is novel in that it suggests we don’t just selfishly prefer to be around attractive people, we also actively work to put attractive people in better positions because we think they will be more satisfied in such roles.

Researchers at the London Business...

A Program Providing Vital Data to Threatened Citizens Is Itself at Risk

The 2017 hurricane season produced a number of epic storms. In just one week, we watched Harvey inundate the Houston area with floodwaters and Irma’s high winds and rain devastate large swaths of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, along with several Caribbean nations. Those storms were quickly followed by Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For those in the path of a storm, information about the local geography is critical for planning, responding to and recovering from damages. But many state and local jurisdictions do not have human, technical and financial resources to produce detailed GIS maps that can flag the potential implications of natural disasters on their communities.

That’s where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Digital Coast initiative comes in. The Digital Coast website is a centralized platform that brings together resources to provide communities with access to valuable data, tools and training that they may not be able to procure themselves. Using this information, they can better address issues such as flooding, storm surges and rising sea levels, which threaten lives and livelihoods.

Use of the Digital Coast site skyrocketed in the seven days from the start of Hurricane...

A Bit of Planning Can Help You Avoid Distractions and Do Your Best Creative Work

On New Years Day, without fail, John Grisham starts writing a new book. Five days a week, each morning at 7 a.m., he’s in the same room, sitting on the same chair, tapping away on his trusty computer, and most importantly, with the same cup of coffee. No beeps, pings, messaging, or internet for that matter — simply no distractions. And like clock work,  six months later, he’s finished. He’s been performing this ritual for 30 years. That’s 30 books.

While we might not all need rituals that are this regimented, discovering and safeguarding time to do your best work is what distinguishes prolific creators from the rest of the pack.

To succeed in today’s constantly pinging world, you need to purposefully set aside periods for deep work and rest. You must protect your most creative times to ensure you keep your flow.

Like a surfer who navigates a set of waves with intense determination and explosive force, workers of tomorrow must master their deep work rhythms. If you fail to design and adopt the conditions for doing your best work, it’s likely because you didn’t deliberately choose when, where and how to...

The Houston Astros Proved the Power of Long-Term Thinking

If the Houston Astros had been a publicly traded company, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t exist today.

The Astros, who won their first World Series title on Thursday night were among the worst teams in baseball for years. Between 2011 and 2013 they lost more than 100 games in each 162-game season. In 2012, they ranked dead-last in the National League for attendance, and on at least one occasion, the Nielsen rating in Houston for a televised game was 0.0.

In today’s business climate, few corporations could survive such a protracted slump. In almost any other industry, activist investors would have bought stakes and agitated for a change in management. Or the company would have become an acquisition target for competitors, or for private equity firms that would have sold it off for parts.

Fortunately for their fans, the Astros are privately held, in a league that shares revenue among all its members. The franchise had a plan to rebuild, and an owner who was committed to it.

Years of losses allowed the team to accumulate draft picks who were converted into promising young players. Those young players struggled while gaining valuable major league experience...