Why do companies use python?

Today there are many popular and sophisticated web-programming languages. All of them, without doubt, deserve a close attention and have undeniable advantages. Every company and every task requires a special solution, that’s why we need them all. But what is so special about Python if, as everybody knows, it was chosen by such companies as Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Dropbox, Spotify, Quora, Reddit, and, of course, Google? There should be a solid explanation, and that’s what we are going to outline in this post.

This article is for:

  • Startups searching an acceptable language for their ideas implementation,
  • Programmers or students deciding what language to learn,
  • Companies willing to intercept the experience of IT leaders.

We’ll try to answer the questions concerning:

  • What is Python used for nowadays?
  • How the companies benefited from acquiring Python?
  • What are the advantages of this prominent language?

The roadmap is clear, then we start.

Python Development: Benefits & Features

Python is a general-purpose dynamic programming language with special syntax and extended code readability. It’s also very flexible as it embraces multiple paradigms of programming in one language.

Python was the leader of the fastest growing programming languages ranking in 2017 and one of the favorites for the start of learning software development. In 2018, it tends to strengthen the positions in both rankings.

This language doesn’t limit the coders in the areas of possible usage and system complexity. Despite this, the language pays enough attention to the code formatting. This makes it readable and maintainable a lot, which ensures the code will work longer and have fewer bugs.

The steps to do programming are reduced in Python compared to Java or C, that’s why it enables creating working product quicker and with fewer expenses. Add to these features an automatic memory management with really big standard library and see the undeniable better hand of this outstanding tool.

What is Python used for in web development? It allows building a solid responsive website or service with no limits on the complexity and number of users.

What also makes Python a great choice is the following.

Machine Learning Uses Python

There are many projects concerning sophisticated machine learning algorithms, which use Python. Such projects now are in trend and there are prospects that machine learning industry with its processing will grow into one of the leading fields. Correspondingly, Python will also establish as a leading technology for the field.

Data Science Close Match

Why use Python for Data Science? Its extended library contains ready-made methods for data processing. For the same reason, Python is used in many scientific projects now as it has outstanding data visualization features. The simplicity and clarity of the language enable us to create huge projects and complex things without messing up with piles of code.

Asynchronous Operations

Why use python for web development? Python is a multipurpose language. That means it should be equally useful for both small and global projects. The popularity of a service today means the necessity to handle a vast number of request each moment and high loads. This is exactly the task Python can deal with. The improved asynchronous operations give Python an opportunity to compete in reliability with such languages as Java, C#, JavaScript.

Metaprogramming

One of the main benefits of Python is being truly object-oriented. It considers everything to be an object, including its own functions, libraries, modules. This means, Python not only can generate an efficient code but also allow manipulating the functions of the language itself. This can make software as scalable as never before.

Maintenance & Delivery Ease

Have you ever wondered why Python is used on Google? Surely, the company doesn’t limit itself to the use of just one language. Officially, the company also uses C++, Java, and Go for backend development. When they only started to develop a search engine, the decision was made to use Python as much as it’s simply possible in such a great system, otherwise write some complex parts with tough memory control on C++. Why did they do so? Of course, the speed, simplicity, and maintainability of the Python code and development contributed to the solution. Even the scripts written in other languages like Bash or Perl initially were soon rewritten into Python to make the system well integrated and easy to maintain. As we can see, the decision proved to be a success.

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The hottest tools in coding in 2018 included React and Python

You can learn a lot about the world by paying attention to trends in coding. Hot new tools in computer programming circles often illuminate what people care about and what businesses are investing in.

Trend data from this year suggest that building quickly reactive web pages and data science are increasingly important. Managing the differences between web browsers is less of an issue.

To understand this year’s coding trends, we examined the question-and-answer site Stack Overflow. It’s one of the world’s most visited websites, according Amazon’s Alexa rankings. Programmers use Stack Overflow when they are stumped. They post problems to the site and invite other programmers help them out by suggesting an answer. More than 6,000 questions have been posted per day in 2018, on average.

Users posting questions must categorize their query. For example, if it involves the JavaScript programming language, they’ll add a “JavaScript” tag. We explored the fastest-growing tags for questions posted from January to November 2018. The data reveal what programmers are using—or at least trying to use.

Vue.js is the hottest topic of 2018

Vue.js is a tool that makes websites run faster, by only reloading the parts of a page that need to be changed for the site to be reactive, rather than the whole site. Only a little more than 900 questions were asked about Vue.js in January, compared to about 1,600 in November. (We excluded tags with fewer than 0.5% of all the questions in November).

React.js,—the sixth fastest-growing tag on Stack Overflow—is a similar but more popular tool than Vue.js. The rise of React and Vue is a result of companies increasingly needing webpages that are fast and nimble, particularly companies that are selling products and don’t want to lose customers because their site is too slow.

DataFrame, Pandas, and Excel: The importance of data science

DataFrame and Pandas, the third and fourth fastest-growing tags, are coding tools for manipulating data. Two others—Python, the most popular coding language for data scientists, and TensorFlow, an application for doing machine learning—are among the top 11.

On the other hand, the second biggest faller is Excel-VBA—a tool for doing complicated analysis in Microsoft Excel. This is a sure sign that data scientists today are abandoning Excel for programming languages like Python and R that offer am easier environment for big data tasks.

Twitter Bootstrap was the coldest topic of 2018

The fastest-declining tag, with less than half as many questions in November as in January, was Twitter Bootstrap. One of the primary uses of that tool was that it makes website layout appear properly in different browsers. Historically, browsers sometimes interpreted code very differently, so tools to make sure they looked right on different browsers were necessary. Today, websites appear properly at different screen sizes and across different browsers, so tools like Twitter Bootstrap are not as useful.

Article from Quartz

5 Powerful Exercises To Increase Your Mental Strength

The following guest post is by Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker in Lincoln, Maine. In addition to working as a psychotherapist, she is also an adjunct college psychology instructor and she serves as About.com’s Parenting Teens expert.

Psychology often discusses mental health — but what’s not often discussed is a clear definition of mental strength. To me, mental strength means that you regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances. Developing mental strength is about finding the courage to live according to your values and being bold enough to create your own definition of success.

Mental strength involves more than just willpower; it requires hard work and commitment. It’s about establishing healthy habits and choosing to devote your time and energy to self-improvement.

Although it’s easier to feel mentally strong when life seems simple — often, true mental strength becomes most apparent in the midst of tragedy. Choosing to develop skills that increase your mental strength is the best way to prepare for life’s inevitable obstacles.

Many exercises exist that can help you develop mental strength. But here are five that can get you started:

1. Evaluate Your Core Beliefs

We’ve all developed core beliefs about ourselves, our lives and the world in general. Core beliefs develop over time and largely depend upon our past experiences. Whether you’re aware of your core beliefs or not, they influence your thoughts, your behavior and emotions.

Sometimes, core beliefs are inaccurate and unproductive. For example, if you believe that you’ll never succeed in life, you may be less apt to apply for new jobs — and inadvertently, you may not present yourself well on job interviews. Therefore, your core beliefs may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Identify and evaluate your core beliefs. Look for beliefs that are black and white, and then find exceptions to the rule. Very few things in life are “always” or “never” true. Modifying core beliefs requires purposeful intention and hard work, but it can change the entire course of your life.

2. Expend Your Mental Energy Wisely

Wasting brain power ruminating about things you can’t control drains mental energy quickly. The more you think about negative problems that you can’t solve, the less energy you’ll have leftover for creative endeavors. For example, sitting and worrying about the weather forecast isn’t helpful. If a major storm is headed your way, worrying about it won’t prevent it. You can, however, choose to prepare for it. Focus on what is only within your control.

Save your mental energy for productive tasks, such as solving problems or setting goals.When your thoughts aren’t productive, make a conscious effort to shift your mental energy to more helpful topics. The more you practice expending your mental energy wisely, the more it will become a habit.

3. Replace Negative Thoughts with Productive Thoughts

Although most of us don’t spend time thinking about our thoughts, increasing your awareness of your thinking habits proves useful in building resilience. Exaggerated, negative thoughts, such as, “I can’t ever do anything right,” hold you back from reaching your full potential. Catch your negative thoughts before they spiral out of control and influence your behavior.

Identify and replace overly negative thoughts with thoughts that are more productive. Productive thoughts don’t need to be extremely positive, but should be realistic. A more balanced thought may be, “I have some weaknesses, but I also have plenty of strengths.” Changing your thoughts requires constant monitoring, but the process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

4. Practice Tolerating Discomfort

Being mentally strong doesn’t mean you don’t experience emotions. In fact, mental strength requires you to become acutely aware of your emotions so you can make the best choice about how to respond. Mental strength is about accepting your feelings without being controlled by them.

Mental strength also involves an understanding of when it makes sense to behave contrary to your emotions. For example, if you experience anxiety that prevents you from trying new things or accepting new opportunities, try stepping out of your comfort zone if you want to continue to challenge yourself. Tolerating uncomfortable emotions takes practice, but it becomes easier as your confidence grows.

Practice behaving like the person you’d like to become. Instead of saying, “I wish I could be more outgoing,” choose to behave in a more outgoing manner, whether you feel like it or not. Some discomfort is often necessary for greater gain, and tolerating that discomfort will help make your vision a reality, one small step at a time.

5. Reflect on Your Progress Daily

Today’s busy world doesn’t lend itself to making much time available for quiet reflection. Create time to reflect upon your progress toward developing mental strength. At the end of each day, ask yourself what you’ve learned about your thoughts, emotions and behavior. Consider what you hope to improve upon or accomplish tomorrow.

Developing mental strength is a work in progress. There is always room for improvement, and at times this will seem more difficult than at other times. Reflecting upon your progress can reinforce your ability to reach your definition of success while living according to your values.

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3 Exercises That Build Mental Strength in Just 5 Minutes

Whether you’re tempted to give in to your craving for a cupcake, or you’re about to give up on your goals, perseverance isn’t easy. But before you blame your lack of willpower or make an excuse for your less-than-stellar performance, consider this: It only takes a few minutes a day to build the mental muscle you need to reach your greatest potential.

Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength. Doing 50 push-ups a day would only take a few minutes of your time, but doing it consistently would help you build a tremendous amount of upper body strength.

The same can be said of your mental muscle. In just a few minutes each day, you can train your brain to think differently, manage your emotions, and behave productively. With consistent exercise, you’ll build mental strength.

While there are many exercises that can help you grow stronger, here are three that will help you build mental muscle in five minutes or less:

1. Identify three things you’re grateful for.

Counting your blessings—as opposed to your burdens—has a big impact on your psychological health. Studies consistently show that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.

Make gratitude a daily habit by intentionally identifying three things in your life you are grateful for. It could be as simple as feeling thankful for the clean water that comes out of your faucet or appreciating the cool breeze on a warm day.

Studies show that you can physically change your brain by making gratitude a habit. Write in a gratitude journal, list the things you feel grateful for over dinner, or make it a habit to identify what you’re thankful for before you go to bed. Over time, being thankful becomes like second nature, and you’ll experience benefits ranging from improved sleep to greater immunity.

2. Practice mindfulness.

It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re rehashing something that happened last week or predicting that horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. And since the only time you can change your behavior is right now, it’s important to be able to focus on the here-and-now.

Science shows that mindfulness has a multitude of physical and psychological benefits, including reduced stress and a more compassionate inner dialogue.

So take a minute to focus on what’s going on around you. Listen to see what sounds you can hear. Look around the room and see what you notice. Do a quick scan of your body and pay attention to how it feels.

With regular practice, you’ll increase your ability to focus, which is tough to do in today’s fast-paced world. You’ll also be able to enjoy each moment because you’ll be less distracted by yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries.

3. Act “as if.”

It can be tempting to wait until you feel different to make a change. But waiting until you feel good about yourself before applying for a promotion, or waiting until you feel happy to invite your friends out for a night on the town, could backfire. Instead, studies show you should behave like the person you want to become. When you change your behavior, your thoughts and emotions will follow.

When you’re sad, you might hunch your shoulders and look at the floor, but doing so keeps you in a depressive state. Put your shoulders back and smile, however, and you’ll feel an instant boost in your mood.

Don’t expect feelings of confidence to come out of nowhere. Instead, ask yourself, How can I act confident? Acting like a confident person, even when you’re filled with self-doubt, helps you feel surer of yourself. Research shows acting confident even increases other people’s confidence in you.

Try asking yourself, What would a mentally strong person do? Then, act as if you feel strong already. And you’ll grow a little stronger.

Do Your Mental Push Ups

Every day is an opportunity to develop mental muscle. Simple, short exercises performed consistently over time will help you build mental strength.

Additionally, pay attention to the bad habits that rob you of mental strength. Feeling sorry for yourself, giving up after your first failure, and giving away your power are just a few of the habits that can wreak havoc on your mental weightlifting routine. Giving up those unhealthy habits will help you work smarter, not harder.

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18 Powerful Ways to Build Your Mental Toughness

Intelligence is helpful if you want to be successful, but commitment and mental toughness are mandatory. Keep yourself on track with these valuable habits.

It’s a well-known adage: What happens to us plays far less a role in our happiness and success than our responses.

To develop and maintain the kind of mental toughness that success requires, it’s crucial that you keep your thoughts and self-talk positive and avoid the habits that lead to negativity and unhealthy behaviors.

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we never see them fight.

Help keep yourself prepared for whatever comes your way tomorrow by practicing good habits of mind and attitude:

1. Emotional stability. Leadership often requires that you make good decisions under pressure. It’s important that you maintain your capacity to stay objective and deliver the same level of performance regardless of what you’re feeling.

2. Perspective. Mental strength lets you carry on when the world seems to have turned against you. Learn to keep your troubles in proper perspective without losing sight of what you need to accomplish.

3. Readiness for change. If change is truly the only constant, then flexibility and adaptability are among the most important traits you can develop.

4. Detachment. You can get through setbacks and come out even stronger if you can remember that’s it’s not about you. Don’t take things personally or waste time wondering Why me? Instead focus on what you can control.

5. Strength under stress. Maintain resilience in the face of negative pressures by developing your capacity to deal with stressful situations.

6. Preparation for challenges. Life and business are filled with everyday demands, the occasional crisis, and unexpected twists. Make sure you have the resources to withstand the professional and personal crises that you’ll sooner or later be facing.

7. Focus. Keep your attention on the long-term outcomes to stay steady in the face of real or potential obstacles.

8. The right attitude toward setbacks. Complications, unintended side effects, and complete failures are all part of landscape. Mitigate the damage, learn the lessons that will help you in the future, and move on.

9. Self-validation. Don’t worry about pleasing others: That’s a hit-or-miss proposition for anyone but the worst sort of waffler. Instead, make a concentrated effort to do what is right and to know what you stand for.

10. Patience. Don’t expect results immediately or rush things to fruition before their time. Anything worthwhile takes hard work and endurance; view everything as a work in progress.

11. Control. Avoid giving away your power to others. You are in control of your actions and emotions; your strength is in your ability to manage the way you respond to what is happening to them.

12. Acceptance. Don’t complain about the things you have no control over. Recognize that the one thing you can always control is your own response and attitude, and use those attributes effectively.

13. Endurance in the face of failure.View failure as an opportunity to grow and improve, not a reason to give up. Be willing to keep trying until you get it right.

14. Unwavering positivity. Stay positive even — especially — when you encounter negative people. Elevate them; never bring yourself down. Don’t allow naysayers to ruin the spirit of what you’re accomplishing.

15. Contentment. Don’t waste time being envious of anyone else’s car, house, spouse, job, or family. Instead be grateful for what you have. Focus on what you’ve achieved and what you’re going to achieve instead of looking over your shoulder and being envious of what someone else has.

16. Tenacity. It comes down to just three words: Never give up.

17. A strong inner compass. When your sense of direction is deeply internalized, you never have to worry about becoming lost. Stay true to your course.

18. Uncompromising standards. Tough times or business difficulties aren’t good reasons to lower the bar. Keep your standards high.

Becoming a mentally strong person takes practice and mindfulness. It requires tuning in to your bad habits and making a point of learning new habits to replace them. And sometimes it simply means learning to get out of your own way and let things happen.

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Cost of living: Cape Town vs Joburg

There tends to be a lot of debate when it comes to the question of where is more expensive to live: Cape Town or Johannesburg. Numeo has released a data report comparing the costs of human needs such as food, rent and transport in each city to shine some light on this.

The reality is that each city has some aspects of living that are more expensive than the other, and some that are cheaper.

When it comes to eating out, on average if you’re going to treat yourself to a meal at a higher-end or fine-dining restaurant, you’re going to pay more when doing it in Cape Town.

Interestingly enough, however, it will cost you more to go to an inexpensive restaurant in Johannesburg than in Cape Town.

As far as running to the grocery store to grab your necessities, certain items that are more on the natural side, such as apples, onions and milk will cost you more in Johannesburg, whereas beer, bread, rice, eggs, and meats will cost you more in Cape Town. If you’re a smoker you’ll pay an average of R5 more for cigarettes in the City of Gold than in the Mother City.

When it comes to transport, Cape Town wins hands-down, offering sometimes up to 50% cheaper options on average.

One thing that Johannesburg certainly knocks out of the park is lower monthly rental expenses. Cape Town is almost 70% more pricey when it comes to renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city and 73% more expensive when it comes to renting a three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre.

Even one-bedroom apartments outside of the city centre cost Cape Town residents 28% more than they cost Johannesburg locals.

You can expect to pay 158% more for buying a city-centre apartment in Cape Town and almost 80% more for one outside of the CBD.

Luckily for locals, Cape Town has recently overtaken the City of Gold when it comes to income, with Capetonians earning an average of 2.34% more than Jo’burgers each month for similar positions.

Overall, the cost of living in Cape Town is higher than it is in Johannesburg. To live a comfortable life while renting in Cape Town, you need to earn roughly R38 213 a month, while the same standard of live in Johannesburg will cost you R35 000.

The cost of rent in Cape Town is probably the biggest deal breaker here, but with all the beauty around us and our general high standard of life, we can’t complain too much, although we sometimes like to.

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2019 Salary Comparisons Jozi, CapeTown and international

Don’t know what you are worth? Here is Swift Momentum’s salary comparison research for Jozi, CapeTown and international developers and technical positions.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Moving for a New Job (Without All That Stress)

If you’ve ever moved for a job, you know how many itty, bitty details are involved. Depending on how far you’re going—crossing state lines or just heading a few cities over, going abroad, or to the opposite coast—you’re going to want to be as organized as possible so you keep your sanity, along with your new job.

Moving for work is a different game than simply moving, typically because the timeline involved in taking a job in a new location is a lot shorter than when you decide on a change of scenery and then focus on getting the new position. Whether you have three months to get everything squared away or a mere three weeks, the comprehensive cheat sheet below will hopefully help make it as seamless as possible.

Ask About Relocation Costs

Like negotiating a job offer, this one can be tricky. A lot of people may be unwilling or disinclined to ask about financial relocation assistance because they don’t want to seem greedy or demanding. But ask yourself, what’s the absolute worst thing that can happen? You inquire about getting reimbursed for some moving expenses, and the HR person says that’s not something the organization does, so you say “Thank you for letting me know,” and that’s the end of the conversation. The job is still yours, and nobody got hurt. (Can you even imagine a company that would rescind an offer because someone asked for moving help?)

If it makes you super uncomfortable to broach the topic, then don’t. As one frequent job relocator explained it to me, “It definitely depends on how far you are moving and how scrappy you want to be.” That is, you can ask friends to help you pack and load a U-Haul or you can pay movers for all of that—in which case you’ll want to try and get at least a couple of thousand dollars from your future employer if it’s flexible on assistance.

Depending on the company’s budget—and whether or not it’s even willing to consider footing relocation costs for a new hire—you may get a padded offer, a specific reimbursement amount, or even a signing bonus.

One person I spoke with who had two relocations under her belt admitted that she’d never sought help. For one, she says she wanted to make it seem like she was planning the move regardless of whether or not that company offered her a job; it was important for her to compete with local candidates. In retrospect, she says that “there wouldn’t have been any harm in asking for relocation after I had gotten the offer—once they wanted me, why not?” She’s right about that. Never any harm in asking.

So, if you’ve decided to look into it, make that query one of the first things you do—after you accept the offer, unless, of course, getting relocation assistance is the only way you’d consider taking the position. Once you’re armed with that knowledge, you can move onto the next very important step.

Create a Budget

Do this even if you’re not a budget person or have never kept a record of your spending. Moving costs can and will add up quickly. It’ll be far better for you to have a clear sense of what you’re going to end up spending going into it, instead of not thinking about it and later getting an insane credit card bill just as you’re getting settled at your new job in an unfamiliar city.

One reason for doing this is that it’ll help you come up with a realistic number for your company in the event that it’s offering some kind of money up front. But, keeping track of moving expenses should be something you do even if you’re the one responsible for all the associated costs. The budget you create will enable you to decide what you can afford to buy now and what will have to wait until later. Some items will be non-negotiable (you can’t get by for very long without a shower curtain or curtains if your bedroom window faces the street and is on the first floor), but other non-essential things you may have to hold off on purchasing until you’ve digested the initial moving fees. The duvet cover and throw pillows in your online shopping cart can wait.

Include everything you can possibly think of when you draw this up: packing boxes, movers, startup cable and internet costs, gas (if you’re driving a vehicle), meals along the way, accommodations if the move involves a cross-country drive. But don’t stop at that! Once you have those figured out, determine what other essentials you’ll need to feel at home. For example, your grocery bill is going to be high the first month as you set about stocking your fridge and pantry. While you may be able to salvage some of your staples (cooking oils, spices, unopened cereal boxes), assume you’re starting with nothing. Don’t forget to include all the seemingly small things too: light bulbs, batteries, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies.

One particularly seasoned job relocator I spoke with advises the following: “Bump everything up for the first month!” If it’s an international move, plan on an extra large bump, up to 50 or 100% more than you’d figure for a domestic move.

Become a List Person

Are you anti-list, or do you pride yourself on your great ability to keep running mental lists of both personal and professional to-dos? Now is the time to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. With an exciting, new job looming, this isn’t the appropriate moment to rely on your memory. There are simply far too many odds and ends to consider for that. You’re going to want to save all your brain power to impress your new boss, not to remember if you changed your address at the post office.

Along with lists, spreadsheets can be a really handy way of keeping track of things; in fact, you could create an entire spreadsheet on who to notify of a change your address. While you can probably take care of most of this online, you will want to be comprehensive and diligent. We’re talking post office, financial institutions, health insurance, magazines you subscribe to, voter registrar, friends and family. And, because you definitely don’t want to get stuck paying for services you’re no longer using, make a list of all of the providers you no longer need. That’s gas, electricity, cable, internet and notify them of the date you no longer need service.

While you’re in the list-making zone, note all of the items you’re going to need that first week—from your toothbrush, to your air mattress, to your lucky jeans, to your coffee maker, even a few outfits for the office. Make sure to pack away these items in a box that you can easily access right away. As much as you might think you’ll be able to unpack quickly, you should be prepared to be very busy that first week (not to mention exhausted). You don’t want to have to say no to drinks with your new team because you have to go home to find that box with all your work shirts.

Start Building Your Network

When I moved to NYC fresh out of graduate school, I had several friends who’d been living there for years, and while I was psyched to have a community of people off the bat, I was reluctant to insert myself into their already bustling lives. I wanted to hang out with them on weekends and grab a drink with them on a random Thursday night, but I didn’t intend to make plans with them five days a week.

And so I did everything I could to make some new friends and begin building my own network. My grandmother’s college roommate who’d been living in NYC for nearly 50 years? I looked her up, and she quickly became my movie and theater pal. My sister’s good friend from high school? I emailed her and asked if she wanted to grab dinner one night. Fast forward eight years, and I was in her wedding party. I joined a running group and met people there who’ve become lifelong buds.

If you like sports, consider joining a recreational league. An experienced mover notes that “It’s a really good way to make actual friends instead of relying on meeting people ‘out.’” But these people can be more than just people you meet for brunch on Saturdays; consider them a part of your growing network.

Having a strong and thriving professional community is a huge asset, and it’s crucial even when you’re 100% content in your current role. To build a network from the ground up in a new city, get in the habit of saying yes. Make an effort to get out and be social. Moving to a new city can be lonely, even if you love your job.

And speaking of your gig, take advantage of your office’s social gatherings—having pals around the workplace can easily turn a stressful day around, and getting to know your co-workers is a great way to quickly expand your network. So even if you’re more introverted than extroverted, go out of your way to accept invitations. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.

Locate All the Essentials

There are certain things which you should never show up late for. A job interview is one, but so is your first day of work. Even if you interviewed in the space in person months ago and are pretty sure you know where you’re going, do yourself a favor and perform a dry run before you’re officially expected to report. Locate the best driving route, or figure out the easiest and quickest way via public transportation if you’re going to be relying on the bus or subway. In addition, you’re also going to want to scope out neighborhood essentials, such as the dry cleaner, laundromat, and grocery store.

You might be tempted to order take-out each evening, but your wallet may disagree with your inclination. At the very least, stock up on staples before your first day at the office. Coffee, milk, eggs, a box of cereal, lunch items if you typically BYO the midday meal. And don’t forget to grab a bottle or two of your favorite wine or a six-pack of your beer of choice. Sitting down with a drink after a day of trying to keep the office’s three Daves straight is something you’ll have earned!

Make All the Necessary Appointments as Soon as Possible

Are you getting a new couch? Is your landlord stopping by with a second set of keys? Do you have to physically go to the DMV or be around for the internet guy? There’s probably a lot of moving-related tasks that’ll require you to be away from your desk in the early weeks of your relocation. Do your best to arrange your appointments all at once so you can notify your manager in one fell swoop of your impending absences. I know when I have a couple of out-of-office requests in a given month, I prefer to send my boss one comprehensive email, and I’m pretty sure she (and her inbox) appreciate that practice as well.

If that’s not feasible or your moving needs demand that you be flexible—your kitchen table is now on backorder and won’t be delivered on the Tuesday morning you planned to work from home—consider having an open dialogue with your boss and let her know that you’ll do your best to notify him of your whereabouts as far in advance as possible, but sometimes, you may have to be out on shorter notice than you (or she) would like. Basically, the more heads up you can give people, the less stressful the ask will feel.

There’s a lot involved in job relocation, yes—and not least of all because you want to nail it at your first week on the job without thinking of whether or not you bought kitty litter. The many moving parts mean you should try to be as organized as humanly possible from the beginning. If possible, give yourself at least a couple of days (longer if you’re moving a great distance or to a really big city from a tiny town) in your new surroundings before the job starts. But if that’s not an option, know that if you follow the above steps, you’ll be able to hit the ground running. Chances are, you’re not the first one at your new company to have relocated for work, and generally, people who have been there, done that are more than happy to share words of wisdom and advice. And that right there is your foolproof conversation starter at the water cooler.

– Stacey Lastoe

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The Inverted-U Model

Balancing Pressure and Performance

(Also known as Yerkes-Dodson Law)

Have you ever worked on a project that had a tight-but-achievable deadline, and that needed your unique, expert knowledge for it to be completed successfully? Even though you found it challenging, you may have delivered some of your best work.

Or, think back to a project you worked on where there was little pressure to deliver. The deadline was flexible and the work wasn’t challenging. You may have done an average job, at best.

There’s a subtle relationship between pressure and performance. When your people experience the right amount of pressure, they do their best work. However, if there’s too much or too little pressure, then performance can suffer.

This relationship is explained by the Inverted-U Model, which we’ll look at in this article. This helps you get the best from your people, at the same time that you keep them happy and engaged.

About the Model

The Inverted-U model (also known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law), was created by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson as long ago as 1908. Despite its age, it’s a model that has stood the test of time.

It shows the relationship between pressure (or arousal) and performance.

According to the model, peak performance is achieved when people experience a moderate level of pressure. Where they experience too much or too little pressure, their performance declines, sometimes severely.

The left hand side of the graph shows the situation where people are under-challenged. Here, they see no reason to work hard at a task, or they’re in danger of approaching their work in a “sloppy,” unmotivated way.

The middle of the graph shows where they’re working at peak effectiveness. They’re sufficiently motivated to work hard, but they’re not so overloaded that they’re starting to struggle. This is where people can enter a state of “Flow,” the enjoyable and highly productive state in which they can do their best work.

The right hand side of the graph shows where they’re starting to “fall apart under pressure.” They’re overwhelmed by the volume and scale of competing demands on their attention, and they may be starting to panic.

The Four Influencers

The shape of the Inverted-U curve shown in figure 1 is for illustration only – in reality, the shape of the curve will depend on the situation, and the individual person.

There are four main “influencers” that can affect this*. These are:

  1. Skill Level.
  2. Personality.
  3. Trait Anxiety.
  4. Task Complexity.

We’ll now look at each influencer in greater detail:

Skill Level

People’s levels of skill with a given task directly influence how well they perform, which is why you need to train your people intensively if you want them to cope in high-pressure situations.

For instance, if they’re not practiced enough to do a task, they’ll feel under serious pressure, and they won’t perform well. What’s more, people are less able to think in a flexible, methodical way when they’re under pressure, which is why they need to be able to fall back on well-rehearsed responses.

Personality

A person’s personality also affects how well he or she performs.

For instance, some psychologists believe that people who are extroverts are likely to perform better in high-pressure situations. People with an introverted personality, on the other hand, may perform better with less pressure.

Trait Anxiety

Think of trait anxiety as the level of a person’s “self-talk.” People who are self-confident are more likely to perform better under pressure. This is because their self-talk is under control, which means that they can stay “in flow,” and they can concentrate fully on the situation at hand. By contrast, people who criticize or question themselves are likely to be distracted by their self-talk, which can cause them to lose focus in pressurized situations.

The more that people are able to lower their anxiety about a task (with practice, or with positive thinking, for example) the better they’ll perform.

Task Complexity

Task complexity describes the level of attention and effort that people have to put into a task in order to complete it successfully. People can perform simple activities under quite high levels of pressure, while complex activities are better performed in a calm, low-pressure environment.

Note:

Remember that these are only influences. With experienced, good people, their self-discipline and sense of professionalism should help them avoid performance issues on the left hand side of the graph. Their training and experience will also help them on the right hand side of the graph, although there is a point at which even experienced professionals may become so overwhelmed that their work suffers.

Using the Model

The simplest way to use the Inverted-U Model is to be aware of it when you allocate tasks and projects to people on your team.

Most importantly, start by thinking about people’s workloads, and about the pressure that they’re already experiencing. If people are overloaded, see if you can take pressure off them – this will help them increase the quality of their work. By contrast, if they’re underworked (it can happen!), you may need to keep them sharp by shortening deadlines or finding extra things for them to do.

From there, balance the influences that contribute to pressure, so that your people can perform at their best.

For instance, try to provide team members with tasks and projects of an appropriate level of complexity, and work to build confidence in people who need it.

Also, manage negativity in your team, and train your people so that they have the skills they need to do a good job. (Our article on Training Needs Assessment will help you do this.) Tools like the Four Dimensions of Relational Work can also help you match tasks to people’s personalities and interpersonal skills.

However, bear in mind that you won’t be able to balance influences in all situations, so make sure that you know how to motivate your team effectively, so that you can help them perform in all situations.

Note 1:

Although not addressed as part of the Inverted-U Model, it’s also important to remember that people can experience pressure from other sources (for instance, from their personal lives or from any underlying concerns about their role or organization). Bear these external pressures in mind when setting deadlines and allocating tasks.

Note 2:

Don’t worry about people becoming too skilled or too confident – you can use the other influencers to balance this, so that they feel the optimum amount of pressure to perform at their best.

Note 3:

Don’t, whatever you do, confuse “pressure” with “stress” in this model. Stress is all about people feeling out of control, and it’s a wholly negative thing. If you seek to increase people’s stress (rather than increasing positive pressure), all you’ll do is create an unhappy, under-performing workplace.

Key Points

The Inverted-U Model illustrates the relationship between pressure and performance. According to the model, there is an optimum level of pressure at which people perform at their best. Too much or too little pressure can lead to decreased performance.

There are four main “influencers” that can affect how much pressure people feel:

  1. Skill Level.
  2. Personality.
  3. Trait Anxiety.
  4. Task Complexity.

You can use the model by managing these four influencers, and by being aware of how they can positively or negatively influence your people’s performance.

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