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Interviews / Software Engineers & Developers

Balancing the Grind with Rajini Carpenter, VP of Engineering at Deputy

Rajini Carpenter is the VP of Engineering at Deputy, an all-in-one workforce management solution that simplifies employee scheduling, timesheets, tasking, and communication.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’ve recently joined the team at Deputy, heading up the engineering team as one of the country’s first female VP of Engineering. 

I’ve been in IT for more than 20 yrs and my expertise lies in building products that deliver innovative, reliable technology solutions at scale that delights the end user of the product.

Before joining Deputy I led teams in the FinTech sector, most recently as Head of Engineering at Iress where I led their agile & cloud transformation for one of their flagship products Xplan. 

I moved to Deputy wanting a change in my career and to experience the culture of a scale-up. Deputy is an Australian technology company with a mission to simplify shift-work. We do this through the Deputy app, which helps manage shifts and improve the relationship between business owners and shift-workers.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I normally begin the week with three focus areas for the week that are non-negotiable as this helps me channel my energy rather than getting caught up day-to-day. 

Leading large teams means a day could be mixed with Client issues, Technology decisions, escalations and/or people related – anywhere from hiring, celebrating success, removing blockers for teams. A good day for me is feeling I have helped a client and/or people and we are making incremental progress towards our goals. 

I try to balance my time between the balcony and the dance floor.  Being on the balcony helps me see things with a wider perspective. Being on the dance floor helps me understand the problems the team faces and a huge plus is practicing my craft.

There is never a dull moment solving complex problems on a daily basis. Well that’s one of the reasons I get out of bed. Life will be boring otherwise.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

At Deputy, we have a flexible work offering and the option to come into the office or work from home.

For me, as I’m still navigating my new role, I love to be in the office and be surrounded by my team. For the time being it feels like a really great way to start my journey at Deputy and I feel lucky that I get to have the opportunity to do so.

Deputy has always been great when it comes to flexible work. Even before the pandemic, employees were encouraged to take advantage of these benefits. Whether you’re working from home, a cafe, or in the office employees should be empowered to choose whatever works best for them.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance really comes down to where you want to spend your time and every person’s individual preference is different. In my current life stage with 2 teenagers who are self-sufficient, gives me extra time to think about other things I always wanted to do.

My time is split between a mix of family and friends time, personal learning and work.  I block the non-negotiable time in the calendar but allowing flexibility where possible is also important to me.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Few years ago I came across a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. It definitely helped me change some of my work habits which led to burn out and unhealthy habits.

Some habits I have developed as a result..

  • I go for a walk at least 4-5 times a week to clear my mind or listen to an interesting podcast. It inspires me to push the boundaries and think big.
  • Every monday I write down 3 focus areas for the week, I share this with my team too such that they hold me accountable. This helps me stay focused on what I intended to achieve that week. 
  • Eating healthy – I have stopped snacking during the day, eat only 3 times a day and limit the alcohol to the weekend. You will be surprised how quickly you drop unwanted weight.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

 I have many favorite books – 

  • Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
  • Sandworm by Andy Greenberg – A great read on the most harmful cyber attacks in history
  • The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim

Favorite podcasts:

  • In Machines We Trust
  • Fintech Charter
  • Engineering Culture

Newsletters – I read anything from AFR, Medium, and IT News.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

 I am an Apple fan as such having connected devices always makes your life easy. 

The Life360 app is something I can’t live without. It’s a real-time , location sharing app to coordinate with family. 

With our busy schedules this app helps keep our family safe and notify where everyone is at any point in time. Recently with the latest COVID outbreak in Sydney I was able to verify if any of us were at risk of close contact in various venues. Super helpful.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Lizzie Chapman – CEO & Co-founder of ZestMoney. The scale she is trying to achieve in India going after the BNPL  market is mind-bending. I wonder how she sleeps at night to service such a large customer base at scale with less friction.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

As a female leader in the technology industry, I’m passionate about creating a fair place to work, where people from all backgrounds and walks of life feel comfortable being everyday. I believe a big part of that is offering flexible working arrangements and giving people the freedom to work where they want, when they need to.

For all leaders, I think it’s important to be human and understanding with your team, making them feel safe to take a day off when needed, work from home, visit the doctors or pick up kids from school

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.