Bangalore-based Engineering Manager, Pavitra Muralidhar, joined Uber after a one year career break, having taken time off to focus on raising her young kids and supporting them through school. “Often, women are hesitant to take a break even when it gets overwhelming for them with kids and family pressures,” she shares. “I am really happy that I took that time to devote to my kids and can move forward in my career knowing that I have no regrets about not spending enough quality time with them while they were young.”
Today, she’s both a team lead of 10 engineers and a champion for destigmatizing career breaks across the tech industry as part of Uber’s uReturn program, which provides full time opportunities to experienced women to return to the workforce. uReturn support starts during the hiring process and continues through the first 6 months with Uber to ensure a smooth transition back to the workplace.
“I want to send a message that it is ok to take a break, re-energize and come back stronger when the time is right. It is no longer seen as a stigma to take a career break and Uber is a shining example of this.”
What is your current role and what are you working on?
“I am an Engineering Manager leading a team of 10 engineers who work on the Revenue Computation Platform. We build a platform that accurately models, computes, and reports Uber’s financial revenue transactions in a compliant, auditable, and timely manner. Basically, that means we are responsible for accounting for all money movement in and out of Uber across all marketplaces and geographies.
Our platform plays a critical role in the company’s ability to realize its revenue and in the last year we have delivered several impactful releases and also significantly reduced our technical debt. We deal with millions of transactions and petabytes of data so the work is technically challenging and I am surrounded by very smart and talented people whilst having the opportunity to learn the latest technologies, which I find really rewarding.”
Tell us about your experience as a woman in engineering at Uber.
“For me it’s been obvious that Uber is committed to creating an environment where women feel welcome and valued. In most companies, there is good representation of women at early career levels, but at Uber we have a number of senior women leaders as well. I got a sense of this even before I joined Uber. My interview panel included senior women leaders which sent a powerful message that women are valued and respected at Uber.”
How have Uber’s senior women leaders impacted your career so far?
“There are two Directors of Engineering I have interacted with and had exposure to, even before I started with Uber, who I consider role models. They helped show me what is possible for a woman in Engineering and are breaking down barriers and paving the way for other women, like me.”
I was first introduced to our Director of Engineering for the Commerce Processing Platform during my final round of interviews and I was immediately impressed by her technical knowledge and her ability to ask insightful questions. I have since had the opportunity to interact with her on several occasions and am always impressed by her ability to lead a team and get things done.
After I accepted my job offer, the recruiting team set up a call with another Director of Engineering who answered all of my questions and explained the culture without sugarcoating anything. Once I started with Uber, she was my mentor and I interacted with her on several occasions. What stood out to me the most was her humility and her ability to connect with people on a personal level.”
Tell us how Uber supports you to manage your work-life balance.
“I have two young kids and, as I’m sure most parents will understand, it’s always a challenge to cater to their seemingly never-ending needs and demands. I start my day early and wrap up a bit earlier so that I can spend time in the evening with my kids and help them with school work. Both my team and my leaders are supportive of this and allow me to plan my day around my kids schedule.
One of my biggest concerns about joining a global company was the potential for late-night calls. However, my leadership has been very supportive of my work-life balance. They have ensured that I am not overwhelmed with late-night calls, and I have sufficient time to spend with my family. We even have dedicated meeting days for US-based colleagues which means we can plan our time around these days.”
What is your favourite Uber benefit and why?
“I am an active person who likes to keep physically fit so I love the monthly wellbeing reimbursement program. This is a set monthly amount we can use for our physical and mental wellbeing, for anything from gym memberships to sports equipment and even massages.
I have used the wellbeing benefit to take fitness classes, which has helped me achieve something I never thought possible at my age; I can now do several push-ups! Thanks to discipline and consistency (and with the help of Uber), I have overcome my previous inability to do a single push-up! But it’s more than this – it’s really had a much bigger impact and has boosted my confidence immensely in all areas of my life.”
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