How Skype For Business Saved My Career (and my marriage)

In the summer of 2014, I gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy. My husband James and I named him Seth, we were overjoyed. I took 6 months maternity leave from my marketing job and spent my days getting to know my son and looking forward to watching our young family grow over the coming years. My husband came home after work in the evenings and was so caring and sweet with our child, my heart would melt every time I looked at them together.

A month before I was supposed to return to my job, I was looking forward to it. Even though I knew I would miss spending all day with Seth, I was eager to get back to the office and continue progressing in my career. One night, James came home and told me we needed to talk. As we started to walk down our tree-lined street with Seth in his stroller, my husband told me that his company had asked him to go overseas for a year-long assignment. It was a huge opportunity for him and it meant if he did well, he'd likely get a big promotion after the year was up.

My heart sunk as we discussed what we should do. He wanted me to live in our home, with his mother helping take care of the baby while I went back to my job and he went overseas. The thought of my son missing a whole year of his young life without his father devastated me. My own father had travelled 8 months out of the year for my whole childhood and I still felt the loss of his presence during those years strongly. As my emotions welled up and tears started rolling down my cheeks, James wrapped his arms around me and told me he would tell his boss he couldn't take the assignment. That only made me cry harder as I thought about the opportunity he would be giving up for us. As I calmed down, we continued to talk and I suggested that I quit my job and Seth and I would move overseas with him.

James knew how much I loved my job and we had always planned that I would continue to work after we had a child. I had career goals and was planning to be a super-mom and career woman at the same time. He refused to consider the option of me giving up my job. We had two months to decide, and as the weeks passed, James and I went back and forth countless times about what we should do.

My first week back on the job was just as I had dreamed it would be. In the morning, I would spend time bathing and feeding my son, before heading to the office, where I felt great being back contributing to my team. That week I learned that my company had implemented a new version of Microsoft Office, Office 365, which came with Skype for Business. Since my team worked with colleagues around the region, we quickly came to rely on Skype to conduct our meetings, rather than the conference calls we used to hold.

One Tuesday morning, after holding a Skype call with 5 colleagues in 4 different countries, I had an idea; Seth and I could move with my husband and I could continue to work at the same job. Skype would allow me to work just as effectively from overseas as I could from the office. After discussing the idea with James, I decided to talk to my boss. As I explained why I wanted to move overseas and described how I could continue working seamlessly with the team, my boss leaned back in his chair gazed at me thoughtfully. My boss wasn't known for being flexible when it came to company policies and work attendance. I asked him if I could try working from home for a week while still in Singapore. If he felt there was any reduction in productivity at all, I would drop the idea. He agreed and the next day I started my new arrangement.

For the rest of that week and the beginning of the next, I worked out of our home office. I used Skype to contact my teammates, both in Singapore and in other countries around the region. Not only did I find my communication to be as effective as if I were in the office, I found myself being more productive and creative. After the week, I arrived at the office for the big discussion with my boss. He said he had been evaluating my work, and it went so well that he would have no objections to me moving overseas and working from there.

That night my husband and I celebrated as we began to plan our big move. A month later, the three of us arrived in Shanghai and I continued to work from home while my husband began his new assignment. Working from home throughout that year I used Skype multiple times daily and had many great successes with a variety of projects. My colleagues and I worked closely together and through Skype, I never felt like I wasn't part of the team. After the year was up, James, Seth and I moved back to our home in Singapore. James got a great new position, as we thought he would. I also ended up getting a promotion and continuing to work from home two days a week.

A few years ago, I never could have imagined a software application could have such a big impact on my life. But today I can honestly say that Skype saved both my career and my marriage. I can never be grateful enough, and am already imagining how I'll make Seth call me on Skype three times a day when he goes to college.

Source: Life story of Amy

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