How’s this for a 21st century marriage: mom is in Atlanta with two dogs, a big suburban home, one son in high school and the other son is in his second year at a local university. Dad is in Singapore on a two-year contract with a major IT consulting company – they’re a young, happy couple new to Atlanta from Dallas. She was out of work and he needed something higher paying to put both kids through school. Call it unconventional, but it’s most certainly not unusual.
According to a recent Today Show special on families living apart, many married couples have chosen to live in separate states or even countries – and not because they are divorced or separated – but because one spouse was offered a better job with more money. It’s not as easy anymore for one parent or spouse to just pick up and move cities when the kids are still in school or when another spouse has a great career and isn’t ready to make a life change. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s exponentially harder nowadays to nail down a job, regardless of the industry or how long you’ve been in the workforce. Despite the frustration of family separation, Skype has served as a well-placed buffer and helps to relinquish much of the pain caused by distance between families.
Skype is based in Luxembourg and piloted by an elite team of five executives (now acquired by Ebay) who work their magic to make sure anyone with a computer or phone – or access to one – has the opportunity to share a story, hold a meeting, wave hello, instant message or communicate live from anywhere in the world. Now there are functions that allow you to purchase “Skype Credit” and pay $.02/minute to call anywhere to any landline or mobile phone. Nowadays, Skype has seen vast growth in the utilization by businesses for meetings and job interviews since it launched a Business Control Panel. It has become essential in sharpening the lines of communication by meeting “face to face.” In fact, many companies like Abstrakt, have set up conference rooms with large flat screen TVs to be able to connect multiple people in one room with others across large borders. The only challenge is battling time differences and language barriers. However, it beats forking up the bucks to fly domestically or overseas to meet a potential customer or retain a client.
So, maybe your best friend went overseas for the semester, your dad is in the military, or you have a client in Budapest, Skype can tie you together. Don’t forget to smile for the webcam!