Guest Blogger Karen Daly on Unexpected Exits: Survival Tips for Being in Transition

Going from 90 to nothing!

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By Karen Daly, Hutto, TX

Wow!  How do you shift from going 90 miles per hour every day to a day where you are at home with no scheduled meetings? While I have been in transition, I’ve had time to think about the lessons I have learned that may come in handy for other women who find themselves in a similar situation.

Get through the loss.   I’ve reflected on the five stages of grief as I deal with this resignation. I’m still angry with the elected officials; I’m heartbroken over not getting to work on city issues every day; and, I’m in denial that everything will go smoothly for the great professionals that I recruited to the organization. Every day, those emotions lessen and I know I will move on just like we all have to do.

Find positive things to work on.  You have to learn to separate yourself from your old job.  This is especially difficult if you still live in the city where you served.  I have actually had the chance to assist several of Hutto’s non-profits in completing their bylaws or incorporation status with the IRS.  I find that doing positive things in my community is very therapeutic, not to mention helpful to the organizations!  I also have been tending to my garden where I grow beautiful things that don’t talk back!

Moments matter, not meetings.  I think I’m a nicer person now.  I’m actually still afraid to ask my husband or daughters if they think I’m nicer but I don’t get so easily frustrated at little setbacks or things that are not working like they should.  When you are caught in the crosshairs of elected officials, it can make you surly and not such a nice person to be around from the stress and the bunker mentality that you have had to use for shelter.

Stay connected.  It is so easy with social media to stay connected with colleagues.  Don’t sulk.  Get out there and have lunch.  Attend conferences, professional meetings and keep up with what is going on in city management.  I love the phone calls from colleagues who are just checking in on me.  It really helps that we are in a profession that cares about each other.

Embrace Funemployment.  A friend of mine used this term and although I never thought I would be here, I must admit it has come in handy.  While I still can’t binge watch tv shows and I’ve only snuck off once to watch a movie during the work day, I’ve taken advantage of the time to travel, take long lunches with friends, read novels and do yoga during the day.  Truly, it has taught me how to relax but I don’t want to make this sound too glamorous because we need you women leading our cities!

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karen daly 

Karen Daly, Funemployed, Hutto, Texas

(Editor’s note: Karen’s Funemployment didn’t last long! She was recently named as the new Mountain Plains Regional Director for ICMA. Congratulations Karen!)

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